I just got back from seeing this (2D IMAX). If someone watched Godzilla 2014 and KotM back-to-back, I think they'd get whiplash from how different the designing principle of the two movies is, despite the continuity of one picking up directly from the end of the other. G2014's concept: what might happen if giant monsters appeared in the real world. KotM's concept: if it looks cool, screw logic and just do it.
What this approach also gives us is a movie that revels in the history of the series in a way I never thought I'd see in a Hollywood adaptation.
KotM is also the opposite of G2014 in structure. The Spielberg-style slow burn is replaced with a more typical modern blockbuster pacing. The cold open shows that we won't have to wait to see Godzilla, kaiju appear in practically every alternating scene throughout, and you only have to wait half an hour for the first kaiju fight. I'm actually not sure if Godzilla himself has more screen time in this one than he did in 2014, but his appearances are more evenly spread out, so he feels more present.
The movie prioritises action and fast pacing over character drama, which was clearly intentional and is fine. The human side of the story is just about good enough to keep the movie rolling along, though all the characters are rather thinly drawn. The Charles Dance character feels especially insubstantial, and it's never really clear who he is or what motivates him. And the less said about the few attempts at humour the better; even the actors seemed to be inwardly cringing at those lines.
Honestly, I'm not sure what I think of this movie after the first viewing. I enjoyed it, and the Toho-esque way it's not afraid to go bonkers with its kaiju action is great fun, but I was disappointed by the limited amount of city destruction (something I always look forward to, but maybe that's just me), and the kaiju scenes are all hidden in darkness and bad weather again. In terms of the US Godzilla movies, it's easily the most flat-out entertaining on the action front. It's a movie I could see sitting alongside Godzilla X Mechagodzilla as one of my go-to kaiju movies for when I want something that zips through its runtime without ever getting boring. It lacks the thematic ambition of G2014, but that's not really a failure, because that's not what KotM is trying to be. It aims to be a fast-paced, action-packed thrill ride, and by that measure it succeeds, even if it doesn't manage to be the king of the kaiju movies.