Godzilla! A welcome back to the King of the Monsters!
Joe Brody (played by Bryan Cranston) discovers that a powerful force is threatening humanity, and it seems as he’s not the only one who believes so, as scientists Serizawa (played by Ken Watanabe) and his assistant (played by Sally Hawkins) have been working on a secret project for years. Other human characters include Brody’s son named Ford (played by Aaron-Taylor Johnson) who serves the Navy, who shares a son with his wife Elle (played by Elizabeth Olsen). Ford must help with protecting us from this terrible monster who will “send us back to the Stone Age”. AND… it’s not Godzilla. Oh, speaking of, this review will contain minor-spoilers.
I’m revealing this fact early on, because while the original Japanese Godzilla film, Gojira (1954), was a serious disaster film about the effects on nuclear war, with Godzilla being a personification of nuclear weapons and war (less than a decade after the effects of WWII on Japan), the later Godzilla films were treated as giant monster movies (known as “kaiju”), which was more of a campy blockbuster entertainment, with Godzilla fighting other monsters instead of being the main antagonist. This is not really a remake of the original film, but pays respect to the Godzilla franchise as a whole, and this film focuses on Godzilla fighting other monsters instead of trying to destroy humanity.
So, America is taking another shot at the Godzilla franchise, after the 1998 version with Matthew Broderick failed with audiences and critics (and it was so undeserving of the title that Toho officially re-named that monster “Zilla”). And even if some people don’t like this new version so much, most can agree that at least it was much better than the previous film and much more faithful to the Godzilla franchise. Even though it has problems, this film succeeds as a Godzilla film. I had a lot of fun watching this movie with my friends! I felt like I was watching a Godzilla film!
Easily the best part of the movie was Godzilla himself. He steals the freaking show! And, he looks so cool! The roar was awesome! The design and movement was awesome! The battles were awesome! The final kill was incredibly awesome! Every time Godzilla was on screen and made his roar, I felt nothing but excitement and adrenaline! This was one badass monster!
It got a bit silly a few times and me and my friends cracked up a few times, but that’s kinda what you expect in a Godzilla movie. It wasn’t as campy as the other Godzilla films, but almost as serious as the original Godzilla from 1954. It was pretty serious for the most part, but not to the point that it was frustrating. When it got awesome, it got AWESOME! And when it got silly in a few moments, it was more “good silly” than “bad silly”. For example, I saw how Godzilla was destroying the entire city when he was apparently “saving” people from the other monsters, and I was like “Well, to be fair, he did less damage to the city than Superman did in Man of Steel.” XD
There is something that did bother me, though, and it did bother a lot of people too. I was really happy when the camera panned up Godzilla the first time and we got to hear him roar for the very first time. It was a brilliant roar, and I was like: “Awwh yeah! That’s GODZILLA!” Right afterwards I got excited, because we had a good build-up for the character, and we were going to to see him fight for the first time in a long time. “Yeah, let’s see this awesome monster battle–” Then they cut to after the fight. … I’m sorry, what? “Ah! That was a brutal battle! Can you believe it?” No, I don’t believe it. “Oh! The destruction! The chaos! You should have seen it for yourself.” Yes, I should have! Why cut away to the aftermath? Even more frustrating is that they later did it again and then, AGAIN! It’s one thing when they do it once, but when they do it so many times, it’s just annoying. I think the idea was to save the big battle for the end, but come on! I want action! I wanna see monsters battling! I wanted to see Godzilla!
The story is ok, not great, but it did what it had to do as a Godzilla film. The story can be a little slow, especially with the human scenes, which I think was more for build-up (it’s great build-up, though). The humans weren’t outstanding characters, but at least they weren’t hatable. I did care about what was going to happen to them. The film has an amazing cast, and they worked with what they got. Even if it had some silly blockbuster movie dialogue, the actors treated it with surprisingly good performances. Though on the downside they weren’t very memorable, except for Bryan Cranston who I think was the best human character and has the best performance. Elizabeth Olsen’s character didn’t do much except for running from the monster, Ken Watanabe’s character was just a scientist who exposed the plot, and I’m confused about what the motivation of Aaron-Taylor Johnson’s character was. Though they all had good performances. A funny thing that I had forgotten before but that I later realised was that Aaron-Taylor Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen are playing husband and wife, and I’m like “Oh! They’re also playing Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron next year… they’re playing brother and… sister… and here they’re… married…”
Something a few people complained about was that the design of the other monsters (called M.U.T.O.) were not that creative. My friend mentioned how the other monsters looked like the monster from Cloverfield, and others had mentioned that too. Now that I think about it, that’s very true. They weren’t uninteresting or unthreatening, but they weren’t as creative as the other monsters in the franchise like Gigan or Mothra. Japan is just much more creative in creating monsters than the US is. If they’re doing a sequel, we should totally have Godzilla fight King Ghidorah! Now that I’m looking forward to!
So yeah! Godzilla is a blockbuster monster movie, and it does what it has to do. It doesn’t have a great plot or anything, and the story and characters are very simple. But the action scenes are totally worth it! Full of excitement and fun! If you’re patient enough to get through the human scenes, you’ll be really impressed with the monster fights in the end, and you’ll love Godzilla himself. I’m still bothered by them cutting away from the fights until the last battle, but at least we end the film with a superb battle, and Godzilla looked fantastic on screen. This did justice to the Godzilla films, and I’m looking forward to another Godzilla movie that fixes some of the problems with this movie, but keeps the positives: great cast, great action scenes, and of course Godzilla! This time, though, show the fights and show more Godzilla!