The world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.
Director: Gareth Edwards
Godzilla is an icon. While technically not being the first monster movie ever, it has got to be the most recognizable, and definitely the most practiced [this current film is the 29th (literally) film featuring the creature]. While being this popular, however, it has still never been truly modernized before this attempt, unless you want to include the atrocious slandering that was 1998’s Godzilla, but it would be best to soon forget that pile of garbage. It’s damn time we got a quality franchise film from the modern era, and that is what we have got ourselves here.
The opening credits let us know a pretty common plot-point: some secret organization know about Godzilla. But something else has been found in the depths of the Earth: an egg of some sort, and traces of something else that already hatched. Turns out, that hatched something feeds off radiation energy, and it finds its source from a Japanese power plant, where Joe [Cranston], Sandra [Juliette Binoche], and Ford Brady [Taylor-Johnson] live. In the process of sapping the energy, the plant is destroyed, and Sandra is killed. 15 years later, similar events start happening, and this time a giant, kind of Cloverfield rip-off monster spawns and flies away looking for more food. Found in the data is another signal, and it is assumed to be Godzilla, since the scientists already know of his presence. Lo-and-behold, the giant green lizard creature himself shows up, and Dr. Ichiro Serizawa [Wantanabe], the expert on the monster, thinks he’s hunting this unidentified creature. He also finds that the previous signal was not Godzilla’s, but a second larger, definite Cloverfield rip-off monster. So now all three monsters are moving towards one centralized point: a nuclear bomb. Will the humans prevail in destroying all of the creatures? Will Godzilla fight the other two? The answer is probably obvious.
The first thing that deserves praise, and the most of it, is the visuals. I watched this film in an IMAX 3D theater, and I was blown away. Director Gareth Edwards, of the famed indie monster-flick Monsters, and the CGI crew created some absolutely gorgeous scenes and memorable shots, and the look of the monsters and their actions/interactions are just plain sick.
The second aspect I enjoyed, although not without its faults, was the story and writing. The story is classic Godzilla, but has new monsters and origins isn’t entirely obvious throughout. And the way the story and screenplay were written, we are jumping around to multiple groups of people and multiple story lines which allow the film to develop and take away most of the bite of the film’s dragging, which it does tend to do. The biggest gripe I had was probably also with the story, in that some of its plot lines were just too damn cheesy and oblivious, like the fact that both of the unidentified monsters hatched from their eggs and strolled away without anyone seeing, and one of them was in the middle of Nevada! But honestly, Godzilla movies have always been a little cheesy, if not outright silly, and the parts that drew a “Oh, come on…” from me were, from a cinematic standpoint, actually pretty fun.
In truth, I didn’t come into this film with high expectations. Godzilla  did enough of a number on me not to expect good things from Western-made Godzilla content, and in this day and age, Hollywood seems to be grasping at anything it can re-write or make a sequel to just for the profits. But honestly, I was pleasantly surprised, because this is a true Godzilla film, and deserves the name of the franchise. Godzilla himself looks true to his original form; the monsters are new and creative, and good choices as the “evil” counter-parts; the monster fighting was bad-ass, with fire-breathing and like up spikes, the whole works. In addition to that, you have amazing technical work in visuals and audio, the occasional spot of great acting [most in part to Cranston and Wantanabe in supporting roles], and a likable main character and plot arc to follow. There was also plenty of destruction while not being obviously gruesome so that you wouldn’t take your kids.
3/4 – While definitely not your usual monster-flick, Godzilla is deserving of its name and should be a great treat for fans of the franchise. Amazing visuals and a fun/cool story of Godzilla universe monsters, the film is a solid summer movie and a great Godzilla installation.