As a movie that fits into the “summer blockbuster” genre, Godzilla did not disappoint. Director Gareth Edwards has daringly taken on the task of rebooting a franchise that is widely known and loved, with promises of taking it back to its roots. In my opinion, he did that in a lot of ways.
The plot is shown from a human point of view, which is why some of the monster action happens off screen. Some people were saying we hardly see Godzilla at all, but this is not true. He doesn’t show up right away, but we see plenty of him later on. Much like the 1954 original, the presence of Godzilla is teased before we see the colossus full on in all his CGI glory. The absence of Godzilla is filled with a strong presence of the MUTOS, whose sole intention seems to be breeding and wrecking stuff.
With the way this movie is presented, it kind of seems like Godzilla is just this chill guy who doesn’t bother anyone until some mega monster comes out and threatens to destroy the balance. You can either love or hate the fact that he’s shown more in a hero light than he was in the original, but I liked that take on him. He has more of a purpose than he does by being a monster who comes to destroy things just for the sake of destroying. I think he avoids becoming too “cute” by having some badass scenes showing off his monstrous size, iconic roar, whipping tail, and radioactive breath.
The humans play their super important part, which is basically just being in the way of everything. There is this one particular scene where Godzilla is moving through the water, chasing his prey, then he comes to a bridge and stops. The humans have their boats and tanks just planted there, ready to attack at will. If Godzilla could talk I imagined he would’ve been saying something like, “Hey guys, I’m just trying to get through, you know, to chase these monsters, I’m kinda large and you’re in my damn way. Can you move? Oh screw it, I’ll just go under you…oops, sorry I tipped over your boat — oh, now you’re shooting at me? F this, I’m outta here.” The humans also spend a lot of their time thinking about how they can solve the problem, and of course, what is the solution to any problem? Weapons of mass destruction! OK, so the human stories were not the best, and I must say that the real talent was a bit wasted here since Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen were very underused. Instead, the plot focused around Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who–despite being nice to look at–doesn’t really carry the film acting-wise. I enjoyed the part of Dr. Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe), though, especially because he is the first one to introduce the famous monster by calling him by his original and better Japanese name (in my opinion), Gojira!
Despite all the mixed emotions surrounding it, I believe it’s an entertaining movie. Is it a masterpiece? No. Unless you compare it to the horrendous 1998 version, then maybe. What Edwards has brought to the screen is nothing short of a visually stunning treat for movie-goers. I think anyone walking into a Godzilla movie expecting it to be anything more than a monster movie with fun action and cool special effects has unreasonably high hopes. I understand that’s not an excuse for the story to be absolutely terrible (which is the case with a lot of blockbusters) but this was far from that. Also, Godzilla is just incredibly cool looking.