Written by Derek Smith
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS.
Even though the movie had its obvious flaws, I’m glad to see that Godzilla is at least headed in the right direction.
I’m going to be honest: when Godzilla released in theaters, I was reluctantly excited because while the trailer looked amazing, I couldn’t help but think back to the 1998 version of this film. I remember it being hyped up with high expectations, but ultimately didn’t deliver. I genuinely wanted this new Godzilla movie to succeed. Even though the movie had its obvious flaws, I’m glad to see that Godzilla is at least headed in the right direction.
The movie opens up with Joe Brody, a nuclear plant supervisor, whom the movie continues to focus on for the entire first act of the film. After experiencing a tragic event, Brody spends the following years trying to uncover what he believes is a governmental conspiracy involving nuclear testing. Bryan Cranston’s performance was one of the major highlights in the film. If you are familiar with any of Cranston’s work, such as the hit TV show Breaking Bad, it shouldn’t be surprising that his performance was equally as good. His character was nothing but believable, as he drifted from a hard working family man, into an emotionally crazed victim looking for answers.
After witnessing Cranston give the performance of a lifetime, I could never buy into Taylor-Johnson’s campaign as the main protagonist; he didn’t have much of a presence on screen compared to his fellow cast members.
I did find myself very disappointed when Cranston dipped out about a third of the way into the film. With his performance to that point, along with the amount of attention he received in the trailers, I expected him to play a longer lasting role in the movie. His part ended as a plot element to inspire Brody’s son, Ford, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who ended up being the true protagonist to the story. What added to my disappointment is that Ford fell very flat as a character. After witnessing Cranston give the performance of a lifetime, I could never buy into Taylor-Johnson’s campaign as the main protagonist; he didn’t have much of a presence on screen compared to his fellow cast members. Elizabeth Olsen, who played his wife, Elle Brody, also had a great performance that captured a stronger on-screen presence than that of Taylor-Johnson.
Another flaw that bothered me about the film is that Godzilla never really shows up until you are roughly 65% into the movie. Everything previous to that is focused entirely on the Kaiju monsters that Godzilla eventually faces as the movie progresses. I would say that the Kaiju might have received more screen time than the character the movie is named after. Don’t get me wrong, the Kaiju were very well done. I was very entertained by what they brought to the table as antagonistic monsters, but it still caught me off guard from what I expected the movie to be.
Overall, Godzilla is a visual work of art. The CGI display alongside the monster design complement each other to bring the viewer a thrilling experience. I was a huge fan of the character models for both Godzilla and the Kaiju.
I loved how Legendary Pictures literally “went big” with the massive scale in which its monsters are displayed. Godzilla is a visual work of art. The CGI display alongside the monster design complement each other to bring the viewer a thrilling experience. I was a huge fan of the character models for both Godzilla and the Kaiju. When Godzilla first appears, I was in awe of how it seemed to take a long amount of time for him to fully emerge from the ocean. Godzilla’s truly monstrous size added to the experience of seeing the behemoth on the big screen. Watching him face off against the Kaiju was breathtaking, to say the least. I kept thinking at some point I would find a flaw in the CGI, but Legendary did an excellent job hitting their target in creating believable monsters with believable destruction. Every moment that either Godzilla or the Kaiju were on screen, I was on the edge of my seat eagerly anticipating what was to come next. I am also glad that Godzilla was designed to be an original creation, but still held inspirations from his previous incarnations. From his look to his classic atomic breath, I enjoyed the updated throwback features to this new Godzilla that was brought to life with today’s updated technology.
Despite its flaws, Godzilla was still a good movie. The writing needs a little work in the upcoming, already-confirmed sequel. With the excellent execution in its presentation and decent story, I enjoyed my time watching it. The film’s issues didn’t ruin my experience because the amazing monster action is what I truly cared about in the end. As a Godzilla fan, this movie is definitely rewatchable and I’m interested in how the franchise continues in the future.
I give Godzilla an 8.0 out of 10.