Liked it a lot, didn’t love it. That’s the short version.
Of course, just liking it means it was so much better than the 1998 Godzilla. I mean…SO much better. The best parts definitely deliver the goods.
- Good story setup – Ancient monsters are disturbed and go looking for radiation to feed on. They grow big and destroy stuff. Godzilla, in an almost mythological, Godly role, emerges to kill monsters and bring balance to the world.
- The effects – Not too shabby. Awesome at times. Plus, you can actually see what’s going on in the monster battles. It’s not a bunch of fast cutting to crazy angles that just confuses the audience and gives them a headache.
- Serious tone – There aren’t many (or any, really) silly nods to the audience, inside jokes, childish stabs at humor, etc. This isn’t like most blockbuster movies. It actually takes the destruction of cities and rising death toll seriously, even if it involves giant monsters.
- Some genuine emotional content at times, particularly the opening sequence. Nice job, Bryan Cranston.
- The best character isn’t in the movie very much. The other characters are pretty dull.
- Takes too long to get to Godzilla and the monster fighting. I don’t mind character development and a slower pacing, but only if it’s worth it. In this case, as noted above, the characters don’t really build much. I don’t even remember anybody’s name. Pacific Rim was idiotic, but at least it knew what the audience came to see and had a robot/monster fight in the first 5 minutes.
- Too many typical scenes of the military planning offensives, characters hoping to be reunited, then characters being reunited. Very predictable stuff for the most part.
I like the direction Gareth Edwards had this movie going in. It is definitely not stupid and obnoxious. That’s a welcome switch. I just wish he would have (or maybe could have – it’s only his first major movie after all, i’m not sure how much control he really had) made it even a bit darker and less predictable, especially at the character level. Speaking of characters, I’ll say again, Bryan Cranston is great, and boy would I have liked to see more of him in this. I guess Aaron Taylor-Johnson is convincing in the physical aspects of the lead role (I mean, he was Kick-Ass after all), but he’s not given much to do beyond that.
So yeah, cool fights, but not enough of them, and not early enough in the movie. Still, worth watching, especially if you’re still trying to get the bad taste of Godzilla 1998 out of your mouth.