After covering this film since its first teaser, it’s my great pleasure and honor to give you my review for Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla. So how did the new film stack up against the Toho classic? Let’s just say he’s the King of Monsters for a reason. With an original story that perfectly combines the human element with a good old giant-monster showdown, Godzilla definitely lived up to its hype.
The Human Element Story:
When Gareth Edwards first announced that there was a human element at the center of his film, many people worried it’d be the 1998 romance angle – or worse, the shaky camera/makes you want to throw up approach Cloverfield (2008) took. Bryan Cranston is nothing short of powerful in his role as Joe Brody; and his relationship with his son Ford – played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson – is definitely one of the focal points of the story.
As for the rest of the cast, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen actually have great chemistry, which will be awkward when they play the brother and sister duo of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron next year. Ken Watanabe joins the cast as Dr. Ichiro Serizawa. More than anything else, Ichiro grounds the film into the classic mold of Godzilla and what this monster represents.
Honoring The Classic:
When Godzilla first came out, he was an untamable force of nature, but somewhere along the way he became more tame and stood as the champion of Japan. These seemingly contradictory representations both get equal footing in this film and we find a Godzilla that any fan can get on board with.
Ichiro is the character whose words will be fulfilled throughout the movie. He understands Godzilla and what the creatures represents; and in the end it isn’t the military that subdues the monsters, but rather this man’s faith in the balance of nature.
Since this is the spoiler free review, I won’t say which part; but there is an iconic Godzilla moment in the film that actually made the entire theater cheer and applaud. I haven’t experienced that kind of fan uproar since the Avengers were all assembled at the Battle of New York in The Avengers (2012). Trust me, you’ll know when you see it.
Whenever you go to see a giant monster movie – whether Pacific Rim, Cloverfield, or even the original Godzilla movies – you usually leave all expectations of ‘realism’ at the door. The astonishing thing about this movie is that all the science is actually pretty factual – even if you don’t understand all of it. Even the monsters themselves seem realistic.
There were no sentient blobs, radioactive jumbo extra large eggs nor a lizard that reproduces asexually – because where’s the fun in that. The monsters – or rather MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) – actually have a somewhat believable origin, but it is their behavior that really makes them unique. They act like regular animals and are driven by the same natural tendencies. If one of these monsters showed up in your city, you’d believe it – and then run as fast as you can in the other direction.
All in all this is a great film. This film redefines monster films in the way Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier redefined superhero movies. The thing that is always lacking from monster movies is the human element; and if it’s there, then the monster isn’t. Godzilla gives both equal footing and creates a beautiful – yet frightening – world where anything is possible. Edwards has already mentioned his desire to continue the series, and I couldn’t be happier.
As I said, there are tons of amazing things about this film – some you probably won’t even notice your first time through. So get out there, see Godzilla, and come back and read my next article featuring the amazing things you may have missed – or Like this Panda on Facebook to stay up to date with each article, and some more fun stuff!