Warning: There will be spoilers!
Warner Bros. was given 93.2 million reasons to immediately announce the development of a sequel for Godzilla as he made a roaring return to the silver screen. There were some amazing things to behold, and there were some lackluster elements that almost dragged the film past the point of no return. However, the King of Monsters would not be denied.
The human story in a movie of this scale is always examined under a microscope because there are instances, such as the Transformers films, where they overshadow the titular character. Bryan Cranston‘s Joe Brody is a disgraced engineer who ended up being the most intriguing human character because of the path he took towards redemption. Most people in his situation make clearing their name the priority. Brody wanted someone to listen and believe him for the sake of mankind because he had already lost his wife and didn’t want anyone else to lose a loved one. Cranston was so good that I thought he might overshadow the big guy. That was not to be since he only in the first half-hour of the film.
The story is put on the shoulders Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Ford Brody when Cranston exits stage left. He did a serviceable job with the role in conveying his desire to be reunited with his wife, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and his son. However, his performance suffered from the character conveniently being in the right place at the right time. Olsen didn’t have much to do in the film, but her interaction with Ford, in the beginning, convinced me that she was madly in love with her husband, which heightened the emotional stakes enough to wet my palette.
Most probably won’t remember David Strathiam’s Admiral Stenz, but I thought it was a refreshing take on the military leader. Normally, this person’s closed-minded nature is detrimental to human survival. Stenz was different. He had no alpha male individuality, and he was open to suggestions on how to stop the monsters. Yes, he made the wrong call in the end, but it was out of necessity to do something instead of nothing, which is what the scientists came up with, which is the opposite of the character’s formulaic desire to be right at all cost. Ken Watanabe was Mr. Exposition, but that’s ok because he brings clarity in such a masterful manner that it was easy to overlook.
Let’s talk about Godzilla! He didn’t appear until an hour into the film. This can normally wear on the viewer, but the slow burn coupled with the onslaught of the M.U.T.O. (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism) heightened the anticipation of his arrival. However, when he finally arrived, the script closed the curtain as if director Gareth Edwards was saying “no, not yet.” This happened five more times, which really pissed me off because I was getting glimpses instead of a full-on display of the character I paid to see. It’s amazing how a grand finale can change your mind because the last thirty minutes were beyond epic. Godzilla’s fight with the MUTOs came off like a high profile main event, watching your favorite fighter on the ropes, only to come back from the jaws of defeat to deliver the mother of all knockout blows. The visual effects did this moment justice to no end, conveying all of the proper sentiments at the right time. It was the furthest thing from destruction porn.
I give the movie a 7.5 out of 10 because certain plot threads’ execution fell flat while others were spot on. The jaw-dropping final battle is something that needs to be experienced in a theater to fully appreciate the majesty of what unfolded on screen. Overall, despite the film’s problems, Godzilla’s is a monstrous thrill ride that delivers the iconic action worthy of its name.