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'Godzilla' review: The king reigns supreme

Godzilla

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"Godzilla" will be released theatrically across the nation in conventional, 3D, and IMAX theaters starting with special showtimes starting tonight and an official release tomorrow.

The new and improved Godzilla.
The new and improved Godzilla.
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros., used with permission.
One of many official theatrical one-sheet posters for "Godzilla."
One of many official theatrical one-sheet posters for "Godzilla."
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros., used with permission.

Godzilla” begins in 1999 as you're introduced to what will eventually become M.U.T.O. (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism), a giant monster with parasitic spores that gestates in a cocoon and feeds on radiation. Thanks to M.U.T.O.'s electromagnetic pulse and gigantic nature, seismic earthquakes occur every time the creature breathes or “talks.” An engineer named Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) loses his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche) after a containment breach in Janjira, Japan. Joe knows that something other than a natural disaster claimed the life of his wife.

15 years later, Joe's son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) returns from a 14-month stint in the army to see his wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen) and son Sam (Carson Bolde). Joe gets arrested in Japan and it's up to Ford to straighten out his father. M.U.T.O. eventually escapes the research being performed by Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and his assistant Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins). M.U.T.O. destroys everything in its path to be united with what is believed to be another M.U.T.O., which awakens a certain king that survived all of the atomic bomb testing from 1954.

You need to see the Gareth Edwards directed version of "Godzilla" not only on the big screen but in IMAX. It is absolutely mandatory to enjoy this film to its full extent. Hearing that roar for the first time in an IMAX theater gives you a wave of goosebumps that pulses from your feet to the back of your neck in an instant and leaves you craving destructive monster mayhem in glorious high definition.

The science fiction monster film is absolutely gargantuan in scope. "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" was able to achieve quite a bit with perspective and making Spider-Man look tiny compared to the utter gigantism of New York City. "Godzilla" takes the opposite approach in taking what are giant cities and making the monsters in the film even larger in comparison.

M.U.T.O. is awesome enough, but the ongoing tease leading up to seeing Godzilla in his entirety is extraordinary. You see his torso after the firing of some flares and a glimpse or two of his tail as it slithers behind a building or a brief shot of the spikes on his back seen through clouds of smoke. As M.U.T.O. destroys an airport, you see Godzilla's feet for the first time which take up the entire runway; finally leading to the slow rising shot of his full reveal capping off with the first official ground shaking Godzilla roar of the film.

The performances are remarkably compelling. Bryan Cranston proves once again that he is an absolutely fantastic supporting actor, but it makes you wonder if he'll ever take a larger role in a big budget film. Ken Watanabe is also extraordinary as the one scientist who is essentially the voice behind Godzilla's rampage. Aaron Taylor-Johnson's talent wasn't bothersome in the "Kick-Ass" films, but his voice seems extremely nasally amongst all the chaos. More individuals will focus on the fact that Johnson and Olsen will portray brother and sister in next year's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" while portraying lovers in "Godzilla."

The giant monster sequences are utterly jaw dropping and awe inspiring. They will satisfy on absolutely every level, but pay attention to how influentially great the sound of the film is as well. Not only is Godzilla's roaring superb, but everything is done big whether it's an explosion or a covert operation. Keep an eye out for the M.U.T.O. scene by the train tracks as it seems to ride the same set of tension tracks established by "Jurassic Park" during the velociraptors in the kitchen sequence. The "Predator"-like clicking done by M.U.T.O. is also fun to hear in theaters.

Gareth Edwards has not just rebooted a franchise here; he's introduced what will hopefully be a terrifyingly destructive franchise that will leave Godzilla fans clamoring for more. Surprisingly intelligent with first-rate acting and exhilarating special effects, "Godzilla" is dangerously amazing, humanity endangering, city-destroying perfection. Chisel this in stone and write it down in the record books that the king has finally returned.