There are few characters more recognizable than that of Godzilla. Whether you have ever seen the classic 1954 original, the disasterous 1998 version or any of the multiple films in between everyone still knows who he is. Now director Gareth Edwards is bringing the King of all monsters back to the big screen with the aptly titled Godzilla and bringing along a great supporting cast including Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryon Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche, and David Strathairn but does it fix the mistakes of the past while still giving this icon the film it deserves?
Godzilla follows a gigantic fire-breathing prehistoric monster wakened from his sleep at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean by nuclear testing in 1954, returns to wreak destruction and chaos across the face of civilization. Now a nuclear engineer must fight for his family and the rest of humanity against an indestructible foe that might be nature's revenge against mankind's arrogance. Going into a movie like this you can’t help but be concerned after some of the previous entries we have gotten. Well you can put your fears to rest because Godzilla is back where he belongs on the big screen and destroys it like every city he has visited. Edwards does a great job at using the slow build for the film without ever making it drag. There are a couple of moments that it feels like things are slowing down, but quickly pick right back up. While we all know what Godzilla looks like from the previews they still have an epic reveal of the monster icon and then take a brave direction at teasing the audience numerous times before finally letting everything lose. This will probably irritate some people, but it was a smart choice so not to blow the whole effect before its big moment.
When it finally unleashes the fury of it is a site to behold. Everything you could ever want in a Godzilla film is here. Fans will no doubt explode like one of these buildings with excitement to see the glory of Godzilla doing his thing. The effects are amazing and the design is spot on making it very clear that this is a Godzilla movie. The other monsters teased in the previews are pretty cool as well with some unique designs that sport a classic feel while still working for this generation. The throw down with the green goliath and these monsters is epic in scope and visuals that will make you forget there was ever a bad entry in the franchise. While the glory of Godzilla is in full force here, there are a couple of speed bumps regarding the human counterparts. Cranston is more or less a cameo with just enough screen time to make an impact, but not really have much to carry. He is fine as always, but seemed to be phoning it in a bit. Johnson does a fine job with the role, but there is just something missing. He never seems to express all that much emotion but at the same time it doesn’t really hurt the overall film. There are a few homage moments to the original, but they keep this as a fresh new film and one that the fans will surely love.
There are a few predictable coincidences in the story that are a bit cliché, but they take the story seriously and it elevates the film to the level that it deserves to be. Despite these and some of the acting slumps this is an awesome movie that lives up to the title epic. The story and the ending lend it perfectly to multiple entries and if this film is any indication Godzilla is back with a vengeance and will hopefully be back for a long time.