Review: Why GODZILLA is One of the Year's Best Movies

I finally got the chance to see Godzilla on Memorial Day, and aside from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it is one of the best movies I have ever seen, if not the best action, big-budget, geek-oriented movie of the entire year. I came out of the movie absolutely satisfied. Now, I admit, my geek cup did not runneth over, but I was given life.

Okay, let me be clear, there were areas of the film that I felt could have been cut short, or eliminated altogether.  And let’s face it, the little love story felt overpowering at times.  For the most part, however, it was a good solid film, and what it lacked in copious amounts of destruction, it made up for with stunning visuals and poignancy.

Where this year’s version of Godzilla trumped the 1998 version starring Matthew Broderick was…  Oh, hell.  Alright, let’s face it, 1998′s version was shit so the reboot trumped it all across the board.  Aaron Taylor-Johnson showed an incredible amount of potential as the knight in shining armor for a more serious action role with a bit more gravitas than Kickass.  He’s definitely one to watch.  Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe brought some of the strongest acting to the film.  They definitely added a level of quiet desperation, resilience, and courage under fire to the film, with Cranston’s raw emotion in one scene damn near taking my breath away.  I do wish both would have gotten more screen time, but it quickly becomes evident that the King of Monsters and Taylor-Johnson’s character are supposed to be kindred spirits in some form or fashion.  Bro, how awesome is it to have ‘Zilla as your spirit animal?

As a die-hard Godzilla fangirl from even before my TNT MonsterVision days*, this movie followed the formula of some of the older Toho movies.  I can’t count how many early films had a slow burn in the beginning, where time was taken to introduce Godzilla’s antagonist(s) for the movie to culminate in an epic showdown or two.  It all felt really familiar to me, and in that way, I felt Gareth Edwards and company stayed true to the original source material.  The problem with audiences these days is they expect a shit ton of action immediately, but that doesn’t make a good story.  And when they do accept a story, it tends to be nonsensical.  See anything Michael Bay has done in he last seven years with the exception of Pain and Gain (which was awesome) to see what I mean.

At the end of the day, I can’t even see cutting out some of the “love” aspects from the film.  It’s what drives the characters to put themselves at risk against these beasts.  Hell, it’s what drives both the MUTOs and possibly even Godzilla.  Loss as well.  While Pacific Rim did a better job of showing a boy-meets-girl interaction that was less syrupy and more effective, those characters were deeply scarred and dealing with severe PTSD, and I am not joking.  There’s only so much you can open yourself when all you’ve known is loss, and humanity is prey.

The fight scenes–which is the main reason we all went to see the film–are on point.  Oh, they teased us.  Edwards and co. made sure to get us all nice and ready for a few fights, and then switched it up on us.  Still the battle scenes were exciting, and I must have annoyed the people behind me because I kept fist pumping like I was The Situation.  It would have been nice to have more.  Definitely something to think about for the already confirmed Godzilla sequels.