Godzilla plays a supporting character in his own movie.
A property that has long been a laughingstock of Hollywood has finally been turned into a film that audiences are flocking to see. That’s an accomplishment in itself.
This Godzilla sure has a lot of spectacle, and is occasionally jaw-dropping in its scope. If you want a movie about big monsters smashing everything in sight, this is for you. It’s in the same vein as, and certainly better than, last year’s Pacific Rim.
But why is Godzilla not even onscreen as much as some other random creatures who we could really care less about? This is a movie about Godzilla. So give us Godzilla. All this scattered mess quickly leads to the movie getting pretty dull, pretty fast. It remains technologically-ambitious throughout, but what starts as a heartfelt human story quickly turns into an all-out mess of people chasing monsters around the globe and unsuccessfully trying to take them down.
Bryan Cranston gives what is, by far, the film’s best performance. The film’s protagonist (Aaron Tyler-Johnson), though, is hardly as compelling. I’m not sure about other viewers, but I was kind of sick of him by the time the movie ended. Not only was he not that great of an actor, but his character is so obscenely shoe-horned into every major turning point in the story that it becomes nearly laughable. His character’s storyline is completely contrived– just happening to show up at every single “showing” of the monsters around the globe. It’s not even remotely believable. I know this is Godzilla, but come on.
And the ending of the film suffers from what I’ll call… Man of Steel syndrome. Yeah, we get that you want to show off all your fancy CGI monster scenes, with things blowing up and cities being demolished. But get on with it. We don’t need to watch people running around screaming as Godzilla fights the MUTOs for so dang long. This Godzilla is a perfect example of a movie geared toward a teenage audience brought up on mindless CGI video games. That’s pretty much what it is.
With some great actors and some fine work behind the camera, Godzilla has finally returned to its place as a force in Hollywood. But other than some great-looking scenes and an awe-inspiring eponymous creature, it doesn’t deliver much. Godzilla is a wild and entertaining spectacle — though one that starts out with big promise but retreats to its genre’s typical trappings. Which is to be expected, but still disappointing.
Godzilla is rated PG-13 for “intense sequences of destruction and creature violence.” The film doesn’t have much in the way of offensive content, but it can be pretty scary at times. Many of the twists of the film revolve around sudden bursts of violence, so it is not recommended for younger children who get easily scared or are affected by monster-style action scenes.
© Matt Tory, 2014.