The beginning of this latest Godzilla installment is promising. The government’s secret nuclear shenanigans are showed through stock black and white footage. Bryan Cranston, despite being a stock character – a normal citizen turned crackpot who turned out to be right all along – is excellent in starting the human drama. The film looks somber and injected with some realism.
Unfortunately, it goes downhill from there.
The film isn’t about Godzilla at all. Instead, he’s relegated to the background as a couple of gargantuan bugs get more character development and a generic cast gets in the way. The attempt for realism evaporated with stupid plot points.
The M.U.T.O looked like a spawn of a Kaiju in Pacific Rim and a bug from Storm Trooper. It lumbered from one city to the next, destroying everything on its path, with Godzilla following behind.
On the ground, you have one-note characters. Aaron Taylor Johnson fails to captivate as the generic stoic soldier going through the motions as things happen around him. Elizabeth Olsen is underused as the perpetually worried wife. Ken Watanabe is used as exposition with a fixed deer-in-the-headlights expression on his face.
After some time Godzilla finally appears, bloated but properly rendered by the latest technology. He looks awe-inspiring but reduced to a Deux ex Machina to a hackneyed premise.
The long build-up gives his showdown more kick but you’ll have to go through a dull stretch of money shots. He also gets a sympathetic ending but it’s too little too late.
Godzilla has historical connotations and a topic that is still relevant today, but it’s reduced to a typical blockbuster film that turned its well-known character into a prop.
Godzilla is a pointless cash grab that sidelines its titular character.