All right team it’s time to look at the latest Godzilla film. With the increased amount of Kaiju action it was certain to beat the last one right? It’s definitely a lot more fun and doesn’t take itself as seriously as the 2014 installment. Rather than go for the slow burner approach this one throws us into the action and the plot is always moving. It definitely has some issues including an incredibly forced scene, but on the whole it’s a movie that stands tall.
The film takes place 5 years after the last one. Godzilla has vanished so naturally humanity is back to being uncivil and generally petty as always. They call in MONARCH and threaten to disband the group. The government believes that all of the Kaiju should be destroyed and also that MONARCH should be under government authority. The latter is admittedly valid as we know what happens when private corporations run around with completely unchecked power. This shady company also doesn’t make any reasonable arguments as to why they should stay private. They deflect all of the questions and put up smoke screens at every opportunity. If you didn’t know better you would be forgiven for thinking that these are the villains. Still, they are forced to leave the meeting early because all of the Kaiju across the world are waking up. King Ghidorah is ready to lead a wave of terror and unless Godzilla stops him…Earth is finished!
As for the human plot, there are a few core characters running around. Madison is currently going through a bit of a tough time as her parents aren’t getting along. Mark has decided to basically watch wolves all day and rest at home while Emma blames the humans for her kid dying a while back and wants to help cause anarchy on the planet. Madison will have to find where her loyalties lie because lives will depend on her actions. It’s a lot of responsibility for a kid, but hopefully she is ready for it.
So, from the 3 main characters Mark is definitely the best one. He really didn’t want to get involved, but once he does the guy doesn’t grumble about it nearly as much as most leads would. He just gets on task and sees to it that the work gets done. He’s a lot smarter than the rest of the crew despite not being an actual agent and always gets to Madison when she is in trouble. There’s not a whole lot more that he could realistically do and he really handled all of the situations well. I would consider him to be an improvement over the lead from the last film. He can be sarcastic and throws in a lot of tough lines to the others, but like the audience he’s probably just frustrated with how inept MONARCH can be.
Emma definitely isn’t a good character though. She doesn’t make for a good antagonist and it’s far too late to feel bad for her during her emotional moments later on as well. Even the other villains comment on how she is so weak willed to even want to abandon the plan at this late stage. Madison is definitely a better character although I can’t say she’s really a stand out either. She’s a bit slow on the ball although I will give her some due credit for ultimately making the right decision. Better late than never as they say. The rest of the characters are pretty reasonable. The human villain is solid and the rest of the crew aren’t bad. They’re around a lot even if they don’t get a lot to do. They at least contribute when it counts. I think that’s enough on the humans though, lets talk about the bulk of why you’re watching this movie.
The monster fights are definitely on point. The action scenes look really good and the special effects have never been better. The various fire effects like for Rodan looked pretty good. The energy attacks are definitely really good and we got a lot of nice backdrops. The soundtrack is also solid with some good remixes as well as new themes. There are a lot of big hype moments that the soundtrack helps to make even better. You’ll definitely know which scenes you’re meant to cheer for.
Godzilla is definitely a solid lead as always. He’s definitely Earth’s defender even if the humans do love stabbing him in the back. He definitely isn’t quite as strong as Ghidorah one on one as the only time he seemed to have the edge was in the ocean fight. Otherwise he was taking a lot of Ls here, but you could tell that anyone else would have been doomed against him. I would have liked to have seen Godzilla use more of his tricks like in the 2014 film with his back lasers, but I suppose there weren’t too many times where this would have been helpful. (It would have made it more difficult for Ghidorah to fly him though)***It was brought to my attention by local G Expert KaijuDestroyer that the back lasers were from the Shin Godzilla and not 2014 so I will have to retract that
Then Ghidorah is naturally a really great opponent as well. He’s always been one of Godzilla’s most iconic villains for good reason. I also like how the 3 heads each had a personality which was cool and Ghidorah even has some accelerated healing. I don’t think there are any real faults to be found with this Kaiju. He really translated well to the new film and is properly portrayed as one of the strongest Kaiju out there. (He’s lucky that Mecha Godzilla wasn’t around though)
However, Godzilla and Ghidorah’s hype does come at the expense of the other Kaiju. There are 17 confirmed Kaiju currently roaming the planet but these two are the only Alpha Kaiju. (Kong may be a 3rd one. The film kept it vague but this would make sense) As a result, the others are all second stringers who simply wait to see who will win and follow the leader. The Kaiju have no agency or free will of their own. Rodan looks really cool for his intro, but once he realizes that he is outclassed he literally bows before the other Kaiju. Longtime Rodan fans will remember that he bows to no opponent. Rodan may not be a hero like Godzilla, but at the end of the day he always follows his own tempo. He’ll aid Godzilla or fight against him, but he’s never a simple lackey. Unfortunately this film reduces him to that and he really looks terrible here.
To an extent all of the other Kaiju besides Mothra look bad. Mothra gets her due credit as a loyal ally to Godzilla and she fights til the end. Mothra’s always been a cool fighter and while her power level doesn’t seem all that high here she does have her crucial moments. The other Kaiju are just here as cameos and it was cool to see them of course, but they don’t get to do much except make sure to let Godzilla and Ghidorah know that they aren’t a threat. I’m thinking Kong’s going to take all of these posers down and that’s when Godzilla’s going to have to step in. Once Godzilla beats Kong in the opening 20 minutes then the film will really start.
Now lets talk about the film’s weak points. One is a scene where we get some animal violence as a few wolves tear into some kind of animal. I forget which one it was, but the scene was pretty vicious and completely out of nowhere. There’s no point to the scene. I’m sure the official reason for including it was to show the animal cycle as an allegory to the Kaiju, but there’s no real reason for it to be here. I feel like films love to shoot themselves in the foot nowadays and that definitely took a star off the film. Then we’ve also got a weak script. I don’t mind the more comedic tone of the film or the puns. I can definitely live with those and even if the jokes don’t land they aren’t that bad. The film does throw in quite a bit of language though. Literally in Madison’s first scene she says the s word at least 6-7 times and of course they had to throw in the one intense word that they are allowed to use nowadays. The writing for the characters made them all feel a lot more juvenile than needed and while it may be more “realistic” it just makes me miss the old 50s films even more.
I’m also not sure about how easily manipulated the Kaiju are. This may be inevitable as the more Godzilla films come out, the more technology we have at our disposal so beating Kaiju gets easier and easier. The Orca is a big device in the film which can scare all Kaiju who aren’t Ghidorah and Godzilla or antagonize them into a fight. It’s done by using sound waves and you can see how this is a problem. If MONARCH can just mess with the Kaiju like this then it undermines their threat. Even Ghidorah gets completely sidetracked when they use the device as the Kaiju don’t seem to have much of a mind. They really do seem to be mindless monsters to an extent or just completely like an animal instead of a creature. Godzilla has a lot of personality but the others are all lacking a bit. The government also shows that aside from Ghidorah they could easily take down the rest of the Kaiju so…..the Kaiju need a power up. It’s a bit worrisome when the Kaiju are the underdogs.
Of course there is an after credits scene so you’ll want to check that one out. It’s a pretty solid scene, I admit that I would have handled it a bit differently, but it does properly set up the next movie. This opponent also makes perfect sense since taking on Godzilla and Kong would require an incredible adversary. It’ll be fun to see how it plays out since a 2 v 1 Kaiju battle should be really cool. I wonder if the film will turn it into a 2 v 2 though and throw in another villain. That’d be pretty neat.
There’s one odd part of the film that probably wasn’t needed, but I suppose it expands the mythos. We find out about the original days of Godzilla and basically another Earth. Based on the statues it looks like a lot of little Godzillas used to rule the world or the humans did completely worship him and erected statues everywhere. The cavemen were a lot more advanced than I would have thought. It’s just pretty random though and I dare say that the paintings are awfully convenient. People already knew that Kong and Godzilla would fight millions of years ago? Likewise, Godzilla and Ghidorah fought in the past before both getting sealed away for millions of years? The film maybe tries to get too deep here, but it’s not really a bad thing. It just felt like it came out of nowhere.
It may be too late to save Rodan’s reputation, but if they really do introduce Orga in the next film I better not see him bowing to anybody. Orga would whup Ghidorah with minimal effort and then take down Godzilla. He’s one of the only wrestling Godzilla fighters and his very presence demands respect. Now, where would I rank this Godzilla film? It’s fairly low as it beats the 1954 film, Return of Godzilla, the 2014 Godzilla (Well, it’s more fun even if it has a lower score) and the 1998 one, but loses to most of the core Godzilla titles. I don’t think the film will ultimately have a ton of replay value due to the long build ups for each hype moment and the human drama, but it’s definitely one that will always be fun as long as you give it some space.
I didn’t mind the human stuff really. Madison and Emma were annoying but the rest of the characters were good. We didn’t get any rushed romance scenes, super dragged out jokes, or overly long scenes of the heroes getting super emotional. There is maybe a little more crying than needed here, but nothing super serious. If there’s any annoying scene that will get you on the second watch it will be the government agents storming a villain base and being completely unprepared. In this situation if you see someone raising a gun you should probably fire. I’m just saying.
Overall, This was a pretty good film. With a better script and getting rid of one scene it would have been that much better. Alas, we’ll have to live with those things, but I think G fans will not be disappointed. It was a long wait, but the movie definitely has a lot more things that it did right than what went wrong. I do think that Godzilla vs Kong is going to beat this one, but I definitely still recommend watching this film. It’s got solid action scenes and it’ll remind you why Godzilla is such a national icon. You just can’t do much better than seeing the King of the Kaiju right? Godzilla will always stand strong.