This movie has garnered negative and positive reviews from both fans and critics alike and I can certainly understand why there is a clear divide. I want to address some of the fans criticisms but first here are my basic thoughts.
I like this movie, I really do. It’s not a great movie and it’s not the best Godzilla movie either but it’s still pretty good. Monsters fight, buildings crumble and people fled in terror, that was all I was looking for and by Godzilla I got it! Everything in between was not that good but the stuff that worked, REALLY worked!
The two MUTOs were cool and atypical in appearance compared to your average Godzilla villain. I liked the concept of having a small, flying male and a large, earth-stomping female. It’s not often that Godzilla fights two villains at once and as such, this was a real treat to watch. Also, the MUTOs’, and by extension Godzilla’s, backstory I thought was perfect. All Godzilla films have these crazy scientific theories that have NO basis in logic whatsoever and this was no exception. Large monsters used to live on the surface and then burrowed underground to feed on the radiation there. Perfect! That’s all I need! An explanation where the monsters come from and why they are appearing now, love it.
BTW, I thought it was cute that the male and female MUTOs did a little nuzzling when they first met each other.
The fights were good but I wish I could have seen more of them especially the first one. Seeing the first fight should have been a priority since we are seeing Godzila in action for the very first time. Even though it would have been just a smackdown, I would have still loved to have witnessed it. That said, the final fight was amazing with a series of battles that build upon each other to a climatic finish.
I remember distinctly near the end of the movie that this Godzilla hadn’t done his atomic breath yet and I was worried that wasn’t going to happen. But wait! His tail spines were glowing! I leaned forward in anticipation, making excited noises much to the chagrin of my fellow movie watchers. And then…BLLLLLLAAARRGGGH! The atomic breath came and I was like “Yeah! Alright!” I was thrilled when that happened and right there I knew that this was Godzilla, no doubt.
But the best part had yet to come, when Godzilla fought the female MUTO for the last time. The two titans struggled and I was giddy with excitement. I asked myself how were they going to end this fight. And then, Godzilla grabbed MUTO’s jaws with both of his hands and I was like:
I gave a grunt of excitement and thought Godzilla was going to rip MUTO’s jaws in half similar to what he did to Anguirus or what King Kong did to the T-Rex. But something even better happened. His dorsal spines glowed with power and he released a might atomic breath into the monster’s throat. I was then like:
I screamed with excitement and I was the only member in the rather stiff audience that was whooping and hollering. I wanted him to take the now disembodied head and throw it to the ground like an adrenaline-filled football player throwing his pigskin to the ground after a fantastic touchdown.
Godzilla was also great, he definitely reminded me of Godzilla 2000’s Godzilla. He was a neutral force that did whatever he wanted. That is definitely my favorite rendition of Godzilla and I’m very happy the film went for this choice. He’s fighting cause he wants to fight and if people or buildings get in his way then so be it! He also had personality and I really felt for the guy when things got tough for him. Also, for those who’s saying this Godzilla is fat..um…he’s always been fat, look at his thighs and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Now, let me focus on the criticisms that many people had for this movie. Mainly: the characters were flat, we don’t see much of Godzilla, and for the few critical die-hard fans, this was not Godzilla.
Characters were flat: For over a year, I have been watching Godzilla films that I have never seen before or haven’t seen for a long time. As such, I have a pretty good understanding of some of the most popular tropes in these films. One of the most used tropes is flat characters. This is pretty standard in a Godzilla film. Godzilla 2000, Godzilla: Final Wars, and Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah are some of the rare exceptions to this. Those characters were fun and memorable. Everywhere else though I’m like, eh, whatever, don’t care.
This wouldn’t be a problem for the film except that we got Bryan Fucking Cranston in it. He plays his role so damn well that I forgot he was Walter White and an actual character in a Godzilla film. I felt for him, I moved for him, I wanted him to succeed….and then he died! I was shocked that he died and was sure for a minute or so he would revive due to some radiation pulse or whatever. But nope! He straight up died! The rug was really pulled underneath me when that happened. Which meant we were stuck with his son, Sargent Boring. Now this was a character I did not care about! He nor his family! But he had a purpose and he served his purpose well. I was hoping he would die but alas, that was not the case. The good news is that hopefully, if we’re following traditional Godzilla films, he won’t be in the sequel. Fingers crossed!
Though I did like the Asian scientist Dr. Slackjaw (his expression throughout the whole film) and his assistant Dr. Concern. I wanted to know more about them, what’s their story?? I hope they make a return as they can keep on spewing the crazy scientific theory stuff that makes Godzilla films great.
Godzilla does not appear often: This I sort of agreed with but at the same time, many of the films in the franchise also follow this formula. Less is more. At the same time though, I did wish we could have seen more of the big guy, particularly wider shots of him instead of close ups. Godzilla 2000, also a reboot, saw Godzilla a lot, hell, we even saw him near the beginning and I’m not talking just his spines or whatever, the whole thing. This could have been changed if we had at least saw more of the first fight.
Godzilla 2014 was not made by Toho and is not portrayed in a giant rubber suit: This is probably the most stupid complaint to me. Just because Godzilla is not portrayed in costume or his film was not made by Toho doesn’t mean he is not Godzilla. He’s big, he’s reptilian, and he has an atomic breath, boom, that’s Godzilla. Take Batman for example, he has had many incarnations during the 75 years he has been on Earth; some were campy, some were serious, some were down-to-earth, some were not, but all shared the basic understanding of who Batman was. Godzilla is the same way, he has had many forms in the Toho films, he has been represented in comics, video games, tv series, and so forth. They were all Godzilla. And Godzilla 2014 is without a doubt Godzilla and a good one at that too.
Well, this review has gone on long enough so I’m going to wrap it up.
Pros: Godzilla, the MUTOS, the 3rd fight, Bryan Cranston
Cons: Sargent Boring and his family, only glimpses of the first fight, Godzilla theme was not in this movie
Final Godzilla Rating: 4/5. Go see this movie in theaters while you still can even if you’re not a Godzilla fan, it’s well worth your time. The bland characters bring the film down a few notches but this is made up with everything else the film has to offer. Here’s hoping King Ghidorah will be in the next film!!
Also, in the future, I’ll write an article comparing all the Godzilla reboots together (i.e. Godzilla 1985, Godzilla 2000, and Godzilla 2014). What they got right and wrong and how they affected the franchise.