Sorry, but I can't adequately talk about this movie with spoiling some things, so if you haven't seen this film yet, come back to this post later.
Alright, here we go.
The short version of it is this movie is a throwback to the classic 1960's Godzilla films by Toho. I mean that will all respect and reverence, since I absolutely LOVE those movies. Yes, they are cheesy, but that's part of the fun. While this film is more serious in tone, it still knows where it came from, and that is what makes it cool.
Here is what I liked:
- Godzilla doesn't appear until late in the movie.
- While most people find this to be a bad thing, I'm glad that they reigned in the Big G for this. Not only is it more like the original movies, but it builds the tension as to whether he will show up in time. Plus, it gives us that great reveal at the airport, where the camera just keeps going up and you realize just how huge he is.
- Godzilla is the hero!
- That's right! The heroic, kick other monsters' asses Godzilla is back! For as long as I can remember, I've thought of Godzilla as a hero. Part of that is from the cartoon, but mostly it is from the movies. It's nice to see him back in that role, since that means I can cheer for him.
- Godzilla looks and sounds like he should.
- No, he's not a guy in a suit, but the proportions are such that he could be. There is a weight to Godzilla that makes him believable, and it's still the classic look. Not to mention that the classic roar is there. Subtle, yes, but it's there.
- Godzilla fights like he should.
- Yes, this version is more animal like, but he still fights upright, throwing punches and tail whips around. The best one, though, was when the female Muto is on the ground and we get a good, old fashioned Godzilla Neck Stomp!
- Two words. Radioactive Breath!
- I nearly jumped up from my seat when I saw this the first time. The tail spikes started to glow and my thought was, "No. They can't be." But they did. They gave me a geekout that I haven't experienced since the end of "Day of the Doctor". (BTW, don't click the link unless you've seen that all the way through.)
- The family story with Ford
- This is a nice story arc to the movie, and works to draw the audience in. Bryan Cranston's performance was outstanding, especially in the very beginning. The scenes at the reactor were an unexpected punch in the gut, and he handled those very well.
- The happy ending
- Yup, we get a happy ending in a monster movie. Probably very unexpected to those not familiar with old school Godzilla.
And here is what I wasn't too crazy about:
- The news coverage at the end.
- While the "King of the Monsters" tag was a nice treat, I do have a problem with everyone in San Francisco thinking of Godzilla as a hero. He did kill a huge bunch of people in Hawaii, and the amount of destruction, while not in the Man of Steel category, is still massive.
- Aaron Taylor-Johnson's portrayal of a military man
- Don't get me wrong, I think he did a great job as a concerned husband/father/son, I just didn't buy him as military. There was something off about his bearing, especially around superior officers.
Overall, I loved this movie, warts and all. If you are any fan of Godzilla from the olden days, you will be pleased. I just hope the sequel (now green lit) maintains the same feel as this one.