Godzilla has had a rocky cinematic past. The first films were great for what they were, but no matter what, the series was always known for its rubber-suited cheesiness. Godzilla then took on a whole new form of bad when Matthew Brodrick participated in the 1998 American hit, Godzilla, where a nondescript lizard monster destroyed New York City. Now, years later, the world wants to finally clear Godzilla's name, and this movie is good enough to redeem the monstrous creature...kind of.
Bryan Cranston owned the acting in this film, which shouldn't surprise anyone who's seen this man's acting chops in Breaking Bad. (The only good actor in the movie, unfortunately)The disasters brought on by monsters seemed truly devastating to humankind, which is something often ignored in movies where mass-destruction takes place. The past few summers have been filled with movies that annihilate entire cities, with little reverence given to the thousands upon thousands of people who would have lost their lives in the destruction. *cough* Man of Steel *cough* *cough* Star Trek 2 *cough* Cranston's acting proved that humans do indeed have something to lose when a monster, or Mutoh, trashes a city, which is where this movie shines. Godzilla wasn't necessarily a movie about a monster destroying a city, or even a monster fighting other monsters, it was about how the human lives in the film were affected by the radioactive dinosaur. While this added an interesting element to the film, it also hurt it a good bit.
This movie is definitely a step up for the Godzilla universe, however, they went a little too far. The sound mixing and music in the film was phenomenal, amping us up for a dramatic crescendo that would never come. In fact, there's suspense and some action sprinkled throughout the film, but the action scenes you really want don't come until the very end. Godzilla feels like two different movies, with the first half full of emotion and promise. The second half, however, falls all over itself, taking an interesting plot and closing it up in an bafflingly bad and almost lazy way. Overall, the movie was incredibly slow-moving in a way that's not really flattering to the type of movie that a giant Godzilla monster demands. By the time the chaotic action takes place, you're ready to go home.
I wanted this movie to be the end-all for Godzilla films, and since there's a sequel already on the way, maybe there is hope. It just seems like that the creators wanted to make a better Godzilla so bad, they took the drama so far with suspense that goes on for too long. The sound design and the soundtrack was incredible, but it wasn't enough to keep you on the edge of your seat the entire film. Maybe all of the downtime would have been great if they actually focused more on character development. Again, it's a good start, it just wasn't good enough.