Godzilla delivers the goods with flaws that you’d come to expect from a typical blockbuster film – cliched characters, laughable screenplay – but reduces its title character into a bit player which doesn’t make it much of a reboot at all.

The world’s most revered monster is reborn in a powerful story of human courage and reconciliation in the face of titanic forces of nature, when the awe-inspiring Godzilla rises to restore balance as humanity stands defenseless. [Warner Bros. Pictures]

The beginning of the film is promising. The government’s secret nuclear shenanigans is 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. Godzilla is also given a Nolan-esque treatment – 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 get in the way. The attempt for realism evaporated with some stupid plot points.

The M.U.T.O looked like a spawn from 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 becomes Dr. exposition and have this deer-in-the-headlights with mouth agape expression fixed to his face. They and the rest of the cast are forgettable.

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.

Godzilla does deliver the goods and the last twenty minutes is bad ass. The visuals are reminiscent of Jurassic Park, Close Encounters and Cloverfield. The atmosphere is foreboding and tense. The long build-up does give it more kick but overall, the film is just a dull stretch to the money shots.

Lack of character development is expected in blockbuster movies but here you have no one to root for. Even Godzilla is just a bit player. You can just skip to the money shots and action scenes and it wouldn’t make a difference. He gets a sympathetic ending that would make geek fans cry, but its too little too late.

Godzilla has historical connotations and a topic that is still relevant today, but its reduced to a typical blockbuster film that turned its well known character to a prop. This film should have just been named as the Invasion of Love-struck Giant Bugs.

My Rating: 6/10

Fan Art by Harijs Grundmanis

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