REVIEW: Godzilla (2014)

Theatrical Release Poster – Warner Bros. Pictures

The following is a spoiler-filled review of Godzilla — Directed by Gareth Edwards.

Not long ago, I watched Gareth Edwards’ Monsters for the first time, and that was a perfectly fine independent movie. Now, in 2014, four years after his indie-monster-flick was released, he has been given the opportunity to recapture the spirit of the former movie, with more money, an iconic franchise, an iconic kaiju, and a guaranteed audience. Sadly, I cannot quite say that his film works as well as it should.

At the heart of Edwards’ Godzilla 2014, we were told that family was set up to be. However, instead, there is darkness and depression. Characters are not as important to the plot as the marketing made it seem. The iconic eponymous monster is merely glanced at for the majority of the film and its screentime is incredibly frustrating. Gareth Edwards gives us a nice payoff, but his film toys too much with its audience, which came to the theater hoping to see the title character. Edwards mismanages the balance between the human and kaiju-characters.

The film frustratingly cuts away from the action to an overabundance of reaction-shots, most of which feature the incredibly watchable Ken Watanabe. Watanabe frustratingly isn’t given a lot to work with here. I can’t quite say that this is a lost cause, though. The film features these incredible shots, and, for a little while, the film truly had me in its claws.

I’ve heard Bryan Cranston, who was wasted in this film, liked the tone of Godzilla 2014. Now, I did, as well, that is until the monsters started going at it. The movie changes drastically when it started to focus on the MUTOs and Godzilla, and the film was unable to regain my trust or confidence.

Instead, it left me wanting much, much more of Bryan Cranston. I expected more from the relationship between Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson. These three actors work hard in this movie, and, to a certain extent, they are all perfectly fine. I’d even go as far as to say that Bryan Cranston steals every scene he is in, and, when he leaves the film, you feel him missing.

In the end, I was left with a movie that was top-heavy. The best parts of the movie are focused on the late 90s, when Cranston is a sane, working man, and when Godzilla 2014 stopped telling that story, or focusing on that character, I stopped being emotionally invested in a film that frustrated me more than its spectacle excited me.

6 out of 10