OH NO!! IT'S GODZILLA!! After the last Godzilla film with Matthew Broderick, my hopes for a good Godzilla were pretty much at an all time low. I didn't think that it would be that hard to make a good monster film, and this film showed just that. All it takes is a great storyline with characters you actually care about and monsters based in reality. While the movie has some scenes in Japan, there are no throwbacks to the Japanese people being dubbed with horrible Japanese "accents" screaming at a giant rubber suit.
The acting in this movie was solid, anchored down by Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe's performances. I'm sure it's tough to give a performance of terror to make it look like you are looking at a gigantic monster when there is only a tennis ball in front of you, but they nail it every time. Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen have great chemistry together (I can't wait to see them together again in Avengers: Age of Ultron). Aaron Taylor-Johnson is really coming into his own as an actor; he's probably best known from the Kick-Ass movies and has gone from a neurotic "superhero" to being a soldier in this film in one convincing switch. I would have liked to have seen maybe a bit more from Olsen, but they sort of stuck her in a role that didn't really lend to much emotional development other than being the wife who stays behind.
The directing by Gareth Edwards was well-done. Directing live-action with 3 monsters dueling can be difficult. The emotions he was able to pull out of these people was superb, especially in the first act of the movie. While they are all fantastic actors, we've seen great actors fall flat before. I don't know exactly how he was able to get such a great performance out of Godzilla itself, but WOW! In all seriousness, the special effects that went into creating Godzilla, let alone the other monsters, are spectacular. The first time we see Godzilla in all his glory almost earned a standing ovation. We also see some emotions coming from the big guy himself, which lends another layer of depth to an otherwise mindless beast.
This is a monster movie that didn't feel like a monster movie. There were so many other layers put on top of it that. While we didn't even see Godzilla for a good portion of the movie, the audience was captivated by the human actors that actually have a great story line.
Okay, now that the more technical critiques are out of the way, let me geek out for just a bit. GODZILLA, THE MONSTER, WAS AWESOME!! The monsters he fights are awesome, and you can tell there was research put behind the thought process of the monsters he fights. You get classic Godzilla moments, the fire breath, the screams, the tail whips and just an all-around beast of a monster. He's the king of the monsters after all"”why not treat him as such. Unlike the last big Godzilla film, he doesn't look like some glorified iguana. He looks like the old school version but better. A lot better.
I saw this in 3D IMAX. Don't worry about seeing it in 3D. It was alright, but it didn't add anything to the film itself. I will say to rush out and see it in IMAX. This movie was made for the IMAX. Godzilla was made for the IMAX. While the movie was just a smidge over 2 hours, it didn't feel like a 2 hour long movie. Why are you still here? Go watch GODZILLA!! But leave at the credits. Sadly, there's nothing at the end.