Not a disaster of a disaster movie
Gareth Edwards’ ‘Godzilla’ was facing an uphill struggle from the day it was announced. The iconic Japanese tale has been tinkered with so many times, many fail to excavate the original themes Ishirō Honda's 1954 film did in making the daikaiju a piece of pop culture iconography.
Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson in 'Godzilla'
But with Cranston on board and some shiny new technology adding a modern sheen to the franchise, the critics have found something to love with the latest reboot. Edwards hasn’t created a classic, or even sculpted his own with borrowed tools, but he has manufactured a solid springtime blockbuster while navigating the tricky landscape that comes with a pre-established and firmly embedded lore.
But with that in mind, it’s worth noting that nearly every review is complementary of the film’s general aesthetic, yet those same reviews find serious flaws with the plot and characters. To sum up, this is an unashamed popcorn guzzler, coke-slurping, kids-are-making-noise-but-there’s-nothing-we-can-really-do-about-it-because-we’re-watching-Godzilla type of movie.
“Edwards' film boasts great filmmaking, noble intentions and cracking monster action. Yet it never reconciles its B-movie origins - preposterous premise, clichéd characters - with its solemn, Nolanised tone,” wrote Empire’s Ian Freer. “‘Godzilla’ has technical prowess and computing power that the early efforts could only dream of; but by upping the effects without paying attention to the affect, "Godzilla" gains majesty and loses meaning,” suggests Film.com’s James Rocchi.
The Wrap’s Alonso Duralde is particularly scornful of the lack of character depth. “Director Gareth Edwards (Monsters) gets the money shots right, but neither he nor screenwriter Max Borenstein (working from a story by David Callaham) makes the human characters interesting enough to get us through two mostly Godzilla-free acts,” he says. “While I don't think the film is completely successful, there is so much that's interesting and exciting about it that it feels like a brand new day for Toho's greatest icon,” says Drew McWeeny of HitFix.