Godzilla has risen from a 16-year slumber, and the big green badass is pissed. You would be too, if your more recent Hollywood incarnation had robbed you of your atomic breath or made you listen to Puff Daddy. Happily, Gareth Edwards’ new take contains no Diddy ditties or Matthew Brodericks. In fact, it pretty much ignores the existence of Roland Emmerich’s disaster, serving instead as a sequel of sorts to the original 1954 classic. Those seeking a nonstop slugfest akin to Pacific Rim
should temper their expectations. The film builds steadily, with Godzilla spending much of the first 90 minutes racing to fight a pair of city-destroying insectoids while humans scramble and scream. This surprising focus on the human element is perhaps the film’s only misstep. Otherwise, Edwards nails the most important aspect of any Godzilla movie: the giant lizard’s scale. For the film’s first half, we see the massive battles from the limited viewpoints of those running through the streets. Only when Godzilla’s road trip finally ends in San Francisco do we get a full-on view of the monsters trading blows—for 40 straight minutes of city-leveling bliss. Godzilla
is an expertly made blockbuster designed to make us realize how small we really are compared to the forces of nature, with the added bonus of a gigantic atomic lizard who barfs fire without being soundtracked by Diddy. It’s good to have the monster back where he belongs: in our good graces.