Godzilla Movie Review
Godzilla smashes things in Godzilla, a movie where lots of things get smashed. A gorgeously shot action-thriller with seamless visual effects and a penchant for things—buildings, planes, trains and automobiles...and Navy destroyers and people—getting smashed, Godzilla delivers in all the ways it intended and needed to.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson stars as a soldier who finds himself in the middle of a battle between man and monsters who like to smash things, while Elizabeth Olsen shows up occasionally to cry and run from things getting smashed. Bryan Cranston, David Strathairn, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins and Ken Watanabe round out the impressive cast, offering just the right amount of nuance to make Godzilla more than just a movie about smashing things.
Gareth Edwards, working off a screenplay by Max Borenstein, has assembled a surprisingly coherent movie that pieces together the various action sequences into a compelling narrative, while still leaving plenty of time to have things get smashed. While there are a few notable stretches where the monsters that smash things are absent from the movie, the filmmakers do a good job of layering the story and providing logical reasons for Kick-Ass to be at the center of the action regardless of continent or country.
And there is plenty of action. Thanks to stellar visual effects and an almost poetic approach to showing Godzilla battle the other monsters that smash things, Godzilla is lots of fun. While Edwards frustratingly cuts away from the action a few times early on, the climactic battle in San Francisco is a blast. And lots of things get smashed.
Godzilla doesn't feel like it is two hours, but those looking for nothing but smashing may want to temper expectations just a bit. The movie isn't directed by Michael Bay; Edwards likes to hang back a bit more, an approach that looks great but sometimes sacrifices suspense in doing so. Despite the various situations Kick-Ass and to a lesser degree Olsen get into, their lives never truly feel at risk; Edwards needs to learn to stay in the heat of the moment just a little longer to get the audience worked up.
Oh, and the other monsters get a lot more screen time than Godzilla. Just saying.
The score is also all over the place, a minor fault but one that should be noted nonetheless. The music is often terrific, but scene by scene the musical selections do not work together in a cohesive way.
Godzilla is not without a few flaws, but overall it's a fun, exciting and entertaining ride, the first true summer blockbuster of the year. Smash smash smashy smash!
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.