Godzilla (Gareth Edwards, 2014)

Priding itself more on general immensity than long-lasting importance, Gareth Edwards’ take on the King of All Monsters one-ups the widely panned late-’90s with ease if only to basally succeed everywhere else. Following the catastrophic “meltdown” of a Japanese power plant, American engineer Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) finds himself obsessing over the possibility of a government cover-up operation – one that’s concealed the anomalous truth behind the tragedy. As his erratic behavior prompts the concern of EOD tech son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), the latter’s impromptu visit goes increasingly awry as he finds himself smack in the middle of humanity and the titular beast’s battle against newly-hatched, radioactive monstrosities.

At the risk of being partially hazed, I feel that Godzilla is as much a needless reboot as it is an admirably, moreover passionately executed one. Following his remarkable debut feature, to witness Edwards’ gusto with something this intendedly big-budgeted is quite the treat. While alternately hokey and stilted, the script’s dialogue doesn’t hold a candle to the deliberate structuring and detail-heavy exposition. Even despite the familiarity of conflict – from a predictable means of dispatching the monsters to the obviously homage-esque – the film touches all of its bases and remains suspenseful amid technical proficiency.

Having said this, let it be known that Godzilla is still nowhere near a contemporary effects-laden masterpiece. Palpably thriving in the realm of effective, dread-heavy atmosphere, the proceedings still don’t amount to much. There are simply too many mildly intelligent if rote realizations among key players, more specifically ones that do nothing but perpetuate a near-overlong experience that ends as you’d expect it to. Even the individuals themselves are too stock to care for, which is a shame given Monsters‘ rivaling competence, however they serve their purposes well enough.

Appropriately grand in scale instead of scope, Godzilla is exactly what fans of the iconic monster should expect. Having not familiarized myself with the franchise’s legacy – barring the aforementioned Emmerich abortion of course – my inclination to be overly critical overtook my would-be casual viewing experience. As it thoroughly prides itself on atmospheric and visceral poise coinciding with large-scale, wanton destruction, Gareth Edwards’ update noticeably fails in the realm of well-rounded dynamism. It’s serviceable entertainment for entertainment’s sake, sure, however it assuredly is what it is and expecting more is ill-advised.

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