Shin Godzilla

Shin Godzilla ★★★

Godzilla, as both a film franchise and a prehistoric fire-breathing sea monster, has always been defined by its ability to evolve. Originally conceived for the 1954 Ishirō Honda classic that bore his name and first introduced him to the world, Godzilla is the king of the kaiju and the most durable of all movie monsters because — by feeding on nuclear energy — it essentially feeds on human folly, itself. If there’s a more renewable resource, scientists have yet to discover it.

It would be 300-foot-tall understatement to say that some of the Godzilla movies have failed to capitalize on their star’s unique allegorical power (or was Mechagodzilla a poignant metaphor for the perils of worshipping false idols?), but the roaring reptile has never lost its power as a symbol of divine retribution, ready to be reborn for whatever new crisis we’ve managed to engineer for ourselves. It’s been 12 years since the last Japanese-produced Godzilla movie (though Gareth Edwards used the creature as the foundation for an elegant 2014 blockbuster about mankind’s outsized sense of planetary stewardship), a span that, in hindsight, feels like a most ominous lull. When the Great East Japan Earthquake struck off the coast of Tōhoku on March 11th, 2011, triggering a meltdown in three different reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, it was only a matter of time before Godzilla awoke from his (its?) slumber and waddled towards the shore.


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