fatpie42’s review published on Letterboxd:
Best thing: The Godzilla sequences are fantastic. Godzilla fires lazers from his back now?
Worst thing: The characters aren't really the focus. We are simply introduced to all of the officials in charge of handling a crisis, but not in an interesting personal way like in Eye In The Sky. There's certainly no romantic subplot like in the original 50s Gojira movie.
Do we need a Japanese Godzilla reboot? Well, no. Godzilla is a classic. But do we want one? Sure! Bring it on. With so many Godzilla movies already, mostly with a fairly low budget and/or trashy, there's always room for a Godzilla movie that looks as polished as Shin Godzilla to add to the pile.
For all the criticisms I might level at this film, I will say right now, it is way better than the American movie. Gareth Edwards, I love your work, and you had a lot of ambitious sequences that the Japanese were not trying to match here. But with that being said, there are effects sequences here that are astounding and the plot is much more engaging.
You might not think this is going to be the one with the better effects when Godzilla first turns up. Godzilla initially looks very weird, but there is a good reason for this. Stick with it, because eventually you will see the Godzilla we know and love. And as the plot unfolds we get some absolutely amazing confrontations between Godzilla and the military.
It has been noted that all Godzilla does it move, but frankly that's all Godzilla ever did. Godzilla doesn't eat people. Godzilla just walks around and causes havoc. And it's no surprising to hear that Godzilla's source of energy is nuclear fission. He's like a 20th century dragon. A fire breathing reptile that can easily fend off the might of a modern army.
The new take on Godzilla explored here parallels the reactor leaks that Japan had to deal with. We see Godzilla from the perspective of the government countering a disaster.
Every figure involved in the process and the bureaucratic red tape inevitably involved is all shown in, frankly, way too much detail. I started trying to ignore the titles of the various figures in order to have a hope in hell of keeping up with the subtitles of actual speech.
One awkward thing is that the main English speaking character, playing the American ambassador who happens to be Japanese herself, is clearly an actress who has Japanese, not English, as her first language. For the Japanese audience, there isn't much issue here, but I whenever she is speaking English I felt I would still be better off with subtitles.
Instead of a relationships as in the first movie, we have Japanese politicians making career plans. It's nice to have a change but it's a very different sort of drama.
I still prefer the original Gojira but Shin Godzilla is definitely one of the better Godzilla movies and if you are monster movie fan you shouldn't miss it.
My review is here: