Shin Godzilla

Shin Godzilla ★★★★★

Godzilla and Friends Marathon: 46 of 46

The Godzilla franchise has had a number of soft reboots that discard all previous continuity with the exception of the 1954 original. Shin Godzilla, on the other hand, is the first Toho produced sequel to go back to the drawing board and completely reinvent Godzilla. Unlike the original, which channeled the post war frustrations of a nation that had felt the devastating effects of the atomic bomb firsthand, Shin Godzilla is inspired by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, and subsequent tsunami, that caused it. The primary focus of its thematic payload appears to be the ineffectuality of Japanese government bureaucracy when it comes to efficient crisis response, due to unnecessary redundancies and overly complex internal systems.

Co-directed by Hideaki Anno, creator of the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Shinji Higuchi, a special effects supervisor known for his work on the 90s Gamera trilogy, this film manages to transcend its B-movie origins. It has more in common with slow burn disaster films, such as Apollo 13 and The Andromeda Strain, than the over-the-top comic book aesthetic that the franchise is known for. As for Godzilla himself, this is not your grandpappy's Godzilla. The product of toxic waste dumping, rather than atomic testing, this Godzilla is initially unrecognizable. It possesses the ability to spontaneously evolve and is shown in multiple forms. While I would hesitate to label it a horror film, Godzilla's design is the stuff of nightmares. His demonic visage is a far cry from that of the original Godzilla, which seems cute by comparison. If any one film truly succeeds in making Godzilla terrifying, it's this one. Stomping Tokyo into a pile of irradiated dust feels like a mere warm up for this Godzilla. He represents a threat to all of humanity. He is the destroyer of worlds.

If you're not opposed to the idea of a more serious Godzilla film, filled with boardroom meetings and problem solving sessions, this film will reward you with some of the most beautifully filmed scenes of Godzilla-induced devastation you've ever seen. I will always love the goofy B-movie antics this franchise is known for, but this is on another level. It's a masterpiece.

And, with that, the Godzilla and Friends Marathon is complete.

A ranked list can be found here

While this marathon is complete, I will still be reviewing the two American films, as well as the anime trilogy. However, I won't be adding any of those to the ranked list. I also have several non-Godzilla kaiju films lined up, so keep an eye out for those if you're interested.

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