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In this gritty, realistic sci-fi action epic, Godzilla returns to its roots as one of the world's most recognized monsters. Directed by Gareth Edwards and featuring an all-star international cast, this spectacular adventure pits Godzilla against malevolent creatures that, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.
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Fortunately, the new reboot of Godzilla from Gareth Edwards is a proper Godzilla through and through. This is the return of the true Godzilla, who I spent a good sized chunk of my childhood obsessing over. There's been some criticism that this film supposedly did not have enough Godzilla in it, but my counterargument is that the film is paced just like the classic Toho films. In the old films, Godzilla usually showed up about half-way through, and most of the films would be shown from the perspective of human characters-- in a 90 minute Godzilla film, you'd typically only have a few minutes of Godzilla himself, but that is part of what made his character seem so much larger than life.
I gotta say, seeing Godzilla in all his glory again for that first moment, and hearing the booming, updated version of his iconic roar brought a tear to my eye. Godzilla was one of my childhood heroes, and with the new visual effects making him look more real than ever, the experience was almost like seeing Superman or even Jesus in a movie for the first time. If for nothing else, I have to give this movie 5 stars for that.
This serves as Legendary Pictures' first entry in its MonsterVerse shared cinematic universe. It is not connected to previous Godzilla films, though Ken Watanabe's character, Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, draws his name from Ishiro Honda, director of multiple Godzilla films, and Dr. Daisuke Serizawa, the character that killed Godzilla in the original 1954 film. Those who enjoy this and want to follow the cinematic universe should watch "Kong: Skull Island," which serves as a prequel of sorts and focuses on Monarch in the 1970s. The next film following this will be "Godzilla: King of the Monsters" in 2019 in which Godzilla will fight Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah. Then, in 2020, Godzilla will fight King Kong in "Godzilla vs. Kong". This is appropriate for the third film as Godzilla and King Kong fought in the third ever Godzilla film, 1962's "King Kong vs. Godzilla".
Unlike other Godzilla films, this one does not have much social commentary. At times, the characters are a little weak and serve to help move the plot along rather than develop as people for the viewer to root for. Despite this, the film is grand and sweeping, of a scale the King of Monsters deserves. Legendary's design for "Godzilla" honors the character's history while subtly altering it for the world they portray. Fans of the previous Godzilla films will find plenty to enjoy and this is also a good place for beginners to explore the character.