The only thing that could be more amazing than Godzilla’s timeless legacy is that Gareth Edwards was given the opportunity to direct a multi-million dollar modernized take on the creature. Seriously, let’s all take a moment and realize how crazy and ambitious the producers had to be to invest so much trust into a filmmaker who doesn’t have a whole lot of feature film experience. Those chancy attitudes have paid off big time with Godzilla.
Edwards’ disaster flick is far from being a disaster. It’s actually a keenly assembled, exhilarating, well made B-movie. As much as “B-movie” may make it seem like I’m knocking the blockbuster down a few pegs, it shouldn’t lower anyone’s perceptions or expectations of the film.
The filmmaker and the minds who have helped build this latest Godzilla movie have an undeniable love for the monster and the battles that take effect when Godzilla is faced with another unfathomable beast. They also have a clear understanding of how mawkish exposition can get to be in an action film such as this.
What they’ve done is taken all that knowledge and adoration and paid tribute to it in a way that isn’t submerged in homaging camp. Edwards refrains from jabbing his elbow into our sides or tapping our shoulders to geek out, and lets the audience figure out the sharp intentions for themselves. It doesn’t take long. I believe I caught on during an early climactic moment where a traumatizing event happens in an unescapable tunnel.
From then on, the film becomes completely enthralling and satisfying with every beat. The refusal to treat Godzilla as a giant corn-fest filled with winks and nods has given Edwards the freedom to also make a film that could stand alone on its own achievements. The acting is exceptional from everyone involved and their reactions to cataclysmic situations make this entertainment entirely convincing.
The film is wonderfully pieced together using a large number of great special effects and thrilling cinematography. There’s a constant sense of doom and the technical backbone Edwards has helped design demonstrates the uncertainty and danger further.
Some of the uniqueness subsequently does lose its way during a climactic fight where buildings are torn down and fantastical barbarians go at one another. It feels as if Edwards takes a break and accepts average blockbuster familiarities. This fleeting flaw takes explanations that had us immersed and turns them into commercial breaks amidst the Superbowl between Godzilla and a baddie.
Godzilla does come back around and delivers wholeness that’s a pleasing spectacle. It turns back into that movie you were so surprised and riveted with before.
I think Gareth Edwards has done an outstanding job with Godzilla. And, he’s shown what he’s capable of when given a rightful amount of leeway with a topic he’s infatuated with. Lesson to Hollywood: don’t be afraid to bet on the little guy. In the case of Gareth Edwards, he’s shown that indie filmmakers can pack more action gusto and interesting character development at the same level as – if not better than – a director who’s used to making these types of movies. Those big name action filmmakers will be shaking in their boots from Godzilla for a few reasons.