So, after what seemed like forever, director Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla reboot is finally here, and we enjoyed it thoroughly. You might have noticed that it is absolutely crushing the box office this weekend, even earning more than The Amazing Spider-Man 2 during its debut. We’ve been writing about this extensively during the build up, and reviewed the movie before it came out last week, but that’s not nearly enough for a film of this magnitude. So Nick and Brent sat down and traded their thoughts back and forth. Don’t worry, we left out the really inappropriate stuff.
Be warned there are massive SPOILERS beyond this point. Don’t read on unless you’ve seen Godzilla
Brent: I loved this movie, a lot, and I know you really enjoyed it, too, but one thing that really surprised me over the course of the weekend is the hate. A lot of people feel the way we do, but I’ve encountered more people than I expected, both critics and fans, who are totally mad at this movie. I understand not liking it, but there is some intense hatred, for a variety of reasons. Even more so than a movie like Pacific Rim, which also totally divided people.
Nick: Here’s my stance against the “They didn’t show Godzilla enough” argument. This is essentially an origin story, and origin stories tend not to deliver the “hero” right away, letting anticipation build until the third act’s major sequences. It’s set up exactly the same here, but for some reason people were expecting Godzilla to just be front and center without explanation.
Spending a good chunk of time just watching him destroy things and chasing the other monsters could have been spiced up, but there’s no way a Hollywood movie with this kind of budget would just allow its biggest character to start the film off stomping apartment buildings. They think people are too dumb for that. Would it have been awesome? Yes. But was it expected? Not in the least.
Brent: Such a huge part of the tension of the movie is the buildup until we actually see Godzilla. To be honest, they didn’t wait as long as I expected them to. In a movie like this, if you show the creature right away, you immediately show your hand. Part of what Edwards does really well here is that you expect the first monster you see to be the main attraction. There’s so much history here, so much familiarity with Godzilla, that when it turns out to be MUTO that hatches at the nuclear plant site, it’s very much a misdirection move.
Nick: Agreed, but really only for Godzilla fans. If this were an unrelated monster movie, that expectation wouldn’t be there. I really want to see it with my wife, who has never seen any of the films to my knowledge, though it’s impossible for her not to know the legacy. I kept trying to think of it as a completely different movie from everything I knew about Godzilla.
Brent: That’s hard to do. Godzilla is one of those pieces of pop culture that is so ubiquitous that even people who have never seen an actual movie still know who and what he is.
Nick: Yeah. So it’s better that they got into the MUTOs first, to me, because they were the strangers that nobody knew much about. Now, using new monsters rather than appealing to the fan desire to see recognizable villains is a different issue.
Brent: It’s a balance of old and new that I kind of liked. Right from the opening credits, with all of that redacted stuff and the newsreel footage, they tap into the more than half a century of history that this franchise brings with it. And that’s another thing that I think Edwards and company do well, keeping the old and fitting the story into the existing framework, while at the same time trying to put their own stamp on it. In order to satisfy fans, especially after Roland Emmerich’s 1998 version, Godzilla has to look and feel a certain way, but the new creatures allow them to do something completely their own. Even if they do look a little like the bugs from Starship Troopers.