Battlestar Godzilla

In terms of broad categories, I do not now nor will I ever like “Godzilla is evil and must be destroyed”-style Godzilla movies nearly as much as “Godzilla is chill af and basically humanity’s bro, oh no, look at that other monster I hope Godzilla will stop him” ones. There are some exceptions (Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla is possibly my favorite Godzilla movie and definitely one of my favorite movies of all time, and I fucking love The Return of Godzilla), but it just feels like the least interesting direction these movies can go. And even though I really enjoyed both, I am so disheartened that Shin Godzilla and this have both chosen to go in that direction, because I just want some new bro Godzilla movies in my life and I don’t know if that’s going to happen anytime soon.

Yes, it does seem like Legendary Pictures’ movies are trending slightly more in that direction, but it’s not the same and I really want to see Toho do some unabashedly pro-Godzilla movies again. No matter how much I like the current run of American movies–or the one we’ve gotten so far–it’s just not the same. I left the theater grinning after Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, but that pales in comparison to the excitement I felt at the mere announcement that Toho was making more Godzilla movies, and the joy I felt at the first dialogue-less trailer for Shin Godzilla.

Anyway, as far as “evil Godzilla” movies go, this was honestly one of the most egregious. And that’s where my only real complaint about the film comes from, but it’s honestly a pretty big one. Godzilla had basically no personality in this, and if the human characters were less interesting that would be so damning that it would’ve swung my opinion all the way from “I really liked this” to “this kinda sucked.” Even when Godzilla is “the bad guy,” he’s just not Godzilla when he doesn’t have an excess of personality. Godzilla doesn’t always have to be the most interesting character in a Godzilla movie (though I really do prefer when he is), but he at least has to be a character. The fact that this movie was able to overcome this serious flaw is a testament to how well it did other things, but just don’t put yourself in that position in the first place, okay?

Really petty complaint. but: the whole mechanism of Godzilla being basically invincible is a great idea, but the idea of him having a “shield” was just super unwieldy and unnecessary. I know silly, convoluted stuff like that is nothing new for kaiju films, and I don’t normally complain about it for that reason, but there were way easier ways to achieve basically the same result already in the narrative of the film. Like, we find out that Godzilla is basically immortal, having survived for nearly 20,000 years (which the humans experienced as just over 20 years because of the relativistic nature of near-lightspeed travel, which is always a nice detail for scifi movies to include). You could just go with that. Or you could go with the fact that they tried nuking Godzilla, and nuclear energy literally makes him stronger.

One thing this did really have going for it, though, was that in other ways it didn’t entirely shy away from the “weirder” elements of the earlier films. It had aliens (even in what looked kind of like flying saucers in the flashback) and whatnot. But it also leaned into an almost Battlestar Galactica (the 2000s reboot one) vibe at times, which I’m not really sure is the best tone for this particular franchise, but I can dig it when it’s done well and yeah, it was done pretty damn well here. I’m not going to penalize it just for not being what I, specifically, want.

I do appreciate that defeating Godzilla was portrayed as basically impossible, and (mild spoilers but I’m not going to be specific) even though our protagonists did finally manage to do so while taking major losses in the process, they still got the rug pulled out from under them resulting in an ending that probably satisfied absolutely no one but my Godzilla-worshiping ass. (Yes, I will always root for Godzilla over humanity when he’s depicted as being in conflict with them. Sorry not sorry.)

I guess I can tl;dr this by saying this was actually a really great execution of what I consider to be a really not great concept, please don’t do it again. I didn’t hate the sequel hook after the credits, either, but please for the love of Godzilla give the big guy more personality next time.

(… I’m totally saying “for the love of Godzilla” from now on, why the fuck did that never occur to me until just now.)



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