good, but lacks some things
I remember looking for news on any new Godzilla movies several years ago, and finding a bit of this, or that, or something else, but not much of anything that seemed really solid, or that I hoped was solid. For example, one thing I found mentioned that the man behind the comically bad Godzilla vs Hedorah (The Smog Monster) was going to make the next movie. If I remember right, it would be set in the South American rain forest, would involve a Hedorah-like polluting monster which Godzilla would battle, and Godzilla would get the beat down put on him but would be saved by a bunch of kids praying to him, I guess because in this movie the big guy would be some kind of rain forest guardian spirit or something.
Yeah, it was something like that. Glad that one didn't happen.
The previews and build-up to this Godzilla gave me some hope that this would be a good movie. The people behind it seemed to be taking it seriously, not relying on the kinds of cheap humor and gimmicks that wrecked the '98 Godzilla takes Manhattan movie. And I have to give them credit for largely succeeding.
By and large, most of the pitfalls of the '98 movie are avoided. The story has it share of clichés, but overall plays things pretty straight. Godzilla in this movie is big and tough, the MUTOs are good "bad guys" who appear angular, insectile, and alien. The human drama is predictable but not badly so.
Still, the movie lacked something.
I think it could best be summed up in the scenes building up to the big reveal of Godzilla himself. He's followed one of the MUTOs to Hawaii, both have come on land, and have just started to face each other. We've had some good views of the MUTO, and now we get finally see the big hero himself, and he is impressive! He crouches, and the roar he gives is enough like the old Godzilla roar to be recognizable, but still very different, too. This is what we have been waiting for, it's time to some major kaiju fighting!
Then...we cut away, and the only things we see of this fight are on a newscast the son of the movie's two man protagonists is watching, a couple of brief seconds.
Even in the last part of the movie, beginning with the much-anticipated halo jump, the movie focuses more on the soldier's attempts to reacquire, failure to disarm, and then move the nuclear device as far from the city as possible, then it does on the monsters fighting. We get some good scenes of Godzilla putting the beat down on the giant female MUTO, then the two MUTOs double-teaming him and getting the upper hand, before the tables are turned and, in pretty spectacular fashion, Godzilla takes care of both of his kaiju enemies.
But all of that still feels secondary to what the soldiers are doing, instead of the other way around. The final giant monster fight is good, but it's far too brief, and never really seems to be the main source of drama for the movie. Recovering and removing the bomb is the main source of drama and tension, not whether Godzilla will win or not.
So, in my opinion, this movie is good, but not as good as I wished it had been. There's so much good in this movie, that it seems nit-picky to focus on the bad, but the bad is there, and even if it doesn't spoil the movie overall, it still takes away from it just a bit, just enough.
I hope this movie signals the start of a new series of Godzilla movies. That would be very good. After seeing what they did to Godzilla in this movie, I can't help but anticipate what they might do with some of the other regulars, like Mothra, Rodan, Ghidorah, Anguires, or Gigan.