Shin Godzilla | Full Review
Updated: Oct 25, 2020
So the movie starts with a Cloverfield like feel (handheld camcorder) onboard what appears to be a yacht which has been abandoned. A mysterious water disturbance has sprung up in a Japanese bay which is causing a media stir and consequently collapses an underwater transit tunnel. The government then proceeds to devise a response to the unknown phenomenon which soon thereafter makes itself unmistakably known. The movie definitely attempts to touch more into the real world internal political workings of the Japanese government and furthermore later the geopolitical response to a situation such as Godzilla.
The story behind this incarnation of Godzilla is that he was a prehistoric marine creature that mutated by the unregulated dumping of nuclear waste post World War 2 off the coast of Japan. Godzilla fans will be torn at the first appearance of the monster in the movie since it is in the early stages of its mutated evolution. The iconic kaiju appears to be more a cross between a lung fish and a salamander than the typical Godzilla image. After a destructive stroll through the Japanese mainland the amphibian titan goes into a sleep like state where it soon begins to evolve into the next stage of its development and more resembles the Godzilla look. The monster then soon after retreats into the bay where he later resurfaces into a fully evolved Godzilla. The monsters new look definitely scream the influences of the co-directors Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi who both worked on the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Upon Godzilla's fully evolved emergence he make his way straight to Tokyo where he is met by Japanese and finally US conventional military forces. After being struck by high yield US dropped bombs Godzilla responds with his ultimate weapon. For Godzilla fans this would be the most destructive variation of his breath weapon to date as it pretty much destroys much of Tokyo with one use. Fans will also be taken by surprise as Godzilla appears to have been given new energy type weapons which project from his dorsal fins and tail. Upon use of the highly destructive weapons Godzilla is forced to go into a hibernation-like state to recover.
Eventually the governments of the world decide the only way to deal with Godzilla is with a US-led coalition to attack Godzilla with a nuclear strike. Japan having much to lose by this approach try to come up with their own strategy before the strike deadline to deep freeze the creature with a blood coagulation concoction. In the end the creature is temporarily stopped and we are led to believe the plan to deal with Godzilla going forward is a co-existence (if that even seems possible). As a Godzilla fan there are a couple of things about the movie I wasn't completely sold on. My first issue is with the hibernation period that results after the use of his breath weapon. This has always been Godzilla's primary weapon without risk of self immobilization. If I had the choice to use a weapon and be immobilized afterwards for a span time in the case of this movie was 2 weeks I would not be too willing to use that weapon. Secondly is the emitting of radar guided lasers from every possible rigid angle on Godzilla's body. This seemed a little ridiculous and seemed to stray very far from any powers he had ever previously possessed in past movies. Was this movie entertaining yes but I feel some die hard Godzilla fans will have some issues with certain aspects of the monster. For new viewers though a creative spin was definitely placed on Godzilla and breathed some much needed life into this franchise.