This new Gareth Edwards helmed Godzilla is a wonderfully giddy experience.
When I take the time to look back on the "blockbuster" over the last fifteen years, I see only a slight few successful films that have attempted big CG effects. And a whole lot of just garbage attempts. It's obviously difficult to make it all look good all of the time. So when you know you don't have the time or budget perhaps the best thing to do is keep it small. Something that Godzilla, even with its budget and expectations, masterfully accomplishes. I mean, Godzilla himself probably doesn't even show up for the first time until 45 minutes in. But I didn't care, because I was so enthralled in Bryan Cranston's mad chase for the truth.
But no matter what I feel about that, I keep coming back to the realization that the lack of monster fights didn't really effect the film in a negative way for me. I've actually already managed to see it twice, and in some ways it helped me enjoy the film more the second time by recognizing that at heart it was a story about people... and their effect on the world. Action. And reaction. The monsters are only a response to our own growth.
Bryan Cranston is of course wonderful to watch, but be aware, this is NOT his movie... he only plays a part in it. Aaron Taylor-Johnson does a fine job taking the reigns. He's not my ideal Godzilla hero, yet somehow by the end I was practically a hundred percent on his side. Elizabeth Olsen didn't get enough to play with, but she still managed to fill her limited role with an amazing honesty. She has proven to me in a very short time that she has all the chops to be a star for a long long time. Juliette Binoche was also wonderful to watch. But then the one two punch comes in... Ken Watanabe and David Strathairn! These guys are absolute pros and always so interesting to watch. I'm just glad they made it into the film because they brought a vibrancy to a B story (with A intentions) that I don't believe would have been at all interesting without such fine performers filling those roles.