Vince East’s review published on Letterboxd:
When I first saw the trailer earlier this year, I had zero interest in it. I had never seen a single Godzilla movie at that point and if I saw this film back then, I’d probably write it off as a forgettable giant monster fest like Pacific Rim Uprising. However, watching it now after a two month marathon of the longest continuously running movie franchise ever (35 films & a handful of related kaiju flicks), I ended up having a great time with a movie that felt like it was made just for the fans. I’ve really grown to love these monsters, especially Godzilla, Ghidorah and my personal favorite, Mothra so this movie was the ultimate wish fulfillment. I’ve also become numb to the dull board meetings, outlandish plots, and uninteresting characters that plague the majority of these cheesy B-movie Toho films, making my problems with the film less detrimental to my overall enjoyment.
I want to save the best for last this time and get the negatives out of the way first. I didn’t care for any of the humans. The cast was promising but there just wasn’t much to their characters to make them likeable or stand out, except for Ken Watanabe who I’ll talk about later. Millie Bobby Brown was mostly “girl in distress”, Kyle Chandler was complaining most of the time and Vera Farmiga was just straight up unlikable. Her grand “reveal” was very poorly done, but the concept itself is actually a common idea in many Godzilla movies. The first trailer for this movie is actually just her spelling out her master plan and I think most people loved that trailer. The problem was the execution and the fact that it just didn’t seem to fit her character; it would’ve been more easily digestible coming from a villainous Thanos-type instead of a seemingly normal mother figure. Also, I don’t know what Bradley Whitford was doing but it got zero laughs from my theater. While I wouldn’t normally be so forgiving of lackluster characters and cheesy plots, in this way it’s very much like a Hollywood version of those older Toho films and believe it or not, it’s actually one of the most interesting in the franchise when it comes to the human stuff.
Now on to what really matters, the monsters. Godzilla was awesome. King Ghidorah looked amazing. Mothra was beautiful. I’ve never been a huge Rodan fan but he actually had some really cool moments as well. Watching my favorite monsters duke it out with some of the best modern visual effects was a joy to watch and I had a huge smile on my face the entire time. If that wasn’t enough, I was geeking out at the inclusion of of the OG score, especially when Godzilla rises out of the water and when they play Mothra’s theme. There are also a whole bunch of other kaiju and easter eggs scattered throughout the film and end credits that serve as great nods for diehard fans. I loved the expansion of Godzilla’s mythology with the underwater sequence and Watanabe’s journey as Serizawa was a great flip of what he did in the 1954 original. It was beautiful to see a tender moment with Godzilla that’s usually reserved for King Kong movies. I could probably go on forever listing all of the things I loved like Mothra’s bond with Godzilla, Ghidorah’s awesome new abilities, and the various stunningly gorgeous shots that I can’t wait to screenshot and use as wallpapers. I would have liked the film even more if they didn’t keep cutting away from some of the best monster fights to focus on Kyle Chandler running around in the rain. Also, it was dark and stormy, so visibility could have been better. Overall, it’s a mixed bag like most Godzilla movies, but my immense enjoyment of the monster action far outweighed my annoyance with its flaws.