The films plot centers around Joe Brody, a supervisor at the Janjira Nuclear Plant in Japan and his son Ford. Over a decade after a mysterious earthquake destroyed the plant, Ford travels back to Japan to assist his father who has been trying for years to determine the true cause of the disaster. They come to realize that a cover up has been in place and that the “quarantine zone” around the destroyed plant is really a containment area for a “massive, unidentified, terrestrial organism” which the scientists call a “MUTO”. After the MUTO escapes and a second one emerges thousands of miles away, the military personnel and scientists alike defer to Ishiro Serizawa (played by Ken Watanabe) who is a member of Project Monarch a secretive agency set up in the 1950’s to study Godzilla, a large monster discovered during nuclear testing in the Philippines. Serizawa insists that Godzilla will help them save the world from the monsters and after much convincing the three titans are allowed to fight it out to the death.
The film was a massive success in the overall sense. Similar to the Godzilla films of the 50’s and 60’s, the movie was simply the sudden appearance of two evil monsters and the necessary arrival of Godzilla to preserve balance in the world and destroy them. Godzilla was back to being the “good guy” so to speak and ends up being cheered on by the very humans who were initially trying to destroy him. The ending scenes in which Godzilla actually gets down to brawling with the MUTOs are spectacular. Godzilla looks just like he’s supposed to with the massive stegosaurus-like plates running down his back and the stubby nose and face which look almost canine. His roar has the same pleasing echo as his earlier counterparts and when he leans back and unleashes his radioactive blue fire breath the movie reaches its cinematic, monster movie apex.However, while plot holes and storyline flaws are easily overlooked in the now campy Godzilla films from 50 years ago, they are harder to get past in today’s modern cinema. The plot was very chunky and felt like we jumped from one thing to the next almost as if you could tell when one page of the screenplay ended and the next began. This made the movie feel blocked out and almost episodic, as if it was a miniseries condensed into a feature film. Brian Cranston plays Joe Brody whose character turns out to be a disappointment rather than a strong focal point which I was really hoping for. All in all, I felt happy at the end of the film. I got to see what I wanted which was an accurate portrayal of my favorite movie monster in all his epic glory, destroying the monsters in a heroic battle which looked marvelous with today’s special effects. I just wish the plot and character development was better thought out. I would have loved to know more about Project Monarch and Watanabe’s character Serizawa. But I guess there is always hope for a sequel because as is the case in every true Godzilla movie, the King of the Monsters slowly makes his way back into the deep sea abyss from whence he came waiting until the time he is needed again.