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Latest Review

Godzilla (2014)

Reviewed on May 16, 2024, one decade after release

It has been ten years since Legendary kickstarted what has come to be known as the Monsterverse. In 2014, director Gareth Edwards gave us the second American reimagining of the classic Toho kaiju series. Many were excited and nervous from the lingering campiness and misfire of Hollywood's Godzilla (1998). At the time, critics' reviews were fairly positive, and audiences, seemingly more critical, were also alive with positive buzz. At that time, Godzilla's seemingly low screen time was the most common complaint, highlighting another shortcoming; underdeveloped characters. Grossing $529 million at the box office, it was a big success for Legendary and Toho and Godzilla fans alike.

This past year has been an incredible journey for Godzilla fans, filled with nostalgic moments and new adventures. The Monsterverse tie-ins of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters (Apple+ TV series), Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire, and Toho's Godzilla Minus One have been a treat. My love for this iconic monster dates back to my childhood, and it has only grown stronger with each new film, comic, and cartoon release. I recently had the joy of taking my nephews to The New Empire and sharing my experience of seeing Godzilla (2014) in theaters on its opening night. This trip down memory lane has filled me with excitement for this review!

Revisiting this movie before and after viewing GXK helps highlight what made the start of the American franchise such a solid boom. Director Gareth Edwards' cinematography and understanding of CGI could still hold up in today's film scene. Many scenes happen at night, so many feel there was too much darkness for extended periods, but with the 4k release, they had brightened the film enough to better see the visuals. Where two lead characters felt flat, their more natural reaction to the monsters feels refreshing when stacked up against the more recent entries in this series. Both Bryan Cranston and Ken Watanabe deliver performances that elevate the human story. Being inspired by the film Jaws, Edwards' pacing and choice to keep the camera placement from a human perspective have such an impact on Godzilla's sheer size and every thundering move. The more serious acting and effects are complemented by a great musical score. The HALO jump sequence puts all these elements together and still feels as strong as it did upon release. There may not be the monster mayhem that some are looking for here, but every moment the MUTOs & Godzilla are on the screen hits with more punch than the last few Monsterverse mayhem movies. This is a testament to the director's vision and the movie's contribution to the Godzilla franchise.

This film definitely holds up ten years on. This grounded Godzilla feels fresh in Hollywood's landscape of epics and action-packed blockbusters. It also succeeds at being familiar by remaining true to the work of Ishirô Honda and the concepts at the core of the original Godzilla. Returning Godzilla to be a force of nature, for nature's balance, the 2014 movie doesn't just hold up; it's a solid foundation that continues to support this ever-growing franchise. 

Review by Nerd at War

Previous Reviews
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Man of Steel
Evil Dead
The Master
Sherlock Holmes
New in Town
Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li
Confessions of a Shopaholic
The Incredible Hulk
Iron Man
No Country for Old Men
Dan in Real Life
Gone Baby Gone
Hot Fuzz
5 Centimeters per Second
X-Men: The Last Stand
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Diary of a Mad Black Woman
The Phantom of the Opera
Kung Fu Hustle
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
Ocean's Twelve
House of Flying Daggers
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
The Incredibles
Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie
The Village
The Notebook
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The Day After Tomorrow
Van Helsing
Mean Girls
13 Going on 30

50 films reviewed