Andy: Not surprisingly, much of the anticipation around Godzilla being a “good” movie centered around the presence of Bryan Cranston. It is safe to say that he has just about as much credibility as any actor working today, and his presence on the film is profound. Unfortunately, he is not in as much of the movie as the ads would have you believe, and it suffers when he is not on screen. But the real star here needs to be Godzilla anyway. He is also not on screen as much as you might think, but the filmmakers showed great restraint in not overexposing the monster, instead maximizing the impact he makes when he is on screen. Godzilla is full of plot holes and there is a whole lot of nonsense, but it is hard to not feel a little satisfaction by the time the final battle arrives.
Ryan: There was a point early in the film where I thought this Godzilla movie might actually resonate as more than just a really good summer spectacle. It’s more than just a monster movie, but it’s not a game-changer type of film — which I do think it could have been. Needless-to- say Bryan Cranston owns the movie at the beginning of the film. Not only does he provide the much needed human element to the film but his tragic character provides a lynchpin to a conspiratorially type of tone to the movie. Unfortunately, midway through the film the perspective abruptly shifts to Cranston’s son (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). This is problematic in three ways. One: Taylor-Johnson is not yet able to carry a movie of this scale. Secondly: the movie loses whatever emotional weight that Cranston established and thirdly: the movie goes from an interesting conspiracy thriller to a by-the-books military procedural. Ultimately this point-of-reference change in the movie is utterly baffling.
Godzilla brings both great action and glaring flaws to the screen. Fortunately, the action is more enduring, earning the film a final grade of B.