I honestly don’t even know where to begin with this movie. On the one hand, I feel like I’d be lying if I said I hate it. On the other hand, I feel like I’d be lying if I said I liked it. I don’t really feel anything about it, but that anything I don’t feel about it, I feel really strongly. I guess that’s because the movie itself is really paradoxical like that.
On the one hand, the plot is really straightforward and flat. On the other hand, the plot feels stuffed with needless complexity. On the one hand, after a slow and boring first act, the film picks up speed and gets to the action. On the other hand, the film still feels boring and even though the entire third act is nothing but one huge battle where quite a few things happen, it feels like nothing is happening. I really don’t feel like a movie could unfold in such a manner any other way than by accident. What’s really interesting to me though, is this movie is kind of full bits of “It is . . . but it also isn’t.”
For example, we have the return of Baby Godzilla from the previous film. But we don’t. His name is now Little Godzilla and he looks completely different. In Godzilla v. Mechagodzilla, Baby was created to look relatively realistically, in proportion, in texture, in mannerisms. In this movie though, Little Godzilla is like a giant cartoon character, almost a ‘90s reimagining of Manilla. He has a small body with a short tail, a big head, big eyes, and aggressively cute mannerisms to match his newly aggressively cute appearance. At the same time, he’s kind of central to the plot, but not. Towards the end of the first act, beginning of the second, he gets trapped into a crystal prison by Space Godzilla and we don’t really see him for the rest of the movie. Freeing him is part of Godzilla’s motivation for confronting and defeating space Godzilla, but for the entire time he’s trapped in that crystal prison until he’s freed, no one talks about Little Godzilla.
Then we have Mogura. Like Mechagodzilla in the previous film, he’s based off a Showa Era character. Also like Mechagodzilla in the previous film, this time around instead of being a robot controlled by aliens, he’s a mecha created by the military. Remember how in my Godzilla v. Mechagodzilla review I talked briefly about how the original idea was to have a jet and a tank combine to form Mechagodzilla but the idea was scrapped? This time around, they were able to implement it. Which is cool, but with the exception of when we’re very first introduced to the character and a key scene in the final battle, we don’t get to see the jet and the tank. Which is fine, cause honestly, they’re kind of awkward looking so maybe if we saw too much of them, we’d end up hating them. Mogura himself is kind of awkward looking too, and he’s kind of bad ass but also kind of lame. He’s got some firepower to him, but he also has an embarrassing glass jaw. Is he supposed to be a powerful player in this film or is he supposed to be an underdog? I really don’t know. That said, I kind of like the whole jet/tank version better, but I think part of that might because their role in the film is so brief that I find them novel.
The final third act continues this whole trend of “It is . . . but it also isn’t.” It’s mostly nothing but one huge battle, where like I said, a lot happens and it feels exciting and dynamic, but at the same time it also feels boring and flat. There’s tons of special effects, from beam attacks, to explosions, to Space Godzilla using crystals to rain down doom on Godzilla. They’re not awful special effects, but they’re not amazing special effects either. They’re just kind of their, doing their job to animate the story.
The one outright positive thing I will say though, is that even though he’s based off of Super Godzilla from the SNES game and even though there’s some way cooler concept art for the character out there than the final design decided for the film, Space Godzilla looks great. He’s bright and colorful without being too bright, and at the same time he’s also downright evil looking. He’s not my favorite Kaiju, but I can definitely say I don’t hate his design.
For non-Godzilla fans, I don’t think there’s really anything here in this movie that’ll blow them away. At the same time, I don’t think there’s anything here that’ll make them outright hate this film either. I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars. It’s kind of like Space Godzilla, who’s Godzilla, but also not. This movie is good, but also not. It’s very middle of the road.