When it comes to a movie I enjoy this much, I don't want to discuss it critically, I just want people to go see it. This is what some would call a 'Thinking Man's Monster Movie' - not that it gets deep or metaphysical or anything. The movie is a slow burn: It doesn't just throw Godzilla into the action, it makes you wait. You will get story, dammit!
This works beautifully. The first full shot of Godzilla is one of those Movie Moments - a magic of the cinema that causes you to sit up in your seat and experience movie nirvana.
Gareth Edwards, pulled from relative obscurity to direct, makes the smart decision to keep the cameras at human levels throughout the film. While there are some wide shots of Godzilla and his battle with 2 other kaiju, most of it is shot from street level, adding a sense of awe to the sheer size of these creatures. One hopes he gets to direct a sequel (please let there be a sequel!) since writer David Callahan (with screenplay credit going to Max Borenstein) does a wonderful job of setting up a 'larger world' for the film to take place in - there are people who knew about Godzilla and have researched the possibility of other kaiju .
It's hard to talk about the human characters without spoiling some key (and surprising) developments in the movie, so I will say that everyone did a good job, but several characters (namely, the female ones) get the short shift. Why cast talent like Elizabeth Olson, Juliette Binoche, and Sally Hawkins if they are primarily supportive female types to their male counterparts? (though I will say that Hawkins' screen partner Ken Watanabe felt shortshifted also)
The monster effects are well done, and while the 3D showing I watched was pleasant, I don't feel that the 3D added anything extra to the film as a whole.
A definite must-see blockbuster. 8.5 out of 10.