Godzilla has already made a ton of money (i.e. the sequel awaits), and for good reason. It’s the Godzilla movie we’ve been waiting for, and here are five reasons that helped Hollywood somehow get it right:
1. Michael Bay had nothing to do with it
We all know what kind of movie this could have been. And if someone like, say, Michael Bay were to realize his vision of Godzilla, it would have been nothing but wall-to-wall monster destruction, which can get old no matter what you’re trying to tell yourself right now.
Instead, director Gareth Edwards took the slow-burn approach, choosing to reveal Godzilla in little pieces and even when we did see him, it was often a fleeting glance, or a few monstrous blows and a cut to something else. It left me really wanting more. Flat-out begging for more, degrading myself in every way, which I liked. I’m perverse.
2. Aaron-Taylor Johnson
This guy perfected the art of being the male lead in a big summer blockbuster. He mostly wears a sweet leather jacket and offers the classic adventure movie staple of a looks-behind-himself expression of disbelief and shock upon first seeing the M.U.T.O.’s appearance. That’s really all you need to make this role work and he nailed it.
3. An emotionally unhinged Bryan Cranston
Despite never appearing in his underwear, Cranston still had so much to offer. The movie was set up in its early stages perfectly by his role as a grieving man looking for answers, and with so much urgency in his performance, you knew it was time to buckle up, hold on to your butt and prepare yourself for monster destruction.
Even the numbskull teenage boys in the theater knew it was time to stop cracking jokes and making fart noises (which, admittedly, were much appreciated during the trailers) and pay attention.
4. The score of the film
What happened to movie scores? They mean so much to the atmosphere and tone of a film and can be just as memorable as anything actually seen on the screen. So why are so many scores now utterly forgettable bombastic messes?
‘Godzilla’ went for the old-school monster movie score, which will put you in an anxious, excited full-body sweat as you await the big guy’s first appearance so anxiously. Bring a change of clothes.
5. Godzilla himself
The character didn’t look awful. It didn’t do anything cringe-worthy, like make a confused sound and tilt its head to the side like a dog or something. No one wanted to “put their own creative spin” on the character and give him giant laser testicles or the ability to talk and make jokes.
No, this was the badass, destructive Godzilla we all wanted.
And, somehow, Hollywood actually delivered.