I saw this movie in theaters when it came out, but apparently didn’t ever get around to reviewing it. Anyway, I watched it again at home and had essentially the same reaction which was overwhelmingly positive. I find it to be a very human blockbuster; it’s odd to me that so much of the criticism of the film revolves around the fact that the human characters are thinly sketched or uninteresting. I find quite the opposite really; part of this due to the performances, which might help fill in the blanks. Cranston in particular treats the material like Shakespeare and his deeply effecting performance is brilliant. I also love Watanabe’s performance; it’s quirky certainly, but I like it. Straithairn, Binoche & Olson are all also very good. It’s too bad the filmmakers didn’t get Gordon-Levitt, their first choice I’ve heard, instead of Taylor-Johnson. He’s not horrible, but he doesn’t quite have the charisma he needs. But anyway, the monsters are rendered absolutely perfectly here; I love the MUTOs & Godzilla both and I think the film uses special effects perfectly, in service of the surprisingly complex plot, and not to overwhelm, which isn’t to say that they aren’t occasionally jaw dropping. Add in Edwards’ flair for great visuals and pacing (see the HALO drop for the former, a sequence on a railroad bridge for the latter) and a brilliant use of music, the film functions really brilliantly. Like its titular character, this film is a rare beast, an intelligent blockbuster, and one worth seeking out. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
tl;dr – blockbuster features great direction and a well-rounded human cast, but also knows when to sideline everything for a giant monster smack-down; all in all, astounding entertainment. 4 stars.