Shin Godzilla is the latest embodiment of the famous monster franchise. But the more the names change, the more things stay the same. You know what a Godzilla movie will involve: a city will be stomped on, and humans will get rid of “Godjira”. Or maybe Godzilla takes on another monster to save humanity. But this is not your average kaiju (monster) flick.
The movie opens with Godzilla in Tokyo Bay, causing mass confusion and wreaking a modest amount of havoc. The camera cuts to the government disaster response team, then a cabinet meeting, a meeting with scholars, then a press conference, back to a meeting ...
But when Godzilla (finally) shows up, the film becomes a real monster movie, albeit with political elements.
Unlike most kaiju movies, where the hero bucks the rules and saves the world with a plucky supporting cast, our hero, Rando Yaguchi (Hiroki Hasegawa), is the official in charge of a task force set up to deal with the creature. There is no rule-breaking; just people getting their jobs done.
And it’s a wonderful, somewhat realistic take on what would happen if a giant unknown creature really appeared in a city. Watching it evolve from a giant, cartoony, googly-eyed mudfish to the giant-er, nuclear-powered, atomic-death-ray-spitting biotitan wouldn’t be half as fun without seeing the bureaucrats do what would need to be done in real life.