Director: Masaaki Tezuka
Starring: Shin Takuma, Yumiko Shaku, Akira Nakao
Review Author: Tony
Synopsis: When a second Godzilla attacks Japan after the 1954 incident, the Japanese government spends the next 4 years creating a robotic countermeasure. Grafted onto the bones of the original Godzilla, this machine named Kiryu is the country’s last defense against the monstrous Kaiju.
With Godzilla Vs Kong set to release on the 31st of this month, we’ve dedicated the month of March to the King of Monsters himself. I’ll be reviewing as many Godzilla films across all periods including Showa, Heisei, and Millenium as well as the offshoot Godzilla projects outside of Japan. I’ve no set schedule so there will be little rhyme or reason to the order of each review. Also, considering I own none of the Kong films on digital or physical media, I’ll be leaving him out. In other words, I’ve picked my side.
In terms of the Monsterverse, other than Gareth Edwards Godzilla, the first film of the franchise, we’ve manged to review the previous entries, Kong: Skull Island & Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Hopefully Godzilla Vs Kong is a success which continues Legendary’s Monsterverse because this version of Godzilla has been fantastic and certainly pays homage to the G Man, righting the wrongs of the previous 1998 American Godzilla.
The Millenium period of Godzilla films ran from 1998 to 2004 with a series of standalone Godzilla films other than Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla released in 2002, which warranted a sequel, Tokyo S.O.S. released a year later. While I enjoy the Millenium era for the different Godzilla stories, the lack of continuity was a more financial decision than a creative one as Toho kept rebooting the movies, hoping one would strike gold as the box office returns were lukewarm.
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla is perhaps the most formulaic Godzilla film of the Millenium period, holding little in the way of surprises while also dusting off one of his greatest rivals. Despite the lack of creativity in terms of story, the back to basics approach gives the film a more streamlined feel, allowing it to bulk up character arcs and monster battles featuring some of the best monster brawls in any Godzilla film and a likable cast of various human characters. Interestingly, while yet again considered in the same continuity as the 1954 original Godzilla (a common trope of the Millenium era), films such as the original Rodan, Mothra, and even The War of the Gargantuas are considered cannon here.
This is by far my favourite Mechagodzilla design so far, taking elements from both previous incarnations of the Showa and Heisei period with a sleek modern look. The fact they build the robot over the bones of the previous Godzilla gives a logical reason for the mecha to look like Godzilla which also adds an interest depth, especially for a little twist later on. For once Mechagodzilla (named Kiryu) is the underdog; a last ditch effort by the Japanese government to put an end to Godzilla’s attacks. Kiryu is kitted out with an impressive arsenal of various weapons as well as boasting some serious agility which adds a faster pace to the fight scenes and keeps them fresh throughout. My favourite part was when Kiryu had enough of Godzilla’s shit and started slapping the taste out of his mouth.
Godzilla takes a backseat to Kiryu, only fulfilling his part as Japan’s greatest nightmare. His design remains the same from Godzilla 2000, although he appears more agile and physical than previous iterations. There’s no new backstory, just a new Godzilla has shown up, and he’s just as much of an asshole as the last.
Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla may add nothing new to the lore and mythos of the series, but does deliver an exciting film that flies by with exciting pacing and some fantastic Kaiju action.
Shots of Sake