Welcome to the end of the Godzilla-Thon. Today, we cover the most recent film in the series, and one of the most disappointing: Godzilla City on the Edge of Battle, the sequel to Planet of the Monsters.
Now, since this movie is the newest and one of the most varying in quality, this won’t be like the previous posts. Before, I would simply mention what a Godzilla film did well, what they added to the franchise, or if the monsters themselves were cool and intimidating. This one is going to be a full, in-depth review of the film.
Because god damn it this movie needs to be reviewed.
Overall, I think this movie is okay. The plot is engaging, the animation is as solid as the first film, and there are plenty of things that will make any Godzilla fan happy. However, there is one major element that greatly hurts the plot and only serves as an insult to not only the fanbase but one of the series’ most iconic enemies.
Let’s start with the big, obnoxious and insulting elephant in the room: Mechagodzilla. See, you may notice how they advertise Mechagodzilla a lot in the marketing of this movie.
He’s on the poster and everything. You’d think he’d be a major player in the story, right? Well… wrong. Mechagodzilla himself isn’t in this movie. The closest we get his carcass, which they find at the center of the city. You know what we do get though?
Mechagodzilla-City. A city created by the self-reproducing nano-metal that built Mechagodzilla in the first place.
Now seems like a good time to go into the plot. Which means spoilers ahead, even though I already spoiled one of the biggest points in the movie (it’s not my fault the advertising is a bunch of crap) so consider this your last spoiler warning. If you haven’t watched this movie yet, go do so.
Okay? We all good? Good. Let’s move on.
See, after Godzilla wiped the human attack force out, our protagonist (whom I shall call Space-Eren) wakes up to a small telepathic child (who may or may not serve Mothra, who is currently still an egg) who has tended to his wounds with mysterious sparkling powder stuff (again, may or may not have something to do with Mothra).
After reuniting with the other survivors of his unit, Space-Eren meets with the elders and small children of the human-like indigenous species (who are actually bug people or something stupid, who cares) who give them a little aid and lead them to Mechagodzilla City (or at least partway to it) before ditching and going back to their totally-not-Mothra egg.
Once they reclaim the power of Mechagodzilla City, the team begins making preparations to attempt the plan from the first movie again on the bigger Godzilla, this time with higher resources and destructive power. In this time, the religious alien dude warns Space-Eren about a Kaiju who destroyed his own home-world who apparently dwarves Godzilla in power; Ghidorah.
Though they save this reveal for after the credits, and I’m not gonna lie, I actually screamed out in joy. I’m a simple man; I like Godzilla, I like Ghidorah, and I like anime. To have all three in the same place is a wet dream come true for me.
Anyways, getting back on track, the tech-obsessed aliens begin melding with Mechagodzilla City, using the nanometal to sacrifice their bodies and upload their minds into the city as neural-net processors to increase it’s power. This freaks out the humans, who built these two cool flying robots that look like they were ripped out of a Gundam series, when suddenly Godzilla finds the city and their forced to put their plan into action.
Oh yeah, and in between these scenes we get Space-Eren hooking up with the brunette chick from the first movie. It’s kind of rushed and forced, but considering how predictable it was from the first movie and how this movie is going to end, I’m actually okay with it.
So Space-Eren, his girlfriend-for-an-hour and one of the tech-aliens get in the Gundam bots, attack Godzilla and direct him into the trap, which fails miserably. Godzilla starts heating up to a ludicrous degree and starts melting the city. The humans, fearing for their lives, flee and take refuge in the religious-alien dude’s cave, which is safe apparently for some reason. Meanwhile, Space-Eren and the others begin melding with their Gundam bots, Space-Eren and his girlfriend against their will.
However, while Space-Eren’s girlfriend starts dying as the metal destroys her internal organs, Space-Eren is protected by the strange medicine given to him by the totally-not-Mothra girls we swear, and he is confronted with a choice: possibly save his girl pal and let Godzilla live, or possibly destroy Godzilla and die. Neither is certain, and both are just uncertain enough to make it incredibly challenging for the protagonist. This is what decent storytelling looks like people: putting the hero in an impossible situation and making him choose.
In the end, he chooses to try and save brunette chick, so he destroys the control room, grabs her ship and flies to safety, all while Godzilla lays waste to Mechagodzilla city. However, Space-Eren is too late, and his girlfriend is dead, all of her internal organs being frozen by the nanometal. The movie ends with him clutching her dead body in his arms while Mechagodzilla City burns behind him.
The credits role, which have a pretty good song playing over them, and then we get the Ghidorah tease featuring some really good direction and use of extreme close-up and the dragon’s iconic yellow lighting. It’s an exciting tease and it makes me very hyped for the next movie.
Plot wise, this movie is pretty entertaining. It’s engaging, the characters are likable enough, and the pacing is never too quick or too slow. Sure, some of the moments feel rushed and forced, such as the romance subplot, but it’s still a good time. It’s never tedious or obnoxious.
Except for Mechagodzilla City.
By all leaps of logic, it makes no sense that they don’t just use this city (an unlimited supply of reproducing metal that can create anything) to recreate Mechagodzilla. Not only did they promise the fans anime-Mechagodzilla in all the marketing, as discussed earlier, but they even say in the movie that ‘With all these resources, we can produce something beyond the scope of the original Mechagodzilla’.
So… why don’t you? I’m sure he’d do better than your tiny little Gundam bots. And even if you’re dead-set on your current plan, why not rebuild him as a plan b? You know, the plan b that you may desperately need because Godzilla is a force beyond your understanding and capabilities?!
No. That just makes too much sense.
Ugh… if this movie didn’t disrespect Mechagodzilla so much, I’d praise it to high hell! It’s entertaining, well animated, the music is great, and all the action is super intense! By all accounts, this movie should be a huge step up from Planet of the Monsters!
But the false advertising, utter disrespect to Mechagodzilla (one of the most iconic and powerful enemies to Godzilla in the history of the franchise) and to the fans who love him by spitting on him to such a degree make this not only a huge step down from the first movie, but one of the worst Godzilla movies in recent years.
Is it the worst movie in the series? No, Godzilla ’98 exists. Is it the best? No, this isn’t Shin Godzilla. It lands somewhere in the middle; just above the mediocre but funny Showa era movies but well below the genuine quality of many of the Heisei era films.
Since this is a review, I bet you’re sitting here wondering what number I’m gonna give it. Well, since you must be so curious…
Thanks a lot for reading, especially if you’ve been sticking with me throughout the Godzilla-Thon. Now, for those who are new to this site, it will be a little while before the archives of the first few will be uploaded. But don’t worry, they’ll be here and fully categorized along with the rest.
And for those of you who stuck around from the first blog over to this one, thanks for doing that! Seriously, this little series has been a ton of fun, and not just because it gave me an excuse to watch all the Godzilla movies again.
Shout to JoJoel @OhGodNotBears on Twitter. You’re a super cool guy and I appreciate you coming by every now and then.
I hope you enjoyed revisiting this iconic franchise as much as I have, and I hope to see you tomorrow for the next non-Godzilla related (maybe) daily rant. See ya!