I’ve decided to make an entire category dedicated to Godzilla movies, find them all by clicking here.
Godzilla Final Wars – A Monster Mash Like no Other!
I’ve already done two Godzilla reviews, Shin Godzilla and Godzilla 1998. After that I figured, why not review another favorite Godzilla movie of mine? Godzilla Final Wars is a 2004 Kaiju movie produced by Toho, and was the last Godzilla movie until the 2014 Legendary Pictures reboot and the last Japanese produced Godzilla Movie until Shin Godzilla in 2016. As a final send off to the big bad King of the Monsters, Toho went all out, bringing back a symphony of monsters back for Godzilla to smash.
The Story (Spoilers)
The plot is somewhat different in my opinion, having a focus on these super powered humans called Mutants and their attempts at taking down Kaiju around the world. When dozens of creatures start appearing, only to be stopped by the arrival of a savior alien race, it becomes predictable on the humans side. You know the humans are going to be betrayed by the aliens and that the monsters are only going to continue their assault on earth. In a surprise twist of sorts, the humans decide to awaken Godzilla after being encased in ice in hopes that his obscene power can defeat the threat. The rest of the film is Godzilla kicking every other Kaiju to the curb in a battle royal to end all battle royals. The story is complete fluff and only serves as a way to Segway us to another scene of either Godzilla fighting or the humans fighting, its non stop action from start to finish. The fights are also great, a lot of inventive and creative battles between both the humans and the monsters. However, the plot is the weakest part of the movie, it’s not that interesting and there are twists and turns that frankly either don’t need to happen or happen out of the blue despite being major plot points. So overall, the plot is a fumbled mess, but it gives us some fun and creative action.
As is tradition with the Godzilla movies most of the time, this movies human cast is weak. The protagonist is so cliché in how serious and over the top he is about his job and powers that he might as well be from an actual anime. Every one else in honestly kinda weak as well, either being too bland or being to cliché to leave a lasting impact. The only character I’d consider decent is Captain Douglas Gordon, who has a pretty standard character arc but he also has a kick-ass sword that when he uses it is so over the top you can’t help but like him for it. The main villain is also very predictable, being the young leader who wants the world to fall at his feet and exist only to deliver a really out-of-place and unnecessary twist. Once again, Godzilla himself is the biggest character here both literally and figuratively, even though he lacks a personality, but at least he moves with drive and is shown to actually have conflicts with other creatures. So in conclusion, the characters are weak as is the story.
As far as presentation goes, this one is pretty good. The special effects on the monster combined with the ‘suitmation’ techniques used do work most of the time and the monsters all look pretty large. I really like the designs of the monsters in this movie, with many of them receiving updates to their looks since many of them haven’t appeared in a Godzilla movie for some time. They really stepped up to the plate with the action as well this time, with both humans and the monsters fighting. Most of the time it’s only the monsters, but now we’ve got humans doing all sorts of crazy fight scenes with each other. The final battle between the protagonist and the villain is actually a lot of fun with some really creative maneuvers put in throughout the brawl. The movie also know just how much time to actually show the fights, and does have a decent flowing narrative. The camera angles are also pretty good, especially when it involves the monsters, using either low angle shots, wide-angle shots, or focusing on the smaller items around them to really showcase their size. Some monsters do look smaller and the CGI on some of the monster like Zilla do look incredibly dated (Zilla just cannot catch a break here). So in conclusion, I really like most of the presentation in this movie, particularly the angles with the monsters and the combat, definitely one of the movies strongest assets.
Since this is my first Godzilla movie in which he’s against other monsters, I’ll instead change the ‘Godzilla Himself’ to simply covering the monsters overall. In style similar to Destroy All Monsters, this movie brings in a whole party of monsters for Godzilla to fight. Gigan, Mothra, Baragon, King Caesar and Hedorah just to name a few. But there’s also a new monster on the block, Monster X (right of image shown below). As a new monster he looks awesome, and the big twist involving him is a fantastic way to bring the movie, and the series to a close. I also love Gigan’s new design, no longer looking like a rotund chicken and actually like a menacing creature. The other monster all look great as well, and many of them do in fact have some personality, particularly Mothra and Gigan who develop some sort of rivalry with one on the pathway to protection and the other destruction. I previously mentioned the combat in this movie is good, and when the monsters throw down, it’s awesome. The way Godzilla just conquers each and every foe thrown at him is so satisfying to watch, he truly feels like a force of nature. The fights themselves are also creative, like Godzilla knocking another monster into another monster and bringing them down and obliterating the infamous Zilla in a single hit, probably in retaliation for the Tristar disaster from 1998. Without giving away the final fight, the actual combat is really engaging and while it is a bit unusual how Godzilla ultimately takes the win, the execution of his enemy is one that is both grand and a fitting end to the battle royal we just witnessed.
- Story: 3/5 – Generic, not eventful, full of unnecessary twists, this plot gets a 3 simply because it leads to some great action and is still kind of enjoyable in how cliché it is.
- Characters: 2/5 – Much like Shin Godzilla, this cast is so bland, nothing is interesting or fresh when it comes to these characters.
- Presentation: 4/5 – For the time I’d say that some of these effects look pretty good, the use of camera angles is also utilized well in this movie.
- Genre Representation: 4/5 – There’s non stop action in this movie, humans fighting, monster fighting, there’s just non stop combat. In terms of Kaiju movie, this one excels, more monsters than you can shake a stick at.
- (Unique Grade) Monster Madness: 5/5 – Like I just said, this is one of the biggest monster movies yet, simply because there’s so many monsters, and the destruction is off the charts.
- Final Grade: 3/5 – this movie really lacks substance and doesn’t boast a memorable cast. But the story segways us into some really creative combat, some awesome monster action and is a fitting end to the Godzilla franchise until 2014. As of writing this review, it’s my second favourite Godzilla movie, just behind Shin Godzilla.
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