There’s one good thing that comes from the occasional American Godzilla film: They get Toho to dust off the property and do it right. And while Gareth Edwards’ dour 2014 Godzilla was a fair sight better than the 1998 Roland Emmerich train-wreck that spawned Toho’s palette-cleansing Godzilla 2000, Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi’s Shin Godzilla (Godzilla Resurgence) is the most entertaining movie about everyone’s favorite irradiated reptile in decades. Storywise, it’s standard stuff: Godzilla emerges from the ocean to devastate Japan, and scientist Rando Yaguchi (Hiroki Hasegawa) and American diplomat Kayoko Ann Patterson (Satomi Ishihara) work with the military and the government to stop him. But the film relentlessly goofs on modern action movies, including a great running gag of on-screen text identifying every single location, room, character name and title, and everyone, including our heroes, is obsessed with how the crisis will impact their future careers. Like many recent reboots, Shin Godzilla is somewhat obsessed with its franchise’s history, here expressed by recreating moments from the original 1954 Gojira and by needle-dropping that film’s iconic score — and while there’s plenty of big CGI spectacle, Godzilla’s first appearance is designed to look like a rubber puppet with eyes that are borderline googly. It’s clear from the start that Shin Godzilla is fucking with us, and it’s never less than glorious.
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