'Godzilla' 2014 Review Round-Up: Monster Movie Misses On Human Elements, Provides Plenty Of Destruction

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated May 18, 2014 04:04 PM EDT

The latest remake of the long-running monster franchise Godzilla has hit theaters, and the reviews are in. Though there are more positive reviews than negative, opinions vary greatly and some were definitely not fans of the film. Some publications do not score their reviews, so I've gathered a mix of scored and scoreless excerpts below.

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The Boston Globe, 2.5/5: "It's interesting that Edwards honors Godzilla's history to the point that he's even willing to mine the character's post-'50s reinvention as fearsome protector. But the more the movie indulges this aspect, the more it really needs performances that ground it - and they're just not coming from Taylor-Johnson, Watanabe, and the rest of the thespian soldiers and flabbergasted biologists who dominate the second hour.

"Godzilla, Watanabe breathlessly hypothesizes, "is here to restore balance." The film could do with a little of that itself, thrills notwithstanding."

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AV Club, B+: "[The film does not] engender much dramatic investment in its hero: Conveying little in the way of terror or awe, Taylor-Johnson is much less expressive than his towering co-stars. (The human-sized approach means less when the human in question is so mechanically driven.) Yet as pure popcorn entertainment, Godzilla delivers plenty of goosebumps; the rest of the summer's prospective tent poles will have to work hard to dwarf its pleasures. Size may not be the only thing that matters, but it counts for something in a mega-budget blockbuster.

The Atlantic, No Score Given: "No deed or decision made by any human character seems to have the slightest impact on the inexorable mechanics of the plot.

"...Thus the central irony of Edwards's film. Godzilla can handle everything the military hurls at him: ships, guns, planes, rockets, even a squadron of HALO paratroopers. The only thing that can cut him down to size is being relegated to a supporting role in his very own movie."

Salon, No Score Given: "But Godzilla never defaults to the myth of the heroic individual, in which one man stands outside the mass of human mediocrity, and can bring down any opponent with pluck, ingenuity and a few well-timed zingers. Taylor-Johnson's character is brave and resourceful beyond any ordinary measure, but the movie repeatedly makes clear that he has no shot at standing alone against these eldritch monstrosities. This is one of the few Hollywood films where a character says he's prepared to face death, and you can feel how big a thing that really is."

Slate, No Score Given: "But you don't go see a 2014 Godzilla reboot for the delicate character shadings and plausible story structure. You go to watch a giant radioactive lizard whale on stuff, and on that score, Godzilla does its work. The degree of destruction these behemoths inflict on the Japanese and American infrastructure goes way beyond your average superhero movie. With the possible exception of the Transamerica building, every iconic San Francisco monument is at some point stomped, chomped, or otherwise casually destroyed.

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