Godzilla Raids Again Review

Why the families and politicians of Osaka were surprised that Godzilla would indeed strike again confuses me greatly. Surely the assault of a giant reptile on a city not far from their own would have made local, if not national news. It’s not as if the people of Japan did a great job of repelling Godzilla the first time, and if there’s anything the original Godzilla has taught us, it’s that he has the temperament and focus of a cat when approached by a ball of yarn. Godzilla Raids Again showcases the King of Kaiju remembering his unfinished business, turning his attention this time to Osaka and the poor souls that live there, constantly gripped by the fear of a large lizard swirling his spit and firing it at their buildings, their fighter jets, and their loved ones.

Removing Ishirō Honda from the directing chair and placing Motoyoshi Oda there instead is the first of many grave mistakes made by Godzilla Raids Again. The first in a lengthy line of sequels, Oda crafts a film so devoid of interest that it is a miracle the series continued after his fumbled, bland efforts. Focusing in on the human characters far too often, Godzilla Raids Again is unfortunately lacking in representation for its titular character. Where the original film offered layered woes and themes that slowly built towards the big, horrifying reveal, Oda’s sequel does nothing of the sort. He has no time for depth, instead throwing audiences headfirst into thrills and reveals that feel entirely lifeless.

Still, the human characters from this point on are rarely the focus, they provide dutiful roles as cannon fodder for Kaiju creatures to stomp and destroy. Here, though, Godzilla meets the first of many foes. Anguirus, some sort of giant, spiky turtle, does battle with the colossal, titular beast. What follows is relatively underwhelming, however the design and initial reveal of both Anguirus and Godzilla is on point. Decent enough to stave off any worries of genuine quality, and the fight scenes between the two are decent enough, it just doesn’t feel that they’ve quite found their footing on how a director should go about screening and capturing these titan-like fights.

Godzilla Raids Again is a film that is doing its genuine best, looking to adapt and capture a notorious monster of the big-screen. It fumbles, panics and often slows the pace to a grind, but these are never intentional moments. Oda tries his very best to present Godzilla as a major threat, and he does that amicably. The real issue, unfortunately, is the lack of variety on display from the characters and stories that get this terror from A to B. All of it falls into place as relatively happenstance, even unnatural at times, as we sift through suits in meetings, poorly handled dialogue and an array of characters who range from boring to blindly underwhelming. A sad shame, but a few teething issues were expected so early into the lifespan of this notorious cinematic beast.

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