Sunday 19 May 2024

Netflix And Chill: Godzilla: City On The Edge Of Battle (2018)

Oh dear. The fact that this is the second in a trilogy that has already gone from bad to worse does not bode well, but I'll inevitably be scheduling the third instalment to be watched next week. The completist in me wouldn't have things any other way, but my expectations are now about as low as it's possible for them to be.

It's all of the same people behind the scenes (co-directors Hiroyuki Seshita and Kôbun Shizuno, and writers Gen Urobuchi, Sadayuki Murai, and Tetsuya Yamada) for this continuation of the story that began in Godzilla: Planet Of The Monsters. A battered and bruised Haruo (Mamoru Miyano) still wants to take down the mighty Godzilla, although that might be more difficult now that the real size and power of the legendary kaiju is now known, and he has some more people alongside him to apparently help him in that endeavour. One or two may have strange ideas about precisely how to do that though, especially when they discover a location full of nanometal that was clearly the birthplace of Mechagodzilla, and is therefore named Mechagodzilla City.

Although it looks nice enough throughout, that's all that Godzilla: City On The Edge Of Battle has going for it. The plotting feels weak, especially with the relatively small amount of screentime given to Big G, there's nothing/nobody to invest in (considering what happened to so many characters in the last movie, and considering how individuals are simply defined by their need to fight Godzilla), and there's something particularly depressing about the middle feature of a trilogy that doesn't seem interested in actually progressing things further.

I want to be kind to Miyano, as well as Takahiro Sakurai, Kana Hanazawa, Jun'ichi Suwabe, Reina Ueda, and Ari Ozawa, to namecheck a number of the key players, but there's nothing that feels exceptionally praiseworthy. They're all perfectly fine, considering what they have to work with, but nobody stands out, not even the apparent hero of the whole thing. This is all down to the writing, and the fact that the concept of this animated trilogy mishandles Godzilla, but the cast members subsequently suffer because of the decisions made elsewhere.

I am sure I remember some people enjoying this trilogy when it was first release. I definitely recall people mentioning that things improved after the first instalment. Now I have seen numerous people advising me against wasting my time with this (it's too late now!), but there are still some who claim that it's a treat for Godzilla fans. I assume that those people were maybe desperate for anything that reassured them that their favourite kaiju wouldn't be trapped in the bombastic and wildly-varying American projects built around it. We now know that different Godzilla projects can be delivered concurrently, and I would say that the past few years have handed us quite the full platter to pick and choose from. So there's no need to remember that this exists.

Once I have watched the next, and final, instalment, I'll be doing my best to wipe them completely from my memory. Unless that somehow does enough to make the whole trilogy feel worthwhile.


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