YMMV: Godzilla (2014)


  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • On how heroic this incarnation of Godzilla is. Is he concerned with protecting humanity, or is he just acting as a predator against the Muto that sees humanity as a pragmatic ally?
    • The Making-Of volume specifically singles out the MUTO's as the 'dark/evil' side of nature, suggesting that while it might have sounded a little hokey to actively brand Godzilla a 'hero' in-film, this was very much the intention for Godzilla. Also, the film does have a number of instances where Godzilla could cause property damage, but avoids it; the exception is the scene at the bridge, where he's provoked.
  • Americans Hate Tingle:
    • While this is easily averted for the film itself in the Japanese market (Toho themselves heaped praise upon the movie), it's played straight with Godzilla's redesign, which a decent portion of the audience over there consider to be weaker, or, for some people, fatter, than the original.
    • The movie has gotten a pretty bad rep in places where Godzilla hasn't been established as a pop-culturally relevant franchise, and so most people have grown up with the previous American reboot instead. Being that one of the main focuses of the film was to approach it from a "fan perspective" and distance it as much as possible from the '98 movie, it's easy to see why this strategy backfired in places where audiences harbored no love for the Japanese Godzilla, especially since reviews agreed that its faithfulness to the source material was one of the movie's main selling points. Basically, the two movies' receptions are inverted compared to countries where the brand has had a history.
    • The film did really poorly in the South Korean market. Box office analysts have compared the South Korean market for this movie with Pacific Rim and noticed how it was an unusual outlier considering Godzilla did better than Pacific Rim in every other territory.
  • Base Breaker: Ford and Elle Brody, whose relationship drama and generic personalities steal screentime away from the Big G.
  • Broken Base:
    • When this leak of Godzilla himself was posted online, fans were split. Many believe he looks like he should and that he retains most of his most notable features. On the other hand many don't like the more "human like" eyes of the design, his small teeth, the sauropod-esque feet, and the gills on the side of his neck. Not to mention the mightily revamped sound of his roar....
    • When word came that Toho had seen the full film several weeks before release and thought it was great, fans were split on whether that praise amounted to anything. Some fans thought that it was proof that the film would be great if the original makers of Godzilla thought it was so, while others pointed out that Toho have also put their seal of approval on lesser Godzilla films like All Monsters Attack and even (initially, at least) Godzilla (1998).
    • Viewers tend to be split between the camps of "strong entry in the Godzilla series that carries the spirit of the 1954 original" and "weak due to boring human leads and too little Godzilla," with a middle grouping of "good overall, but could have used more Godzilla presence." This spread even to professional movie critics.
    • Godzilla's relatively heroic portrayal in this film. His original role as nature's wrath summoned by humankind's folly (the atomic bomb) is downplayed, as the Mutos take that role (awakened by the activities of a mining company) and he arises as their Alpha Predator, nature's way of restoring order and balance. Those against it dislike how the film claimed to be closer to the spirit of Godzilla (1954) by making him more of an antagonist, to the point of editing several trailers to make it seem as though Godzilla was the only threat (while the Mutos remained absent for a while). Those in favor of it claim Godzilla is still a gray-tinted Destructive Savior and think it's a good way to keep audience sympathy with him while he fights other monsters, so it doesn't turn into an uncheerable Evil Versus Evil.
    • The short amount of screen time Godzilla got compared to the human characters. Those who didn't mind it point out that the amount of screen time Godzilla had in the Showa Era films were relatively similar to this film. Those who did mind are divided between whether Godzilla became a secondary character in his own movie, or felt his on-screen presence was sufficient but could have been balanced out by making the human characters more interesting.
    • The way the movie keeps teasing the audience by cutting away from the monster battles to the humans. The teasing either makes the climax all the sweeter or sours the whole experience by weakening the fights in the rest of the movie.
    • The design of the Mutos. Some think they're too bland with their drab black/grey color, especially since Godzilla is the same color and they fight several times at night. Other like them for how utterly different they look from any previous kaiju, looking nothing like a man in a suit.
    • Although there's really no argument in the hard-core part of the fanbase, some of the more "flexible" fans and general monster movie lovers are divided on whether this movie is better or worse than the 1998 film. Frequently argued-over topics include which one's more fun, has more memorable characters, what their actors are given and how well they pull it off, gives more screen-time for the titular creature, and which depiction of Godzilla is more serviceable to modern, non-fan audiences.
  • Critical Research Failure: A minor one, the USS Saratoga is a Forrestal-class conventionally powered aircratt carrier, the ship shown in the film however is a Nimitz-class nuclear carrier.
    • The Saratoga shown in the film is a fictional Nimitz-class carrier and not the real Saratoga.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Joe Brody is considered to be the best human character in the movie, and to some, the franchise as a whole. Being played by Bryan Cranston probably has something to do with that. The real reason he's listed as part of the ensemble is because he dies in the first half of the movie, but gives a memorable performance in that time.
    • The MUTOS have become quite popular, even among those who mostly didn't like the movie. They kick a lot of ass whenever they're on screen, almost outfight Godzilla, and arguably have more romantic chemistry than the main human characters.
    • The nameless Badass Driver bus driver who not only passes through a military/police barricade, he drives like hell when Godzilla has an explosive skirmish with the military.
    • Sergeant Morales has only three scenes but he is liked for being amicable and polite even in the face of danger.
  • Fandom Berserk Button: Saying that this is a remake of the 1998 film doesn't sit well with Godzilla fans. Same thing goes for when journalists or critics say that the '98 film was "the last Godzilla film" until this one, out of apparent ignorance of Godzilla Final Wars and the rest of the Millennium series.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • A minor one with Man of Steel, with jokes about how Godzilla's battles with the MUTOs apparently caused less property damage than Superman's battle with Zod.
    • There's one with Pacific Rim revolving around debates over which stylistic approach is best for a Kaiju film, the fantastical and lighthearted one for Pacific Rim or the realistic and dark one for Godzilla. Although there's a sizeable portion of people -including Del Toro himself- who'd love to see a crossover.
      • The Godzilla fanbase In general is either friendly with Pacific Rim fans, united in their love of kaiju — or would like them to piss off because Godzilla is a genuine Japanese kaiju property, not an imitation, and would so totally own all the robots and creatures in that film.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With Pacific Rim, also a Legendary Pictures production revolving around giant monsters. Many fans even tried to put the Big G on the Kaiju categories used by the Pan Pacific Defense Corps - for comparison, Gipsy Danger was a staggering 260 feet tall, while Godzilla is 350! The Category 4's seen in the film were roughly 260-280. Slattern, the first and only Category 5 Kaiju, is a 596 foot behemoth, but measured from head to tail, while on all fours he's the same height as Gipsy and on his hind legs is a third taller. Godzilla, given his size and destructive capabilities, would fit snugly between a Cat. 4-5 Kaiju (though some fans, Gareth Edwards included, maintain that Godzilla would be considered a Category 6 in terms of sheer power and invincibility).
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In the earliest stages of the film, Toho required Gareth Edwards to have the film take place mainly in Japan. Edwards says that the Fukushima plant leak, which happened after this stipulation was given, made it where the team had to be extra careful in being respectful to the victims of that leak.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The casting of Aaron Taylor Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen as husband and wife, considering the fact they were also cast as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Especially when you remember Ultimate Marvel.
    • Back in 1985, Warner Bros. 's Pee-wee's Big Adventure featured a brief scene where Pee-wee rides through a film set where Godzilla is fighting King Ghidorah. 29 years later, WB is now making an actual, full Godzilla movie.
      • The "Hillarious" part really comes in that apparently Toho was less than amused by Warner basically using the monsters without authorization.
    • Speaking of Warner Bros., this isn't the first Godzilla movie they've been involved with, though thankfully they're handling things better than they did last time.
    • The leaked SDCC teaser reveals that one of the monsters Godzilla was originally going to fight is a red, multi-limbed, centipede-like creature. The Godzilla Power Hour and Marvel's Godzilla: King of the Monsters had Godzilla face off against similar-looking monsters.
    • This image making fun of the 1998 film with Snickers' "You're not you when you're hungry" campaign is funnier now that there is an official Snickers commercial made to promote this film.
    • Godzilla's feet are rounder, sauropod-like and with relatively short talons, which is what they were like in Bambi Meets Godzilla.
    • In The Amazing Spider-Man, Captain Stacy jokes about not being "the mayor of Tokyo" in response to Peter Parker's claim that Dr. Connors has turned into the giant lizard monster roaming around New York, in a Shout-Out to Godzilla. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ended up being a direct box office competitor with the old menace of Tokyo himself in May of 2014.
    • In Lilo & Stitch, a scene featured the titular alien Stitch (while in Hawaii) making a scale model of San Francisco then smashing akin to a kaiju rampage. Godzilla would eventually come to both Honolulu and San Francisco in the movie. Additionally, both films feature Elvis' "(You're the) Devil in Disguise".
    • When Godzilla's appearance was more clearly revealed to the Japanese by the Asia trailer, Japanese fans complained that he looked too fat. While this led to the obligatory jokes about him eating too many Snickers' bars (see above), a Fiat commercial released soon after these complaints first popped up implies that it's more because he had been "craving Italian" lately.
  • Holy Shit Quotient: The final battle in San Francisco is awesome. Special props needs to be given to the use of the Atomic Breath, which garners a "HOLY SHIT!" from one of the soldiers that sees it In-Universe, and it's especially awe-inspiring when it's used to decapitate the female Muto.
  • Hype Backlash: Strangely enough, from professional movie critics - while one side derided it as yet another blockbuster, many critics demanded more Godzilla fighting.
  • I Am Not Shazam: The movie features a Covert Group called MONARCH. However, it was misidentified by the public as being named "M.U.T.O." in the months leading up to the film's release. This confusion can be blamed on the M.U.T.O. Research website set up as part of the Viral Marketing. M.U.T.O. stands for "Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism" and refers to the Kaiju that is being researched. But some of the responses included phrases like "Please stop wasting M.U.T.O. resources" or "M.U.T.O. assures all personnel", making it seem like the name of the organization. Inversely, another few of text responses refer to certain activities being "reported to MONARCH," but this whole confusion led people to speculate that MONARCH referred to either A) the codename for an individual within the organization, or B) the name of some fictional security software.
  • I Liked It Better When It Sucked: A lot of the comments from people reacting to the trailers is along the lines of "If it doesn't have monsters portrayed by People in Rubber Suits and human characters played by B-list actors whose lip motions don't match up with their spoken dialogue, then it doesn't count as a Godzilla movie." Indeed, the improved special effects, more talented cast that includes Bryan Cranston, and darker, more realistic tone are held up as examples of outright pretentiousness. Then again, a good number of these complaints come from people who have not seen the original 1954 film.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • It does star the Trope Namer himself, after all. The first official teaser trailer leans on this heavily: all it really reveals about the film's plot is that Godzilla's in it, he causes loads of destruction and this upsets and frightens many people (i.e. the simplest, most basic elements of a Godzilla story). This was tantalizing enough to shoot the trailer to more than 10 million Youtube views in a week.
    • Similarly, most fans didn't expect Godzilla: Smash3 to be particularly good when it was first revealed, but the game was still closely examined because it gave the best yet view of the new Godzilla design.
    • Among non-fans and even people who actively dislike Godzilla, Bryan Cranston has become enough of a draw for them. Jeremy Jahns mentions this in his review of the teaser:
      "Yeah, that was Bryan Cranston. Okay, well... I'll watch the movie. I was on the fence with the big lizard tearing shit through a city, but you bring in Heisenberg and — alright, I'm there."
    • Ironically, one of the biggest criticisms leveled against the movie was exactly Godzilla's and Cranston's limited screen-time ( the former mostly has cameos until the final fight, the latter is killed off about half an hour in), and while most critics applauded this "held-back" approach, audiences were less forgiving (there was a significant drop in attendance following a strong opening), proving this trope to be a double-edged sword.
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • Did anyone really think they were going to kill the Big G off before he could defeat the Mutos? It's slightly more convincing when he collapses and lies dormant after his victory, but this is a character that lived through being nuked.
    • Subverted with Joe Brody. Some viewers didn't think he would die from his wounds, believing that a character so prominently featured in the trailers wouldn't be killed off in the first act.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    "At best, this is a legit scary movie. At worst, this is a borderline traumatic experience. Forget about WB and Legendary Pictures gambling with a hefty budget: is Godzilla gonna have to give us some therapy? #demandtoknow"
    • This video remixes the train scene with Thomas the Tank Engine.
    • This video takes the audio of the first official main trailer and syncs it up with footage from Attack on Titan.
    • "[Gareth] Edwards channels poppycock" is a largely nonsensical insult from an infamous negative review by Tony Macklin that has become a common Appropriated Appellation among Godzilla fans.
    • To hide a good fight that many people wanted to see is now being known as "a Godzilla 2014" or to "Godzilla 2014" something.
    • Godzilla's noticeable avoidance of collateral damage wherever possible led to many people praising him as a better hero than the Destructive Savior version of Superman in Man of Steel.
  • MisBlamed:
    • Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros. and Gareth Edwards were all criticized for "lying" about the second trailer being released by February 14 of 2014, with accusations of Invisible Advertising being bandied about afterward. Except that none of the people involved with the film ever said anything of the sort. The rumour started with some random Lebanese news website, which claimed that the trailer would come on Feb. 7. Then movie news sites and Godzilla fan sites parroted that and then got the date changed to Feb. 14 along the line, and Godzilla fans subsequently got overhyped and then overly disappointed as a result.
    • While it's tempting to cite this film as yet another example of Hollywood's obsession with reboots, it's important to note that Warner Brothers' did not just thoughtlessly resurrect Godzilla for lack of any new ideas: Toho Studios previously decided to retire the series for ten years in 2004 following the Grand Finale of Godzilla Final Wars, and 2014 just marked the end of the planned hiatus. Godzilla was always going to come back in 2014, regardless of the current state of Hollywood.
  • Money Making Shot: The end of the Nature Has An Order TV spot features a clear, if brief, shot of Godzilla roaring up into the sky in broad daylight.
  • Narm: Even as a serious Godzilla movie, there are still a couple of moments.
    • Elizabeth Olsen's "running" in this scene.
    • "We call him...*dramatic head turn*...Gojira."
    • The way Godzilla finishes off the last Muto, which sort of looks like a Kiss of Death, can be seen as unintentionally silly.
    • The scene where the military investigate the nuke graveyard and find the female Muto escaped... leaving a giant hole in the side of the mountain and is clearly marching to Vegas in the midday sun. Failed a Spot Check of epic proportions.
    • There is nothing more hilarious than the line which explains that M.U.T.O stands for "Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism"...and then the same character immediately points out "except it can fly, so it's not really terrestrial." I guess MUFO "Massive Unidentified Flying Organism" isn't as catchy?
  • Narm Charm: There's charm in some of the above Narm moments, but moments where it works for the better are also plentiful.
    • The Muto courtship scene, where the male offers the female a nuclear warhead, comparable to the Spaghetti Kiss from Lady and the Tramp. Yes, it's kind of silly and clashes a bit with the mood of the film, but it also shows a more sympathetic side to the monsters.
    • Some of Godzilla's mannerisms make him come off as less an unstoppable juggernaut acting on nature's behalf and more a grumpy old man who simply wants everything to be done with. Surprisingly, this sort of works; his bouncing between the two gives him a large amount of sympathy and personality while reminding the audience he's a walking engine of chaos, both frightening and endearing the audience.
    • In the aftermath of the monster battle, the news banner declaring Godzilla to be "Savior of our City?" can feel a bit over the top, but what takes the cake is some San Francisco people cheering Godzilla. It doesn't last long, but it seems more like a reference to the cheesy films of the 60s and 70s, rather than the grim 1954 original that inspired the rest of the film.
  • Nightmare Retardant: Some audiences have described Godzilla's redesign as looking less like a terrifying force of destruction and more "pudgy and cute". Others are of the opinion that the traditional upright stance he assumes still carries unwanted "man in a suit" vibes.
  • Older Than They Think: Some people (mostly from countries where the Japanese films haven't been released) are expressing their surprise (and in some cases bitter disappointment) upon finding out that Godzilla was not, in fact, created by Roland Emmerich. Even if they are aware of the franchise's Japanese roots, a few still see the fact that the monster does battle with other giant creatures as a unique direction, at times comparing it to more recent "monster VS monster" flicks (like Mega Sharkvs Giant Octopus), even though he's been doing that in nearly every movie since 1955's Godzilla Raids Again. Likewise, his ability to shoot radioactive breath comes as a surprise to many who grew up on the 1998 film.
    • The movie's origin for Godzilla, that he was an ancient creature from an older, more radioactive Earth, was also used in Godzilla Raids Again.
    • While some cynical moviegoers might sneer at Warner Brothers' attempt at reviving the Godzilla franchise after it had lain dormant for ten years (citing it as yet another example of "Reboot Fever"), this is actually the second time that the series has taken a decade-long hiatus: the franchise was previously laid to rest between Terror Of Mechagodzilla (1975) and The Return Of Godzilla (1985), with the latter film bringing Godzilla back to his roots in a Darker and Edgier solo adventure.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Sam's unnamed bus-driver, who manages to get a couple of dozen kids through the apocalyptic battle of the Golden Gate Bridge without a scratch.
  • Only The Creator Does It Right: Some fans automatically dismiss the film, not on the grounds of its own merits or flaws, but because it is not from Toho.
  • Popularity Polynomial: After his last film in 2004, Godzilla has received very little public or internet attention. But once footage and trailers for this film started being released in December of 2013, Godzilla started trending very often on social network sites, leading to revived interest in the franchise specifically (hence why many of the films were brought back into circulation after years with no home video releases) and the Kaiju genre in general (hence the sustained interest in Pacific Rim and the Continuity Reboot for Gamera).
  • Replacement Scrappy: Ford Brody's Base-Breaking qualities are intensified after he replaces his father as the protagonist of the film.
  • Rooting for the Empire: This can certainly happen with the Mutos, for the sheer reason that they're the ones who drive the plot. They're badass, almost take Godzilla down, and their main goal is simply to reunite with each other. Aside from them, we have one interesting human character who only lasts half an hour, his son, who is seen by many as flat and uninteresting, and Godzilla himself, who gets sparse screentime compared to the Mutos, to the point that he's effectively a secondary character in his own movie.
  • Sequelphobic: The film got flak for it despite being released a full 10 years after Godzilla Final Wars.
  • Signature Scene: Thanks to the popularity of the teaser trailer, the HALO jump and the shot of Godzilla emerging from the ashy remains of several buildings as his silhouette is seen roaring became this for that movie well before it even came out.
  • Special Effects Failure: The film has a brief one in some rather obvious CGI insects in the scene were Dr. Brody and his son revisit their Japanese home to get information on Godzilla. While not as bad as some of the examples in the franchise, it's still incredibly jarring in contrast to the rest of the film's effects.
  • Squick:
    • The sticky white substance that the male Muto left behind on the wrecked nuclear submarine in Hawaii. It's supposed to be saliva, but it resembles semen, a resemblance that is easy to catch onto considering the plot involves the male trying to mate...
    • The pregnant female. Imagine a woman who is pregnant with several dozen babies and whose belly is translucent and glowing, and you wouldn't be too far off. There's also the scene where the eggs can be seen getting emptied out of her womb through the see-through skin.
  • Tainted by the Preview: Thankfully subverted. The "Smash3" tie-in game initially showed that Godzilla's spine did not light up when he charged his Atomic Breath, and the developers said this reflected how it was in the film. Fans weren't happy with this. However, when the game was released, the spine-glowing was restored - and it was eventually revealed that the spines do glow in the movie.
    • Ironically inverted with the actual film. A great deal of its Broken Base response comes from the fact that the trailers made Godzilla look like the main threat and Bryan Cranston look like the main character. This resulted in a polarizing reception when neither of these emerged in the film.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: There are fans who don't like how they changed Godzilla's roar, or design, or even atomic breath (which may seem weaker or less substantial than usual, partly due to how small it looks compared to Godzilla's bulk, and that its appearance is more akin to the Showa films' vapory blast rather than the more solid energy beam of the Heisei and Millenium films.)
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Joe Brody, who is regarded by critics and fans as the movie's best human character, dies in the first third of the film. His son, Ford, who replaces him as the human protagonist, is viewed to be less interesting by comparison.
    • Some feel Godzilla himself falls under this, as Muto drives most of the plot and Godzilla is only present to combat the creatures' existence.
    • Dr. Serizawa. While he's certainly no less developed than the average human Godzilla character (which isn't saying much), Ken Watanabe's Ichiro Serizawa is a pretty pale imitation of Akihiko Hirata's Daisuke Serizawa, lacking the emotional conflicts and the meaningful death that made the original character so memorable. This version turns Serizawa from a tortured, self-loathing stoic genius... to a generic Smart Guy who just exists to spout technobabble and the occasional word of wisdom. And he doesn't have a cool eyepatch.
    • Sally Hawkins' character also has shades of "They Wasted a Perfectly Good Actress," since she doesn't have much to do except help Serizawa with plot exposition.
    • The multi-legged monster from the very first teaser. All we ever see of it is one brief glimpse in the teaser, it never appears in subsequent trailers, and it was eventually confirmed to not appear in the final film. It wasn't even given an actual name.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Some critics feel that the Green Aesop and the nuclear geopolitics allegory that Gareth Edwards talked so much about in interviews leading up to the film's release were not as fleshed out as they should have been in the final product.
    • In one interview, he specifically characterized this film as portraying Godzilla as Gaia's Vengeance. Since this absolutely did not emerge in the final product, it makes one wonder if something was going on behind the scenes.
  • Too Cool to Live: Joe Brody. Narrowly subverted with Godzilla himself in the final battle.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • The MUTO's, when the two of them nuzzle each otherís faces after meeting up in San-Francisco can get this reaction from some people.
    • As noted in Nightmare Retardant, the King of Monsters himself gets this reaction as ell.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: The bland soldier protagonist is bland because he's in the same movie as scientists involved with conspiracies, secretive groups, and Godzilla who is what you're truly watching the movie for.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: In spite of all the debate about the monster designs, many agree that the Kaiju King and his enemies look fantastic, as do the rest of the effects with the HALO drop being a highlight.
  • What an Idiot: You'd think by the time Serizawa explains that the nuclear "tests" on Godzilla wouldn't do jack on him, the military would use other methods in handling the monsters. Nope, the military and the Pentagon decides it's a brilliant idea to use a higher kiloton nuke on all three monsters, despite the fact it's been established that the monsters literally eats nukes for breakfast. Even Serizawa believes it's a bad idea. Serizawa must've took notes from the Diet in 1984''.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?:
    • The Examiner wrote a piece speculating that the reason Godzilla seems fatter in this movie is for him to be a critique of the excesses of American greed and consumerism.
    • Breitbart notes that "only Barack Obama's Hawaii, Harry Reid's Nevada, and Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco are destroyed" and jokingly speculates that this was intended as a Take That against the Democrats.
    • William Tsutsui, author of ''Godzilla on My Mind'', suggests this film as being the turning of Godzilla into an American icon with the cheering he gets along with the MUTO love scene and violence being more overt than the Japanese films.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Gareth Edwards and the rest of the film crew have made a special point of emphasizing how this film is faithful to the Godzilla spirit. It worked for the most part, with mixed to positive reactions (with more enthusiastic responses elsewhere) and 500 million dollars worldwide at the box office.
  • The Woobie: Joseph Brody - the guy had to manually lock down the Janjira facility with his wife inside, who had followed his suggestion to investigate the facility in the first place. He is overwhelmed with guilt by this, which costs him a stable relationship with his son, much of his sanity, and respect from the scientific community, leaving him to suffer fifteen years of bitter loneliness as he searches for the truth. When it seems like he could save thousands of lives with the knowledge he's attained on the Muto, he dies.