Godzilla has been a destructive cinematic force ever since debuting in 1954. While Hollywood has been churning out films to build their MonsterVerse since Gareth Edwards' Godzilla film in 2014, Japan has been delivering quality over quantity when it comes to the most iconic kaiju of all time. Shin Godzilla firstly and now Godzilla Minus One comes rampaging into cinemas to end the year with a bang.

Japan is still reeling from the fallout of the war and things are about to get worse when the giant monster, Godzilla, emerges as a threat they may not be able to stop.
What stands out as Godzilla Minus One unfolds is just how great the film looks on such a considerably lower budget to just about every other blockbuster released this year, and also the MonsterVerse films made in Hollywood. It really does show what can be done when money is spent wisely because this film delivers amazing spectacle that fills the screen with its titular kaiju rampaging through Japan. Godzilla itself has such a spectacular design, particularly the way its atomic breath is both charged and utilised to devastating effect. This is the most destructive Godzilla I think I've ever seen and it further adds to the desperation of the people fighting back, a number of sequences throughout emphasising just how helpless they are.

I know it's always the last thing people care about in these films but what Godzilla Minus One does so incredibly well is give us human characters worth caring about. The postwar setting of 1940s Japan would be enough, hapless civilians having to band together using limited technology against such a ruthless threat however, Takashi Yamazaki writes compelling human characters amidst all the chaos. It's the most emotional Godzilla film and it's such a breath of fresh air that it doesn't just rely on smashing and crashing to get a response from its audience.
The performances really do sell the terror of being faced with such an unstoppable force like Godzilla, while also providing the film with a powerful emotional core that takes it to the next level. Ryusuke Kamiki leads the way with a fascinating turn full of guilt for his actions during the war as Kōichi Shikishima, while forging a strong adoptive parental relationship with Noriko Ōishi, a character brought to life with such care by Minami Hamabe. There's laughs and hardships along the way in their journey together and the pair share such great chemistry to make it such a captivating relationship to follow.

Godzilla Minus One is the best Godzilla film I've ever seen. The stripped back approach to it all and Godzilla being such a relentlessly destructive force is a great recipe for success. One of the best films of the year with stellar visuals and pounding sound design that deserves the cinematic experience.

Verdict: ★★★★★


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