Following the surprisingly interesting "Monsters", Gareth Edwards is back for his second outing with a daunting task -- portraying the classic tale of Godzilla in a fresh way. Does he succeed? He certainly does.
Campy, outrageous, and comical are some words that come to mind when thinking of the absurd amount of Godzilla movies that were made. With Edwards' fresh new take on "Godzilla", the mythical beast has once again become a feared and mysterious force. All this is credit to Edwards' smartly built up tension. Perhaps through 45 minutes of the movie do you even see Godzilla, but it keeps audiences gripped and anxious to finally feast their eyes on the monster. And when you do, wow, what a sight to behold. The special effects are absolutely stunning. And as the movie progresses, it continues to reward audiences with more and more with a fire-breathing finale that is nothing short of crowd-pleasing. Funnily, "The Avengers" suffers because it didn't take the same approach "Godzilla" did; what should've been a jaw-dropping union between a handful of comic book superstars becomes a limp and weak get-together. Kudos Edwards.
However, one of the biggest issues monster films tend to get stuck on are the lackluster human stories. "Cloverfield" was superbly effective because the narrative was completely focused on the human side of a monster attack. This is where "Godzilla" stumbles to an extent. For a film that is trying to portray a much grittier tone, the writing was jarringly campy. However, the brilliantly casted Bryan Cranston lifts what is a lackluster script to supreme levels. Yes, his portrayal as Walter White in the "Breaking Bad" series was excellent, but Cranston does a jaw-droppingly phenomenal job here.
"Godzilla" is a breath of fresh air for what was becoming a very stale movie franchise, but it does have many faults such as the writing and the weak human story, but this a very good step in the right direction for what is an iconic monster.
Spike Lee, dare I say, is the first Hollywood spokesman of black culture, and what do you know, Denzel's involved with another one of his projects, "He Got Game".
"He Got Game" may just seem like just another basketball movie but underneath the hood is a compelling story about tension between a father and son. And for the most part, the story sells itself. Coupled with the great Denzel and even Ray Allen, there's a lot of opportunity. However, because this film was made near the beginning of the permeation of black culture into Hollywood, it fails to develop a true tone that encapsulates what black culture is truly about. Don't get me wrong -- Spike Lee vividly portrays the culture through the narrative, but the writing and the score becomes extremely tacky. Raw and gritty scenes occur throughout which is, at times, shocking but it's all paired with a very "Disney" like music. It's extremely jarring.
In the end, it's all about how effective the movie was. And was it? Absolutely. With the sharp direction from the eyes of Spike Lee, to the superb acting from Denzel, "He Got Game" not only sells itself as a captivating story, but also as a solid film.