Shin Godzilla

Shin Godzilla ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Shin Godzilla is a strange film, albeit compared to contemporary monster films. Whereas those are occupied with spectacle, Shin Godzilla goes for a more dialogue-heavy route. Most of the major plot details are told through the eyes of politicians, who are unable to contain this devastating creature. It's no secret that the inspiration for this film was the Fukushima disaster from 2011. This film is criticising the lack and incompetence of the government during that time. Indeed, the old political guard is unable to contain Godzilla, being held back by their own rigid bureaucracy. Thankfully, there's the younger politicians who recognise the flaws and come with new ideas to battle the monster.

Whilst I like the message that the young generation should replace the old, outdated values, there's also the issue that there are some nationalist ideals in this film. Conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has praised its depiction of the military. And whilst the military does get decimated in the first part and are only integral in executing the younger politician's plan, the military is portrayed with a certain nobility. Eager to help and solidifying their position of providing aid... It is problematic how it fails to take into account the political power and military force an army can have. Or it has been glanced over for the sake of romanticising its military.

Yet, rather than devalue the film for its military message, it should also be noted how complex Japan's issue is towards its own history. There's a lot of anti-Americanism. No wonder with how the US crippled, scarred and humiliated Japan after WWII. The film even points attention to its own nuclear past and the effect it still has today. You have to forgive the film a bit for having military propaganda, as it feels like it's Japan finally starting to become independent. Even though it is a problematic topic.