Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle picks up immediately where Planet of the Monsters ended. Our heroes, defeated by the massive Godzilla, encounter a race of tribal humans with psychic powers. They learn the whereabouts of the remains of Mechagodzilla and try to get it up and running to fight against Godzilla.
This new series of Godzilla movies was originally intended as a TV show but were eventually strung together as a trilogy of features. (The conclusion of the trilogy is supposed to be released to Netflix later in the year.) Like Planet of the Monsters, there is a LOT of talk and the whole thing suffers whenever The G-Man isn’t on screen (which is most of the movie, I’m afraid). Part of the fun of the Godzilla series is seeing giant monsters stomp on cities and fight other giant monsters. Setting this trilogy in a future where Earth has become a desolate pseudo-metallic jungle was a bold choice. The downside is that it doesn’t offer much for old school fans like me. I mean, I can accept a CGI monster, even though I love men-in-suit ones. It’s just that they never find very much for Godzilla to do.
Godzilla certainly looks cool. I don’t know about his massive frame in this one (which makes him by far bigger than any of the other previous Godzillas), but the animation is such that it’s hard to get a sense of his scale, so it doesn’t really matter anyway. The revisionist idea that Mechagodzilla is a nanotechnological entity is intriguing. The problem is, the set-up is laborious, and the payoff is anticlimactic.
It’s not all bad though. The twin tribal girls are probably the best part of the movie. They’re kind of like a blend of the twins from Mothra and Jaylah from Star Trek Beyond. Maybe they’ll get something worthwhile to do in the conclusion of the trilogy.
Speaking of which, I’m sure all of this will get wrapped up eventually. There’s a post-credits stinger that teases the return of a fan favorite monster. Maybe the final installment will also contain some of the old school monster mashing that’s sorely lacking in the first two entries. As it stands, City on the Edge of Battle is a step down from Planet of the Monsters. It’s mostly a talk-fest, and what little Godzilla action we do get is disappointing and unsatisfying.
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