Friday, 28 December 2018

Godzilla: City On The Edge Of Battle (2018) - Movie Review narrowly defeating a Godzilla, only to discover that the original Godzilla is still alive and as monstrous as ever, humanity’s last stand on Earth is in a difficult spot. That is, until they discover a tribe of people on the planet, descendants of humanity, who offer aid and another chance to take down the god of monsters. Knowing the diminishing returns when it comes to sequels, I’ll admit that I wasn’t expecting much from this one after just liking the first one and not much more. But man, this follow-up comes in hard.

For a start, it gets deeper into the world-building of this future Earth, and the results are quite fascinating. It seems that, in the 20 millennia interim, the ecosystem of the planet has adapted to better suit what has become the dominant species: Godzilla. The plants and wildlife, if not outright derived from Godzilla himself, have gained the ability to channel electromagnetic energy same as the legendary monster, creating a landscape that is not only inhospitable to human life, but has been changed so drastically that it could prove impossible to reverse.

It’s a definitely genre-weird idea, but one with a surprising amount of grounding when put into perspective with our history as a species. Humanity may not be the strongest or the most intelligent species on this planet, but it remains the most dominant, to the point where the majority of the Earth’s surface has been altered to suit our needs. We were given very few biological advantages in comparison to other mammals, but key among what we do have is our ambition, our ability to see the potential in the stasis of nature. We became the dominant species not by working with nature, but by actively fighting against it, from predatory animals to communicable diseases.

From here, the film’s depiction of the parallel between Godzilla and the human race makes for some poignant statements, not the least of which being how Godzilla’s continued survival is down to him working with nature, unlike what we’ve done so far. And the stakes in regards to what we must do in order to fight back can get quite harrowing, delving into Black Mirror-esque territory in showing how technology could be the answer… but it would be at the cost of losing what makes us human. It’s a classic trope in survival fiction, the idea of having to lose one’s self to the monstrous in order to defeat it, as well as notions of becoming the monster itself.

All of this equals an exceptionally perilous situation, one where the last stand of humanity are stuck on an unforgiving planet that was once their own, faced against the impossibly strong forces of nature and being torn between their will to survive and their will to ascend to something higher, as externalised by the Exif and the Bilusaluda, the two alien species that mankind have allied themselves with. It’s a depiction of the quintessential kaiju vs. human conflict that unearths heavy philosophical and humanistic ideas, paying off the introductions made in Planet Of The Monsters in highly satisfying ways. The conclusion to this trilogy won’t come out until early 2019, but hot damn, am I looking forward to how this story ends.

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