Review by: Harry H.
With the story that began in Netflix’s Godzilla: Planet of Monsters continued in Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle, we must ask the age-old question; “Is it as good as the first?”
It’s not a massive improvement, but it was certainly a more interesting watch, and here’s why:
Exploration and development
Ok – so this film has a lot of dialogue, but this time around, it actually seemed to matter. The main problem with the first film was the unprecedented amount of boring and unnecessary blabber. There’s plenty of talking in City on the Edge of Battle, but it all seems to lead somewhere and progress the story.
The new monsters, however, are a bit crap, as we’re only really given a hentai version of the ‘Watcher in the Water’ from Lord of the Rings and the return of the flock of ‘Fellbeasts’ from Planet of Monsters. Two films down, and our planet of monsters is still very much lacking in decent monsters.
The action is great
And extremely anime. This particular Godzilla series flexes its muscles whenever it remembers that it’s set in the future. Sure, we have the ‘Infant Island’-esq tribe (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) and the biggest Godzilla ever – but these are trivial facts when it comes down to the film’s futuristic mecha-weaponry. The aerial battle scenes, in particular, were incredibly satisfying to watch.
Comments on humanitarian crisis
Godzilla was famous for originally being a personification of the atom bomb; showing what horrors come from nuclear war and that mankind’s destructive power has overstepped its mark. City on the Edge of Battle brings an interesting millennial twist, however, playing on our ever-growing dependency on technology and machines, and how it will be our downfall. The message is subtle, but that’s what gives it weight, and I would argue that it’s a perfect topic for our ‘future’ King of the Monsters.
There’s probably too much time spent on dialogue in the build-up to the final fight scene – the character development feels very familiar and the outcome of the pending climactic battle was obvious. It does, however, set the stage for the return of some classic Godzilla monsters in the next chapter of the saga – one directly referenced and another teased with subtle hints that only long-term fans will have spotted. I’m excited that we’re going to see some monster vs monster action in the next film, but they’re probably the two most featured monsters in the entire 30-something film franchise. Second, of course, to Godzilla himself.
I also can’t help feeling that they’ve made Godzilla a bit too overpowered. His size and strength give us a few breathtaking visuals, but for almost the entire film, our characters are preparing to go toe to toe with him. There was no mid-movie action piece; no testing of strengths and weaknesses. Everything up until ‘the big fight at the end’ was theorising. With such a massive emphasis on Godzilla’s power, there could only be one fight scene. It’s why having the biggest and baddest Godzilla ever is an advertiser’s dream and a screenwriter’s burden.
Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle gets a 7/10. It’s a step up from Planet of Monsters, primarily because it is more explorative and engaging. There’s more lore, more story, more intrigue, more purpose and it’s generally more entertaining. Whereas after Planet of Monsters I didn’t really want a sequel, I’m interested after City on the Edge of Battle to see where the saga will take us next.
Verdict: More engaging than its predecessor, but leaving a little more action to be desired.