Friday, 23 May 2014

Movie Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past

Previous Review: Godzilla
Next Review: Maleficent

The X-Men film series has been "hit-and-miss" throughout the years, from the successful but not particularly great X-Men (2000) and X-Men United (2003), the mediocre and pointless Wolverine spin-off films (2009 and 2013), the terrible Last Stand (2006), to the exceptional First Class prequel (2011). It's been 14 years long since Bryan Singer directed the first X-Men film that kick-started the whole franchise. This time around, he's back again to direct the franchise's 7th instalment (His third X-Men film), Days of Future Past.

Loosely adapted from the 1981 Chris Claremont and John Byrne comic storyline of the same name, Days of Future Past intends to bridge the gap between the original trilogy of films and First Class, melding together the disjointed history of the X-Men world, erasing or fixing certain plot holes, continuity errors and inconsistencies that exist in the franchise, start anew and open up possibilities for future films. With that being said, this is considered the most epic and ambitious taking of the X-Men films to date.

Days of Future Past succeeds by fulfilling its long-term promise and achieve the 'impossible'. This film wouldn't work without a solid foundation laid over throughout the years. We have known some of these characters for so long (4 films, 2 spin-offs) that we can identify with them strongly. Fans would definitely be pleased with the numerous cameo appearances of Marvel characters in the film as well.

Because the film involves time travel (a story that jumps back and forth between 2023 and 1973), it is intensely plot-driven, linking the events that happened in past films together with historical events as part of the story. There's a brief mention of a character's involvement in the assassination of John F. Kennedy which leads to a prison break; a violent confrontation at the Paris Peace Accords of 1973 which leads to the creation of the Sentinels; the attempt of killing Richard Nixon. The film has decent pacing and story flow, successfully integrating both future and past timelines together, avoiding many of the typical time paradoxes without overcomplicating the story.

The film takes the best thing about the X-Men and show it to the audience: taking all these 'gifted' individuals and make them into a team, watch how they face and solve issues inherent to teamwork. Forget The Avengers. This film has two generation of mutants from two different timelines (14 of them) teaming up trying to prevent an apocalyptic future that could mean the extinction of both mutants and humans.

Finally, Marvel fans get to see how these individuals complement one another in terms of power, weakness and personality by teaming up to fight against an army of mutant-hunting Sentinels in order to survive. There's one amazing action sequence in the past involving Quicksilver, which is probably one of the film's highlights. The way he infiltrates and stages the prison break from a highly-secured Pentagon cell is simply brilliant. Not to mention, the song that comes with the scene is spot-on as well.

While many would have thought that this film is overcrowded with characters, but this is not the case. The film cleverly focuses on young Xavier's character arc, which acts as the central story that ties the various subplots and relates all the characters together into a single cohesive narrative, watching him go from a guy who lost nearly everything...his legs, his best friend, his adopted sister, his students due to the Vietnam War (his school as well) to a guy who will become the powerful, wise, compassionate teacher and leader of the X-Men in the future. There's a wonderfully shot, exceptionally acted, heartfelt moment in the film...the conversation between the young and old Xavier. “Just because someone stumbles and loses their way, doesn't mean that they're lost forever...Please...Charles, we need you to hope again...” pleads the older and wiser Xavier, with emotional heft and gravitas to his broken and disheartened younger self.

However, the franchise has yet to provide a compelling central villain that poses a huge threat to the X-Men. The series have always been repeatedly dwelling with themes of discrimination, prejudice and social injustice...with the human race always in conflict with the mutants. (This will soon change in the next sequel) There's another gripe regarding the CGI effects presented in the film. Some of the shots aren't realistic enough and shown to be rather sloppy, which is definitely not to be expected from a high-budget Hollywood blockbuster film.

In my opinion, it is the best X-Men film in the franchise so far (better than First Class). This film have left me incredibly hopeful for the upcoming sequel, X-Men: Apocalypse. A highly recommended film.

Rating: 9/10

Note: As usual with many Marvel films, please stay for the after-credits scene. It's rather important for what's about to come for the sequel.

For Days of Future Past character list, please take a look at my previous post:

For better understanding, the following links shows the X-Men movie timeline: 

“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” - Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States

Previous Review: Godzilla
Next Review: Maleficent

Thursday, 22 May 2014

List of Characters in X-Men films


The purpose of this article is to provide further understanding about the abilities of the characters appearing in the X-Men films. 

Note that there are differences regarding the mutant abilities of some characters in the film compared with their original comic counterparts (some greatly enhanced and exaggerated, while some remain the same or greatly weakened).

The concise details about the mutant abilities provided below are sourced from wikia.

Charles Xavier (Professor X)
Leader of the X-Men and founder of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. An immensely powerful telepath with genius-level intellect. A leading authority on genetics, mutation, and psionics. A masterful tactician and strategist, capable of evaluating situations and devising swift responses accordingly. He believes that mutants and humanity can coexist peacefully. He has been unable to walk due to severe spinal damage, suffered when one of the bullets Magneto bounced off using his magnetic powers hit him in 1962.
  • Able to make himself invisible by manipulating the minds of others. 
  • Able to telepathically communicate with others. 
  • Able to sense where nearby mutants are. This ability is further enhanced when he uses Cerebro.
  • Able to manipulate the minds of others to get them to do what he wants them to do.
  • Able to enter the mind of another to control their body and see from their perspective. 
  • Able to make others fall asleep just by telling them to.
  • Able to transfer his consciousness into a host body.
  • Able to mentally paralyse others, making it appear as if time has been stopped.
  • Able to develop a mental link with any person which remains as a connection to that individual. 
  • Able to cause loss of particular memories and amnesia in another person or group of people. 

Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto)
Leader and founder of the Brotherhood of Mutants. A founding member of the X-Men and good friends with Professor X. An excellent strategist, tactician, and skilled leader. He has the ability to manipulate magnetic force fields and magnetic flight. He believes that mutants are far superior than humans and therefore they should rise above them.
  • Able to control over all forms of magnetism - utilizes that control to manipulate ferrous metals and achieve a variety of effects. 
  • Able to manipulate iron within a person's blood. (organic iron manipulation)
  • Able to 'fly' by gliding on the Earth's electromagnetic field.

 James Howlett (Logan or Wolverine)
A senior member of X-Men. A long-lived mutant with Adamantium claws, animal-like senses and regenerative healing. Due to his war experiences, he is proficient in handling any firearms and an expert combatant. Have strong feelings for Cyclops' fiancée, Jean Grey. When Jean's power goes out of control and become Phoenix, he reluctantly kills her by stabbing her with his adamantium claws.
Adamantium claws:
  • Wolverine's claws were originally his own bones, three retractable claws on each hand, but his bones were later bonded with an indestructible metal called adamantium. These metal claws allow him to cut through any substance. 
Regenerative Healing Factor:
  •  Able to heal various wounds and can completely heal in a matter of seconds. The healing factor dramatically slows down Wolverine's aging process, allowing him to live over 190 years but with the appearance of an adult between the ages of 30 and 40. His natural healing also affords him virtual immunity to poisons and drugs. He also exhibits considerable vitality.
Superhuman Strength:
  • Able to carry himself, despite the fact that adamantium, a heavy metal is bonded with his bones.
Enhanced smell of scent and hearing: 
  • Able to track down and identify people through their scent alone.
  • Able to sense the emotional state of animals on a basic level such as fear, anger, happiness or pain. 
Psionic Resistance: 
  • Able to resist some forms of telepathic manipulation (with limitation), particularly tactile hypnosis. 

Raven Darkholme (Mystique)
A mutant with the ability to shape-shift into anyone and also copy their voice. An adopted sister of Professor X and they share a deep bond by growing up together. After joining Magneto to fight for mutant cause and helping him to form the Brotherhood of Mutants, she gradually becomes a ruthless assassin. An expert hand-to-hand combatant, she's a formidable opponent. 
  • Able to alter the formation of her biological cells at will. She can look and sound like an exact duplicate of any human of either sex, wearing virtually any kind of clothing. She can also make herself look exactly like a person who is physically bigger than herself, though she will not weigh as much as the real person does. Her powers also slowed down her aging process. Although she can maintain the form of a person in terms of height, weight, and build indefinitely, the longer that she maintains the form, the greater the strain she feels. If she stays in a particular form for a long time, her eyes briefly turn yellow, potentially revealing her identity. She also cannot copy other mutants' powers.

Hank McCoy (Beast) 
A mutant with beastial appearance. A genius with extraordinary expertise in genetics, biochemistry, physics, electronics and other subjects. He was one of Professor X's students and was also a teacher in the Xavier Institute. He was Mystique's love interest in First Class.
His beastial form grants him: 
  • superhuman strength 
  • superhuman speed. 
  • superhuman stamina.
  • superhuman endurance
  • superhuman agility, balance, bodily coordination
  • superhuman dexterity
  • superhuman leap
  • beasty sharp claws and fangs.

Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat)
A student (and a teacher in the future) at Xavier's School of Gifted Youngsters. She had a brief romantic relationship with Bobby (Iceman), but married to Colossus in the future.
  • Able to pass through solid matter and objects by passing her atoms through the spaces between the atoms of the object through which she is moving. In this way she and the object can temporarily merge without interacting, and each is unharmed during the process. While phasing, she is intangible. When attacked, she can shift into a “phasing” state (even if she is not passing through an object) to allow oncoming projectiles or energy blasts to pass through her harmlessly. She passes through objects at the same rate of speed at which she is moving.
  • Through her phasing powers, she is able to send someone's consciousness back or forward in time into their younger/older self, or into a close ancestor/descendant. However, the longer someone’s mind is out of their body, the more strain it causes her.

Ororo Munroe (Storm)
An Egyptian mutant orphan who can control weather who finds a father figure in Apocalypse and becomes the first of his horsemen, known as Famine. Years later, she becomes the co-leader of the X-Men and a teacher at Xavier's School of Gifted Youngsters.
  • Able to control the weather and all of its forms with ease (tempests, lightning, thunderstorms, hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes or mist). With the power of wind, Storm gains the ability of flight by making the wind lift her up in the air.

Bobby Drake (Iceman)
A student at Xavier's School of Gifted Youngsters. A powerful mutant who can freeze anything around him and turn his body into ice.
  • Able to generate ice and snow from his body as well as manipulate it. He used this ability to freeze various things as well as project ice and snow from his hands. He is also able to turn his body into an organic ice form.

Peter Maximoff (Quicksilver)
A mutant who has the ability of super speed. In comics, he's son of Magneto and he has a sister, Scarlet Witch. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch both appear in the Avenger's sequel, Age of Ultron but played by different actors and they're considered different characters due to movie rights issue.
Both characters can be used by either Marvel Studios or 20th Century Fox providing that the former doesn't refer them as mutants or stating them as Magneto's kids and the latter doesn't mention anything about their allegiance to the Avengers.
Super speed:
  • Able to run at speed of sound.

Peter Rasputin (Colossus)
A student (and teacher in the future) at Xavier's School of Gifted Youngsters. A member of the X-Men.
Organic Steel Transformation:
  • Able to convert the tissue of his entire body into an organic steel-like substance at will (the process is virtually instantaneous) and remain in that form until he consciously turns himself back to normal. If he is rendered unconscious, however, he spontaneously reverts to his normal form. This armor form grants him:
  • Superhuman Strength
  • Superhuman Stamina
  • Superhuman Durability - invulnerable to most forms of bodily harm. His form is capable of withstanding ballistic penetration, survive extreme temperature or falls from great heights.

Clarice Ferguson (Blink)
A future member of the X-Men.
  • Able to create dimension-warping portals which can teleport herself, people and objects at will.

Roberto Da Costa (Sunspot) 
A mutant with the ability to absorb and channel solar power. A future member of the X-Men.
Solar Radiation Absorption:
  • Able to absorb solar energy and release it when necessary to enhance his physical strength.

Lucas Bishop
A future member of the X-Men.
Energy absorption and redirection:
  • Able to absorb all forms of radiant or conductive energy that are directed towards him and release that energy from his body in various forms. This power is passive, allowing Bishop to absorb energy at all times.

James Proudstar (Warpath)
A mutant who possesses superhuman physical ability in virtually all areas. A future member of the X-Men.
  • superhuman strength
  • superhuman resistance to injury
  • superhuman agility and flexibility
  • superhuman senses – particularly sight, smell, and hearing – are enhanced to levels beyond the capabilities of a normal human.
  • power of flight

Marie D'Ancanto (Rogue) 
A student at Xavier's School of Gifted Youngsters. She is a member of the X-Men and the girlfriend of Bobby (Iceman). A mutant whom whenever someone makes contact with her skin, she will absorb their powers and/or memory or if held long enough, kill them. 
Power and Life Absorption:
  • Able to absorb the life energy, personality, memories and even mutant powers of every person she touches. However, the power absorption is temporary and she is unable to control this power, which is why she covers every part of her body except her head. If she touches them for too long, she could kill them.

Scott Summers (Cyclops)
A mutant with the ability to fire optic blasts from his eyes. A member of the X-Men and eventually became the X-Men's field leader. He was also one of Professor X's students and a teacher in the Xavier Institute. He's Jean Grey's fiancée.
Optic Blasts:
  • Able to release powerful continuous blasts from his eyes. However, it is uncontrollable. He constantly wears special glasses made of ruby quartz to prevent destruction.

Jean Grey (Phoenix)
The most powerful mutant in the X-Men film series. She was one of Professor X's students, a teacher in the Xavier Institute and a member of the X-Men. She's Scott Summers' fiancée. She possesses powerful psionic abilities such as telepathy (surpasses even Professor X) and telekinesis. Professor X fears that her powers is far too powerful and dangerous for her own good, so he creates psychic barriers to restrain her powers, which ultimately causes her to develop a darker persona over the years: Phoenix. If she becomes emotionally unstable, she loses control of her powers and turns into Phoenix.
  • Able to lift objects at will with her mind. When her Phoenix persona is awakened, she could manipulate the physical properties of the object.
  • Able to fly just by using her mind (telekinetic flight).
  • Able to disintegrate any opponents at will. (With Phoenix persona).
  • Able to read minds and telepathically communicate with others.
  • Able to develop a mental link with any person which remains as a connection to that individual.
  • Able to possess the mind of another, and use that being's body as her own.
  • Able to create telepathic blasts which can induce pain, knock out or even kill a person. (With Phoenix persona).
  • Able to create telepathic illusions to make herself seem to be invisible, look like someone else, or make others experience events that are not truly happening.

Alex Summers (Havok)
A mutant, possibly related to Scott Summers, who has the ability to generate strong plasma blasts. He previously joined the X-Men to stop the Cuban Missile Crisis. A soldier who serve the Vietnam War until being sent home by Mystique after being discovered as a mutant.
Ambient Energy Conversion:
  • Able to absorb cosmic radiation into the cells of his body and transform it in to energy. After Hank made him a suit to channel his energy blasts, he could then shoot plasma beams from a panel on his chest.

Mortimer Toynbee (Toad)  
A mutant who will be a future member of the Brotherhood of Mutants. He has a toad-like appearance, has the ability to leap far distances, spit out slime and has a strong and flexible 13-ft long tongue. A soldier who serve the Vietnam War until being sent home by Mystique after being discovered as a mutant.
His mutant toad appearance grants him:
  • Prehensile Tongue - Has strong elastic tongue that can stretch up to 13-ft. He used this to fight, stop him from falling and to catch small animals to eat it.
  • Slime Spit – Able to spit slime which makes the target unable to breathe.
  • Superhuman Leaping - Able to leap further distances than most people or mutants. He could jump long distances for travel or climb around areas.

Eric Gitter (Ink)
A mutant who possesses different abilities for every tattoo he has printed on his body. A soldier who serve the Vietnam War until being sent home by Mystique after being discovered as a mutant. A future member of the X-Men.
Mutant Tattoos grants him:
  • bio hazard symbol on his right palm: make someone extremely ill.
  • tattoos of wings on his back: flight.
  • tattoo on his left hand: superhuman strength.
  • tattoo of explosion on his right biceps: allows him to blow up objects. He could punch through a wall.
  • lightning bolt tattoos on his head: mind reading, but can be easily blocked by psi-shields.
  • Caduceus symbol on top of his right hand: heal others.
  • Phoenix Force symbol over his eye: allows him to produce life-force energies.

Mutant Soldier (Not sure if it's Spyke - Evan Daniels)
 A mutant able to manipulate people’s sense of balance. He has retractile spikes distributed all over his skull, seemingly able to extend or retract bone spikes that grow inside his body.

Bolivar Trask 
The main antagonist of X-Men: Days of Future Past. He is the president and CEO of Trask Industries, the inventor of the mutant-hunting Sentinels, who thinks that mutants are a major threat to the human race.

William Stryker  
A covert operations specialist and military scientist who worked tirelessly over several decades to solve the "mutant problem". He's responsible for the development of Weapon X project (making Wolverine virtually indestructible by grafting adamantium onto his entire skeletal structure) and provide help with the Sentinel program. 

Sentinels - Past and Future Versions
A group of mutant hunting robots created by Bolivar Trask with help from William Stryker and the US government to exterminate the mutants. Future sentinels were capable of adapting to and counteracting mutants super-powers almost instantly, making them lethal and difficult to destroy by mutants.

En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse)
An ancient mutant born 5000 years ago, believed to be the first and most powerful mutant, born with a variety of superhuman abilities. Apocalypse always accompanied by four individuals (usually mutants he deemed powerful) that have been genetically altered and mentally conditioned to serve him, either willingly or forcibly. They are enhanced or endowed with new abilities, and are always given the same titles based upon the biblical Four Horsemen (Death - Archangel, Famine - Storm, Pestilence - Psylocke and War - Magneto). He will serve as the primary antagonist in the upcoming sequel, X-Men: Apocalypse. 
His mutant powers and abilities in comics:
Superhuman Strength: 
  • Able to further increase his strength by drawing upon outside energy sources.
  • Highly resistant to injuries.
  • Able to fly, by either transforming his arms into wings, jets, or through telekinetic use.
  • Able to teleport himself and others around vast distances across the planet.
Bio-Molecular Alteration/Manipulation: 
  • Has control over the molecular structure of his body and can alter or reshape it at will. He can adapt his molecular structure to any adversity. He can alter his appearance, allow his body to become extremely malleable, maintain his full dexterity, and elongate his body or limbs. He can increase or decrease the size of his body by taking on additional mass or eliminating it from an external source. This ability enhances his physical abilities as he can transform his limbs into weapons or wings and jets, regenerate from fatal injuries, adapt his body to apparently any disease or hostile environment and give him virtually any physical superhuman power.
Energy Absorption: 
  • Able to absorb energy and mass to augment his strength and power.
Superhuman Speed: 
  • Able to speed up his reflexes and reaction time.
Force-Field generation: 
  • Able to create force fields.
Energy Projection: 
  • Able to project massive energy blasts of destructive force. He can also expel energy from his body.
  • Able to levitate oneself or that of others by sheer force of will.
  • His body was immortal and he had lived for thousands of years. His molecular rearrangement ability has allowed him to constantly renew his cells.
  • Able to directly interface with various technologies he has at his disposal.
  • Due to his old age and genius-level intellect, has knowledge in various areas of advanced science and technology. He is also a master strategist.
Apocalypse blood: 
  • Able to heal other mutants, but is fatal for humans. Apocalypse's blood can also restore his de-powered mutant descendants.

Elizabeth Braddock (Psylocke)
A mutant with telepathic and telekinetic abilities, who becomes the second of Apocalypse's horsemen, known as Pestilence. Her abilities also include projecting purple psychic energy, usually into the form of an energy blade that can burn through metal. When using her telepathic powers, a butterfly-shaped purple aura appears around her face.
  • Able to move objects from a distance and fly at will with her mind (although she has shown little inclination to do either in combat situations).
  •  Telekinetic Weapons - Psionic Knife - the focused totality of her psychic powers, by intensely channelling and focusing her psionic powers to her hands to create “psychic blades”, razor-sharp edges of pure mental energy which are said to be the ultimate physical manifestation of her powers. It is able to kill. Able to create multiple types of psionic weapons that differ in size, length and power which she uses in combat.
  • Able to affect and manipulate the minds of other sentient beings.
  • Able to read minds and communicate mentally with others over long distances. When she telepathically communicates with another person over a distance, that person often perceives her presence as a butterfly-like image bearing large eyes on its wings.
  • Telepathic Tracking - able her to detect and track other sentient beings by their unique psionic emanations (thought patterns contained in the psionic portion of the spectrum).

Caliban works as an underground mutant-broker with Psylocke as his bodyguard.
X-factor detection:
  • Able to sense and track other mutants.

Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler)
A German teleporting mutant who's rescued by Raven (Mystique) and one of Charles Xavier's new students. 
      · Able to teleport himself and others around vast distances across the planet (as long as he knows the place).

Warren Worthington III (Angel/Archangel)
A mutant with bird-like feathered wings who becomes the third horseman known as Death, gaining metallic wings that able to fire metallic blades as a result of genetic manipulation/enhancement by Apocalypse.

Jubilation Lee (Jubilee)
A new Chinese-American mutant student at Charles' school who has the ability to create psionic energy plasmoids.

Sean Cassidy (Banshee)
A mutant capable of emitting incredibly strong ultrasonic screams, sonic blasts, sonic bursts, and sonic waves used in various ways including as a means of flight. He died in between 1962 and 1973. He was among those mutants experimented on and killed by Bolivar Trask, which Mystique realized when she saw his autopsy report.

Nathaniel Essex (Mister Sinister)
The post-credits scene in X-Men: Apocalypse takes us back to the Weapon X facility where Wolverine’s skeleton was bonded with adamantium. Just like in the original movies, this was overseen by William Stryker, but in this new timeline, Logan was freed from his cell and unleashed on Stryker's soldiers. A mysterious figure appear in this facility to find what he's looking for: a vial of Wolverine's blood marked "Weapon X." Satisfied with finding his prize, he sticks the vial in a briefcase labeled "ESSEX CORP." The name might be new to the X-Men movie universe, but many X-Men fans would know that the briefcase refers to Nathaniel Essex, a.k.a. Mister Sinister.

In the comics, Nathaniel Essex was a 19th century geneticist conducting unethical and dangerous experiments for the sake of accelerating evolution via mutation. Soon he crossed paths with Apocalypse, who transformed him into Mister Sinister. Thanks to Apocalypse's genetic alteration, he was given abilities like telekinesis, mind manipulation, shapeshifting, energy projection, regeneration and more. All this, combined with his own natural intellect, makes him one of the X-Men's most dangerous enemies. 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Movie Review: Godzilla

Previous Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

After the failed 1998 version of Godzilla, a Jurassic Park ripoff (there are many scenes lifted shot-for-shot from Jurassic Park) which nearly destroyed the franchise by making the titular monster looked nothing more than a giant iguana with spikes that makes more giant iguana babies (The Japanese hated the 1998 version so much that they named it as 'Zilla', without 'god' and they even have a film (Godzilla: Final Wars) where 'Zilla' get blown to bits by the real Godzilla), Hollywood decided to make another American reboot once again for the well-known Japanese pop-culture icon. So, this time, does it truly deliver? YES, in spades.

From the menacing look...the thunderous roar...the humongous 108m (355ft) size...the trademark back plates...the gargantuan tail whip...the signature atomic breath...The newly-designed Godzilla is more faithful to its Japanese origins, done with Hollywood’s state-of-art CGI effects (instead of a man-in-suit costume). It should be noted that Godzilla is a word taken from 'Gojira', a combination of two Japanese words: gorira ("gorilla") and kujira ("whale"), which explains his enormous size, strength and aquatic origin. The film respects the monster’s dark nuclear roots by showing the nuclear tests done in the past as attempts to kill it (although it enhanced the creature in the process, making it bigger and stronger than before).

However, there's a slight complaint (I believe from other fans as well) that Godzilla is rather fat, but it's understandable considering the fact that he's been spending most of his time in the deep seas, in hibernation or deep slumber, for many years. The film done a fine job in portraying the monsters, showing them as animals (despite their enormous size and abilities) trying to survive, willing to do what it takes to defend their territory or reproduce. The CGI was really good and realistic, the shots of godzilla or the MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms) appearing on screen were nothing short of incredible.

This film is slightly different than the similar-themed Pacific Rim in terms of plot structure. It chooses to gradually reveal Godzilla's body parts (the spiky back plates in the Pacific, the gigantic tail, the stomping foot, the massive chest, etc) from various human viewpoint camera angles before making his full appearance and even hold back the Kaiju battles until the end.

While many would find this a turn-off or feel frustrated for the unexpected off-screen initial battles (although the battles are shown on news TV in the film), it is not the case for me. The film gave us several unexpected yet breathtaking close shots of the MUTOs along the way to keep us entertained before the big guy comes in. At the same time, these monster shots give us a sense of scale, an understanding of monsters' massive sizes before the climatic battle begins. It builds up the anticipation for the finale. Otherwise, an overexposure of these monsters earlier in the film might leave the audience feel exhausted and develop repetitive feeling of scenes as the film progresses (The monsters in this film are rather limited compared to Pacific Rim). The gradual build-up does pay off in the end. I was genuinely awestruck the moment Godzilla appears on-screen, stomping on buildings and makes his first roar.

The Kaijus remain as the central story that ties many of the human characters together in the film. The darker tone and level of seriousness in the film gives the sense of urgency and danger for the events that are about to happen. Gone are the silly, cheesy acting, lame humour, and lighter tone of the 1998 version. We get to see the Ford family and how the existence of these monsters affect their lives, the research team that tries to understand the behaviour of these creatures, the Navy troops, under the command of an Admiral, tries to stop these creatures from wiping out the entire human race. These stories works together as a functional narrative that connects all the pieces (although it feels contrived and too convenient at certain parts).

The acting was good. Ken Watanabe, David Strathairn, Juliette Binoche and Elizabeth Olsen all provide decent performances in their respective roles. Bryan Cranston delivered a brilliant on-screen performance despite his limited screen time in the film. However, Aaron Taylor-Johnson's character does fall a bit flat and it's a shame considering that he has a lot screen time compared to the rest of the casts.

Overall, Godzilla is an awe-inspiring spectacle that delivers. It left me wanting for more. This is the King of Monsters we've been wanting to see. The climatic battle in San Francisco is truly rewarding and definitely worth the wait.

Rating: 8/10

Which monster design is better in your opinion?
 Left: 1998 'Zilla'                                                               Right: 2014 Godzilla. 

It took 762 MPC artists to create the 355-foot monster in the Godzilla film; and 1,100 Intel Xeon processors to render the computerized creature. 500,000 Polygons used by MPC artists to create the Godzilla 3D model. It would take 445 Years to render Godzilla on a single computer.  

The following monster comparison pics obtained from the internet show the scale of Godzilla:
(click to enlarge)