Godzilla: Final Wars is Toho's sendoff to their flagship franchise for the forseeable future (they've said they might consider reviving Godzilla in time for his 60th birthday if there's still interest), and if it turns out that this is the Big G's final big screen appearance, I was left entertained, but not wholly satisfied.
the plot is simple, and should've been more than effective at setting up a good Godzilla flim: Aliens mysteriously appear offering to help Earth with its giant monster problems, only to turn the tables and use the monsters in a bid to take over the planet. So it's up to Godzilla and a ragtag band of humans to strike back against overwhelming odds and save the day.
The other reviewers are right: the crew of this movie definately seemed to be going for a different vibe. There was way too much emphasis on the humans. For cripes' sake, aside from an opening flashback, Godzilla doesn't even show up in HIS OWN MOVIE until near the halfway point. That's inexcusable. How would fans react if James Bond didn't show up until the midway point of Goldeneye? This is a Godzilla flim, not a "bunch of humans" film costarring Godzilla.
Then we are treated to almost every action movie cliche they can throw at us. The outcast hero who discovers his true potential? check. The gruff, but supposedly lovable military man who rubs his COs the wrong way? check (and played by an American who gained fame in Japan through MMA-style competitions. He speaks undubbed English through the entire movie, and can inexplicably communicate with everyone who's speaking Japanese. Plus he's not really an actor and it shows) The antagonist jerk who redeems himself in the end? check. sublimated love story? Sorta check. Heroic sacrifices? check. You get the idea. And then we get to the point where it becomes clear that this director must love The Matrix a little too much. When the scene comes late in the movie, you'll know what I'm talking about. Oh, and I almost forgot the silly "around the world" scenes. Everything from the hilariously stereotypical 80s-ish fight between an NYC cop and a pimp (where their dialogue does not come even close to fitting their lip movements, and it doesn't take a genius to realize they dubbed over a ton of profanity), to the weird use of Vancouver (yay for finally some Canadian recognition) to show a strange kid who seems too old to have his face covered in chocolate and playing with little Kaiju (Japanese movie monster) figures yelling "bam bam" then tossing one into the fireplace.
But putting aside the humans (if that can be done), there are flaws with the monster stuff too. All the battles around the world are given weird color tints. Like we need to know that it's a specific region by the colour that everything is tinted. In fact, the whole movie is often plagued with bizarre lighting.
But the battles themselves are the biggest letdowns. I know Godzilla is the king of the monsters. he's supposed to be the biggest baddest Kaiju in the Toho library. But the way he smacks down almost every opponent in a minute or less is disappointing. Several fights are over in less than 20 seconds, and although the one versus the US Godzilla (done in impressive CGI considering how much Toho dislikes using it) is fun, seeing other monsters get tossed aside the same way is annoying. It's like they were given the run of the whole collection of monsters, and wanted to cram as many in as possible without sacrificing their "invaluable" human plot elements.
You'll want to buy this movie to complete your collection, and it's an OK film if you're willing to forgive the excessive human content. However, it's probably the weakest Godzilla flim in a long while, simply because it neglects the true spirit of Godzilla flims so much.