Gareth Edwards‘ Godzilla is this summer’s second wannabe blockbuster chronologically, but on a more qualitative scale it’s a hell of a lot better (and on its way to being more successful) than The Amazing Spider-Man 2. It’s a solid piece of summer entertainment that satisfies the senses with breathtaking visuals, tremendous sound design and a true sense of scale and power.
It’s also dumb as Godzooky. (Well, almost.)
Awesome parts aside, the film features several moments and scenes that left us bewildered and scratching our heads. Of course it’s a summer movie, a monster movie to boot, but the argument that a movie can’t be both fun and smart is a non-starter. This one leaves a lot of unanswered questions behind — admittedly far fewer than the hilarious Pacific Rim did — so we’re here to ask them.
To be clear, this isn’t where I ask why the film repeatedly cut away from the massive monster destruction happening in Honolulu and Las Vegas just to follow the lame human stories. Or why the Brody family was conveniently located at the center of each and every monster attack. Or how Godzilla, a 300 foot-tall monster, manages to sneak up on anyone. Or why a certain character billed as a lead– well, let’s get to the actual unanswered questions about Godzilla. Spoilers below obviously.
#1) Why doesn’t the U.S. military (or anyone) fire missiles or torpedoes at Godzilla or the MUTOs on their way to San Francisco?
I know what you’re going to say — either it’s because Godzilla’s a “good guy” or because EMPs knocked out the military’s electrical gear — but both of these excuses just don’t fly. The opening credits and later exposition tells us that Godzilla was bombed back into the ground under the guise of atomic bomb testing, so obviously we (mankind) see him as a threat. His arrival in Hawaii results in a clash with the flying MUTO, but that action wouldn’t automatically counter the view that he’s a threat to humanity. The military even plans on nuking all three monsters together, so clearly they’re willing to attack him. And if the EMP was the issue their aircraft carrier and other ships would all be dead in the water instead of happily sailing alongside Godzilla’s wake like Chester to the monster’s Spike.
#2) If the second MUTO was “vivisected” before being dropped in the nuclear repository in Utah how can it be considered dormant and still alive?
Dr. Vivienne Graham says she “vivisected” the second pod, meaning she surgically explored the creature while it was still alive, a process that usually leaves the subject dead. But are we to assume that they then dumped a still-living creature into the nuclear vault? Besides being dumb on its face that also means the scientists chose not to study the creature through autopsy and detailed examination, something I think scientists would probably do with such an incredible new life-form.
#3) How did no one know notice an entire side of the mountain blown out and a giant creature crawling towards Las Vegas?
The military arrives at the mountain vault to check on the second MUTO pod only to discover that not only did it hatch but the giant creature also blew out the side of the mountain and is currently walking towards the nearest city. I’m thinking this is the kind of thing that someone would have noticed. I get that the film wanted the visual impact of the escape, but come on people.
#4) Why doesn’t the MUTO eat the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier or the nukes that it’s carrying on its way to San Francisco?
We’re told that it sensed and destroyed the Russian submarine earlier, but in addition to the numerous other nuclear subs, both foreign and domestic, patrolling the ocean at any given time, there’s this very obvious nuclear-powered aircraft carrier too. Should have been an obvious target no?
#5) Why take the nukes by train?
Again, the easy answer here is that they wanted an analog form of transportation to avoid the EMPs, but after the MUTO destroys the train a helicopter comes within a matter of minutes to retrieve the surviving nuke and soldiers. So why not just use the chopper to begin with? Or maybe even a plane? It would have made for a far more direct route, and they could have circumvented the MUTO’s EMP range.
#6) Why doesn’t the MUTO eat/take the missile that fell into the river?
The MUTO takes one of the two nukes but inexplicably leaves the second in the river. The military retrieves it, still intending to lure the monster(s) out into the ocean for the explosion, but why assume it would attract the creature when it clearly wasn’t interested enough to even reach an arm into a river for it?
#7) Why evacuate to Oakland?
If you’re rushing to leave San Francisco to avoid a fire or a rabid badger, then I get it, go to Oakland. But if the threat is in the form of a giant 300 foot-tall lizard I’d suggest keeping that evacuation moving well inland instead of stopping just the other side of the bay. Any creature that crossed the Pacific Ocean isn’t going to be put off by the San Francisco Bay.
#8) Why are people still at the desks working well after the city falls under attack?
There’s a shot in the third act, well into the monsters’ attack on San Francisco, where we see people calmly working at their computers until one of the MUTOs flies into view outside the window and slams a wing into the building. San Francisco is not a big city. A giant monster attack at one end of Market Street wouldn’t be a surprise to people at the other. Even if they didn’t hear the destruction or see the smoke, someone in an office would see the news reports, because seriously, people working in an office spend half their time browsing online.
#9) Is Elle Brody both a terrible nurse and a terrible mother?
The hospital is evacuated, but she refuses to leave since she told her husband she’d meet him there. So she abandons both the patients who need her medical help and her young son. As far as she knows there’s a good chance her husband is dead, so she risks leaving her son without either parent? She’s basically choosing her husband over all else, and while that might have been a powerful action if we knew anything about the woman it instead reeks of incredibly dumb writing.
#10) Why is Godzilla after the MUTOs anyway?
This is the kind of thing that might be answered in a sequel, but as it stands are we meant to think that Godzilla’s motivation is simply to help humanity? The MUTOs aren’t a threat to Godzilla, they’re not using his resources and he’s not using them as food, so why is he being such a dick? The creature couple just want to start a family and live happily ever after… why does Godzilla hate love so much? Is he sad because his own mate is nothing but a rotting skeleton underground?
#11) What does Godzilla eat?
I’m not asking this because he clearly looks incredibly well fed. The implication is he feeds off radiation, just like the MUTOs, but in addition to it being an odd coincidence that these two creatures both “evolved” to have the same odd appetite wouldn’t that evolution also lead to a lack of sharp teeth? He doesn’t need to chew anything so they would fade away. It would have made sense for him to eat the MUTOs, both for their calories and for their own internal radiation, but he didn’t.
#12) Do these people have built in GPS (that’s clearly unaffected by EMPs)?
Ford takes the little Japanese kid into a crowd of thousands and within seconds the child sees his parents. (Who don’t even thank Ford by the way.) Ford is with his own son in a stadium filled with tens of thousands and within seconds the boy sees his mother. It’s even more ridiculous when you consider that the kids are three feet tall and wouldn’t be able to see squat.
#13) Where were the other Avengers during all of this?
Granted, we don’t know where this story sits in the Marvel timeline, but surely not all of the superheroes were too busy elsewhere to come save San Francisco…