In 1954, Toho released a movie about a monster that symbolized the atomic bombs that had been dropped on Japan during World War II called “Godzilla.” The movie showed pure terror and destruction in its wake just as the bombings in Japan had done to its residence. It was a phenomenal hit, so what did Toho do? Make a quick sequel to cash on its success, and it shows.
This movie is not bad by any means, but it is not really all that great either. It stars to fishing pilots by the name of Kobayashi and Tsukioka, who are likable characters, but they are far from being anywhere near as memorable as the likes of Emiko, Dr. Yamane, and Dr. Serizawa. In fact, Kobayashi’s sacrifice is about the only reason his name tends to stick out. They are not terrible characters, but compared to what came before, and what comes later, they are pretty much as bland as the movie.
The plot is decent, but It shows how rushed as was as it seems like even Toho did not know how to follow up the first one. They decide that there this Godzilla is a different one, which is fine, but it seems like they are now saying that Godzilla was a race of dinosaurs woken up by the bombs instead of being mutated by it. It does not really make sense and contradicts the whole horror that was the first Godzilla. It is an interesting idea though, one that will be repeated throughout the entire history of the franchise. Nevertheless, a new monster by the name of Anguirus is revealed and we get to see him and Godzilla face off a couple of times in the movie. Anguirus fits in with the theme Toho was going for, as Anguirus is also just an average dinosaur, but he looks cool, so it works. Osaka is attacked, but the destruction of the city comes more from Godzilla and Anguirus battling each other rather than just Godzilla stomping through the city. It is okay, but it is obvious Toho was trying to just repeat the sense of destruction as they then show Osaka’s remains the next day. This would be fine except it seems to be forgotten so quickly that there is no time to really feel the impact Osaka has just gone through as we did in Tokyo with the first attack. Not to mention it cheapens that one. Nevertheless, Anguirus is killed and Godzilla is defeated by ice. I’m not exactly sure how to respond to that.
The Godzilla suit in this movie is pretty bad. It looks fine from the side when the shots are at a distance, but close up shots and the showing the costume from the front really shows how rushed it was made. The costume is just awful as it looks weird, disproportionate, and rubbery. If there is anything the first movie’s costume accomplished, it was making Godzilla look like a giant monster dinosaur rather than a rubber suit in the shape of one, as it appears to be here. Anguirus looks fine, but his head movements are weird looking. The effects in the movie are okay, but outside of the fire in Osaka, there is not too much to talk about. I really do like the way they filmed the monsters fighting each other though, as they speed up their actions, which make them look animalistic in the way they are battling. That is a nicely done in a movie that feels rushed in every sense of the word
Overall, I’d give Godzilla Raids Again a 6/10. It is far from being anywhere near the worst movie in the series, but it is about average, especially when compared to its predecessor. It did introduce a monster that would become one of Godzilla’s most recognizable allies though, and it did show that there was a market for giant monster movies, so it definitely gets points for that. IN the long run though, there is nothing special about this movie unless you must see how Godzilla ended up being in the iceberg in the first bit of “King Kong vs. Godzilla.”