Geez, I must've been pretty lazy in August to post these reviews only at TK! Well, let's correct that: in August I sat and watched GvMG2 (or, as I generally prefer to call this one, Godzilla vs. Super-Mechagodzilla).
I liked it!
While I had pretty mixed (though overall positive) feelings toward GvKG and GvM'92, I think I overall liked this one and would say it's easily better than the previous two (though, obviously, still not as good as '80s Godzilla). In fact, I can see why this was a fan favorite for a long time and why fans loved it when it first came out: after the previous two movies being so problematic, Biollante not going over well with some (and unseen by most), G85 being a solo outing, and the 9-year hiatus before, this movie would have seemed like a glorious return to form to a fanbase clamoring for something evocative of Showa Godzilla's better entries.
The characters are more fun (if not as nuanced as the main characters were in GvM'92), the story is exciting, and there's plenty of action. Unlike GvM'92, this is a movie where Godzilla and our main human characters (Aoki, Azusa, and Miki) are essential to what's happening from start to finish. For a change, Godzilla and Rodan are given clear motivations for their actions and clear goals that they are trying to achieve, something we expect of human characters but is fairly rare for the monsters. We also have a third Act! Our human characters actually have things to do for the WHOLE movie, something we haven't seen since Biollante! Finally, Miki is made relevant to what's going on again and is given an actual character arc. If I have any complaint about the characters, it's that I don't understand why Aoki is our protagonist. Azusa or Miki would make much more sense, they're the ones with the real stories here (Azusa: the scientist who becomes foster mother to Baby Godzilla; Miki: transforms from ardent anti-Godzilla G-Force member to a woman who hesitates to pull the trigger to kill him, and even cares enough to say good-bye at the end). When you really think about it, Aoki doesn't really have a character arc or do much of any real importance...the only things he DOES (as opposed to the many things that happen TO him) are steal the fern sample and pilot Garuda in the third Act. If anything, he's the movie's comedy relief! It's almost like Omori handed in a script with two women as the main characters and was told, "Two women and no male lead? No. Make this comic relief character, Azusa's love interest, into the male lead instead."
Overall, I'd say this movie feels much better written than the previous two. There are some other things I would've tinkered with to improve (ex. make it a bit clearer that you're NOT supposed to root for Mechagodzilla, a point that you can pick up by paying attention to the MG Crew Commander and G-Force higher-ups, none of whom are really treated all that sympathetically), but in general I'm happy with this story. I didn't think much about the implications of them reverse engineering future tech to build Mechagodzilla (I don't think we're supposed to dwell on it, either), and I liked the lower brain plot point.
FX-wise, though, is another step down. Rodan looks AWFUL. The design is fine, but close ups make him look as if he's made of plastic and the long shots look like they're animating an action figure. It's horrible. The insanely slow flapping of the wings is really what kills it - the unflapping wings of the '50s version looked more effective in motion than this! The Godzilla suit doesn't look much different than the previous one, but that animatronic head! What happened! It looks...smaller, smoother, and (again) like it's made of plastic. Maybe it's the lighting, maybe it's the DVD, but it doesn't look anywhere near as good as in previous films except for maybe a few shots here or there. Oddly enough, Mechagodzilla looks fine (although that flying prop looks pretty bad too). The army battle scene doesn't look quite as bad as the Mothra v. Tanks scene in GvM'92, but isn't really all that much better (plus the way it's shot makes it REALLY obvious that this is a small closed set). Also, my god, so many sparks! Are blood effects and squibs really so difficult to do?
I haven't said anything for the previous two movies (since I really didn't care at all for them), but the soundtrack in this movie is quite good. I've always loved Mechagodzilla's theme here, it really provides an extra oomph that helps push this movie from "It was okay" to "I liked it!"