I just watched this movie for the first time in years, and I really liked it, even more than I remember liking it. As a direct sequel to Godzilla made in the mid-'80s, it really works, taking the Japanese perspective on the threat of nuclear war and updating it with the times. Godzilla's return to the role of a menace is effectively executed, as the anticipation mounts leading up to his first screen appearance half an hour into the movie, and his standoff with the military in Tokyo Bay is just plain awesome. Reijiro Koroku's score is also particularly memorable, and definitely unique among Godzilla film scores. The music fits the on-screen action perfectly, and it's a shame that Koroku wasn't brought back to score Godzilla vs. Biollante.
The pace of the film does drag on more than one occasion, namely the 'inspecting Mt. Mihara' scene, but for the most part I felt like it moved along well and stayed interesting. My main gripe with the movie is Godzilla's appearance. I never liked this suit as a kid, but while rewatching the movie yesterday I realized that I don't have a problem the overall form and appearance. Actually, I like the suit a lot. It's the eyes I don't like. I know they were trying to go for the Mosugoji look, but they didn't recapture that look at all. The Mosugoji suit's eyes worked because, depending on the angle, Godzilla's eyes appeared to be either looking forward or just dead-white, a win-win. The eyes of the 1984 suit are big, solid-looking, attention-grabbing and constantly looking like they're on the verge of rolling up into their sockets. They ruin what is otherwise a great-looking suit. It looks great in faraway shots or angles where you can't see the eyes, like when Godzilla is rummaging through the nuclear reactor amidst all the smoke.
While it's certainly got its flaws, The Return of Godzilla is a lot of fun to watch. It's a tidy little political and cinematic time capsule of 1984 starring Godzilla.