I like the movie, but I know it's bad. Agree with the argument that it's a pretty good movie until after Godzilla's first landfall. After that it's just pure crap. The only character that I care about in Jean Reno, but it's just because he's Jean Reno. Nothing is taken seriously in the movie, or at least seriously enough to make it seem dramatic, and every one is comic relief which just gets irritating really quick.
The monster itself though, I like. The design in interesting, and I do consider it a Godzilla variant. If the creature acted more like the Godzilla we all know and love (nuke breath, fights the military, and only taken out by super science) I think this version of the character would have been more warmly welcomed into the fandom. Although one of the faults of this design, or the implementation of it, is that it is not expressive. The Showa series was expressive from the actor's movements in the suit, the Heisei from the animatronics in the head. This design can open its mouth, and blink its eyes. It's very much a lizard face, no emotive ability.