I have some thoughts on things that have been said, but they've been said by a lot of people, so I'll just address them generally. Also, I'm about to say a lot of things in a "factual" way, but know that when I say, "It's at this point that G98 turns into a poopfest" I mean FOR ME PERSONALLY.
"This movie certainly isn't worse than certain Toho films."
It's hard to argue against this as a pure 'critical quality' thing, as stuff like Godzilla's Revenge and others are just SHODDILY MADE films, but I'd argue that perhaps only the ABSOLUTE WORST of the series are worse than this, largely because at least most Toho films understand the value of brevity. If I'm going to sit through something dull, I'd rather it be 85 minutes than 140.
And even if I grant that GvsMothra92 and SpaceGodzilla are worse movies...I still would say I hate G98 most because it STARTS good. It PROMISES me in the first thirty minutes or so that this will be a good, fun movie and builds a decent world in which the film could take place, and then fumbles it terribly.
"This movie shouldn't be hated on for things the Toho movies get away with"
I don't think people (or at least me personally) give the Toho movies passes for things like poor pacing, human characters, etc. In fact, those are the deciding factors people point to when ranking those films, but those movies have other strengths that G98 doesn't have, that cause people to say "Well, the pacing is poor, but the action is GREAT when it happens". It's not that G98 has poor pacing. Period. Bad acting. Pause. Poor characters. End. It's that it has poor pacing AND bad acting AND poor characters AND slipshod effects AND rips off other blockbusters AND is sloppily made AND is poorly written AND AND AND AND. I mean, I've said the first half hour of the movie is "good" but if I want to be a real big butt about it, I could pick apart the writing and characters and effects sequences therein...but I don't because up to that point, there's still enough good to outweigh the bad.
"Godzilla here isn't any less Godzilla than [insert outlandish Toho example]" Disagreed. BIG TIME. Things like Godzilla loving a beautiful girl, or being possessed by ghosts, or being able to fly aren't deviations that change the ESSENTIALS of his character as an nigh-indestructible radioactive fire-breathing dinosaur who does not back down from a challenge.
I mean, he "loves" a beautiful girl...OR, becomes infatuated for some unknown reason because we don't know what's going on inside that giant head of his. Maybe he just doesn't want to destroy this little thing for some unknown reason...but he's still a giant radioactive fire-breathing dinosaur who does not back down from challenges. Toho has shown it's not just POSSIBLE but almost PREFERRED to play around a LOT within that basic framework, but the creators of G98 (by Emmerich's own admission) said, "I don't care, I want to do my own thing and not have to rationalize it with ANYTHING else."
I've said multiple times, I could have accepted the Godzilla of 1998 as Godzilla if he had merely ACTED like Godzilla....and he's not even a DINOSAUR.
"Godzilla is killed by humans in [insert Toho film here]"
When humans kill or stop Godzilla in a Toho film, it's always through some really crazy thing. Even when he's "killed by a single missile" in GMK, it's from a missile that is shot from INSIDE his body, and it's not the missile that kills him, it's Godzilla's own relentlessness. He's actually killed BECAUSE he's SO Godzilla in that movie. He's so "never back down from a challenge" that it kills him.
Godzilla in the 98 film bleeds from guns shot at him, is knocked unconscious by torpedoes shot at him, and is killed by missiles shot at him. AT. Not "from the inside" or "super-mega weapons that don't exist in real-life because they had to make up some crazy thing in order for me to even believe it could hurt Godzilla at all."
[finger gun] Pew, Pew. He's dead.
And quite honestly, SOME of what I've said above isn't even what REALLY gets me about this movie. I mean, the excessive running-time for me personally IS a big factor, and definitely a big factor is the stuff about the movie starting in a promising way and finishing like a turd, but there are other factors that either haven't been mentioned or have only been slightly MENTIONED and not brought up as being as important as they are:
-The characters are terrible people. Nick is MAYBE not too too bad, but Audrey is really THE WORST. She steals from Nick and then "makes it up" to him by...not really making it up to him much at all. And he forgives her because...she's cute? They're also just generally unlikable. Really bad NYC stereotype people (yeah, THAT has been featured in a Godzilla film, but has a Godzilla film ever featured really terrible stereotypes of its own cities main stars? Has a main Godzilla character ever been a terrible Japanese stereotype? Maybe...but if so, it was in a satirical way. I DARE anybody to say Victor or Lucy are satires and not just terrible stereotypes). Also, REALLY bad French stereotypes, AND REALLY bad Japanese stereotypes. The French one bugs me more than the Japanese, honestly. They ALWAYS want coffee and croissants and can ONLY speak in English accents if they talk like Elvis? COME THE FUDGE ON WITH THAT ONE.
-Emmerich and Devlin went with "Godzilla is an animal, not a monster" which brings in a TON of problems, like the "Cold Blooded" thing. You know, if they had outright said, "This is some sort of MONSTER, from ancient times or something..." instead of "It's a giant iguana" then we could just dismiss "cold blooded" as "It's a monster. Who knows what its physiology is like?" Then there are the other countless issues that "It's an animal" bring in: there's no way a creature that size could ever find enough fish to eat, let alone enough to eat AND feet hundreds of babies, and Godzilla couldn't POSSIBLY be both a male and lay eggs, despite what the film EXPLICITLY tells us. Since Godzilla reproduces asexually, thus presumably through parthenogenesis, he would HAVE to be a she otherwise he would be sterile...OR sexual nomenclature would be entirely irrelevant as he'd be a hermaphrodite. And that's not even the WORST of what the "he's a monster" stuff does. It also makes Godzilla a non-entity in his own film. He's just caught in the middle of all this, he's not good or bad, he's just indifferent. In other words, BORING.
-Then there's the shoddiness and inconsistency of the effects work. At their absolute WORST in the Toho series, I can never recall ANY of them being as inconsistent with scale as this movie. In one shot, Godzilla's footprint is like 50 feet long, in another, it's smaller than a cab. At one point, his eye alone is shown being the size of an entire subway tunnel. Given his scale, that would make his mouth roughly the size of a large freighter, and yet he can't fit a taxi cab into that mouth. His footfalls shake cabs and trigger alarms, but when he stomps directly in from of human characters (multiple times) they don't even stagger slightly. He can outrun helicopters capable of going over 100 mph, but cant catch a cab doing maybe 50.
-And all of that is bad enough, but then there's the matter of it just NOT WORKING as a story. I mean, most of what I said above plays into it, but it's just plain boring. We spend a lot of time with human characters who are terrible people, and Godzilla hides for most of the movie. Yes, Godzilla's screen time is REALLY SMALL FOR A MAJORITY OF THE MOVIES, but when he's off-screen for most of the time in something like Gojira or even the 2014 film, there's so much made of what he could POTENTIALLY do if he showed up again and so much mysticism and such a DREAD of him making landfall that tension builds and we're left just GRIPPED wondering when he will appear again. In the 98 film, the characters are EAGER for him to show up again because they KNOW he's a weakling they can easily kill. There's a big difference in tone and the effect on the audience there.
Also, holy crap do those baby designs suck.
Again, I don't care if these things don't bother people, but they DO exist, and they DO bother me, and these are the reasons WHY I hate on this film the way I do.
Very little of my unenjoyment of the film has to do with it being notGodzilla. A good portion of my HATRED certainly stems from that, but the lack of enjoyment comes from a SLEW of other issues.