This movie is terribly mixed for me.
I love the idea of having a film revolve around the effect a crisis like the reappearance of Godzilla would have on an international level, especially in the tense political climate of the Cold War. However, most of those scenes lack the power needed to drive the point home. What's more, they seem to abandon that idea for the most part after about the halfway point in order to focus on a group of bland characters whose situation I have a hard time caring about. While Natsuki isn't terrible as Hayashida, I really wish Akihiko Hirata could have lived to play the role; it would have given the film a little more credibility, in my opinion.
Something I do like about Hayashida's character is that his goal is to simply "send Godzilla home," which I wish they would have played up more during the movie. Then the sympathy we're supposed to feel for Godzilla at the end might have some kind of basis. To be quite honest, my favorite human character in this film, besides maybe the Prime Minister, is the homeless guy. He seems to have more personality than the others, and he makes me laugh.
What the heck is with that song that plays during the end credits? While I generally prefer the Japanese version as a whole, the score medley in the U.S. version was a much better idea. Props also for Burr's ending speech and the "death cry," both of which evoke a much more emotional reaction than in the original cut.
While the visuals are pretty hit-and-miss, I have to give credit to Nakano and Co. for the atmosphere they're able to pull off with the effects sequences. They have a rather satisfyingly gloomy and anxious feel to them, for the most part, particularly Godzilla's initial appearance at the nuclear plant. The Godzilla suit, like most, looks great or not-so-great depending on the angle at which we see it, but I generally like the design. I also think the Super-X is pretty cool.
And this might just be me being a music nerd, but I think the only consistently strong aspect of this movie is Reijiro Koroku's score. It's so epic and brooding, and it helps to give the rest of the film the feeling of dread and tension that it seems to shoot for.
So yeah, this is a very up-and-down movie for me. Possibly moreso than any other in the series.