Following their crushing defeat at the hands of Godzilla Earth, Haruo Sakaki and his allies encounter a mysterious aboriginal tribe descended from the humans left behind on Earth 20,000 years ago, and uncover a mechanized city-sized fortress formed from the long-lost anti-Godzilla weapon Mechagodzilla.
Directed by: Hiroyuki Seshita
, Kôbun Shizuno
. Starring: Kana Hanazawa
, Ken'yû Horiuchi
, Yûki Kaji
, Kenta Miyake
, Mamoru Miyano
, Kazuya Nakai
, Ari Ozawa
, Takahiro Sakurai
, Tomokazu Sugita
, Jun'ichi Suwabe
, Reina Ueda
, Kazuhiro Yamaji
, Kanehira Yamamoto
. Music by: Takayuki Hattori
First thing to understand about "City on the Edge": it's DENSE. In two movies, we've been introduced to the monsters, the Billasaludo and the way they thinkoperate, the Exif priests, the Houtuo and their medical practicesevolution, Vultures, nanometal, etc. While it certainly has its lags, I would urge those saying this is a boring movie to reconsider and think of all the information spread around this film series thus far. The pacing can be a bit odd, but overall we're being fed content constantly.
This is also a very serious series, which may deviate from sillier Godzilla entries ("Tell your son about it, Major Spielberg", anyone?) so it's important to level your mindset and expectations to fit the tone. City on the Edge takes off where the post credits scene of its predecessor left off, fascinatingly taking a step into speculative evolutionary territory by imagining the next stage of humanoid evolution with the Houtuo tribe that helps rescue our heroes. The Professor acts as a helpful guide through the complicated terrain of the plot, pointing out their powdery secretions and evolutionary tract which may not be obvious despite the stellar animation.
The humans are undoubtedly the weakest point of these films thus far, one gets the sense that in crafting such an intricate mythological reimagining of Godzilla, the writers may have forgotten to flesh out the characters. Nevertheless we do find a clearer connection to Haruo, who has become a more rounded out, dynamic character in City on the Edge for sure. The barrage of Billasaludo are still difficult to identify, but the point of their characters becomes clearer in this movie, especially as cold, logical beings. One had to imagine they'd serve as an antithesis to the human's goal eventually, I think fusing with the nanometal of Mechagodzilla City was a genuinely interesting and surprising way to go about doing it.
Speaking of Mechagodzilla City - what exactly was it? It's easy for such a thick plot to glaze over without catching every necessary piece in a movie like this. The problem in this particular case is that they aligned the explanation of Mechagodzilla City with a familiar name, leaving the viewer (or at least me) to assume that this was a station to House our big robo-lizard friend who would eventually show up. It's relevance to the plot is clear, even if it's origins are a little hazy. I'd caution the writers to not gravitate too closely to familiar Godzilla territory while playing with a new formula.
Changing the subject a little: what exactly is Metphies' deal? It might be the (stellar?) acting of Lucien Dodge that makes him seem sinister and creepy, but as of now he's only seen helpingsaving the humans, even from his own kind. I did notice in his conversation with Haruo that he (of course) mentions that a monster destroyed his planet, though I am reasonably certain the Billasaludo had claimed before their planet was swallowed by a black hole. Was this a lie to have the humans trust them, a metaphor (the monster being the black hole), or a little film flub? For even a tapestry of mythology as rich as the one Netflix has woven here, the story is not immune to plot holes as of now.
Other characters come and go, some surprising me and changing themselves from the previous feature, usually for the better. One of my biggest complaints in both films is Yuko, the character who while a skilled pilot, seems only to act as a damsel in distress or a motivation for Haruo, a character whom despite his incredible leadership abilities, gives us plenty more reason to dislike him rather than care about his love life at all. His final cry as the movie fades out was - and I can only reference the English dub here - very ugly. Maybe it was just something about the way it was recordedmixed, but good god, his whimpers were audibly painful, I could practically feel his mucus. Odd and underwhelming way to end the film - until the post credits scene that is.
Overall I think City on the Edge of Battle is a damn fine entry in the Godzilla canon, and an extremely welcome change of pace for the kaiju genre overall. While not perfect, it gives us more than we could've possibly asked for, sometimes to it's detriment. I find myself extremely excited for the trilogy's conclusion, to see how they're able to wrap up what has become such a massive story. This is only exemplified by the film's final word, tensely whispered to Haruo during his explanation of his planet's demise, a familiar word to stimulate any fan of the Godzilla franchise: Ghidorah.
Review by argylerings from the Internet Movie Database.