I've seen every Godzilla made at this point, and 90% of all the Toho giant monster movies produced. I am most definitely an aficionado of Godzilla. If not an aficionado, then I'm mighty damned dedicated. So, here's a few observations from that and some rough thoughts.
The film delivered on the kaiju genre. Godzilla hands the humans a bucket full of bad decisions and a lollipop, and they don't get to keep the lollipop. Yeah, that's how a good giant monster flick ought to be.
Let me get my pet peeve out of the way. I detested the color gradient used on the film. Ick. Go away. I can't stand the desaturated shit they're pulling these days. I can understand using this to salute the monochrome original Godzillas, but I'm not having it. End peeve.
Next, let me salute the film's nods to the previous films, not just in content, but in art style and decor. For example, the nuclear power station's control room takes direct cues from the control rooms of the 60's films. Likewise, the living spaces (both house and apartment) take directly from 60's decor.
I appreciated the aging of technology. The computer from 1999 is a period monitor with period zip disks. I think that the zip disk reader itself was too late for the time period, being the slim, round USB reader as opposed to the square, blocky, parallel reader. Still, big cudoes for picking the correct technology for the period.
Many situations came directly from the kaiju films. Japan is a hilly country and the military is often seen moving through train tunnels and a night. The writer worked a train tunnel into the plot.
The plot itself was primarily Rodan with Godzilla added in.
The end monster fight choreography was pretty much a classic kaiju fight. What keeps it from feeling like a classic two-against-one kaiju fight is that we see much of it from the human perspective. The director keeps his camera on people for the most part, not monsters. He assumes that you'll follow the disjointed fight, which you do.
I very much appreciated the Hawaii fight. I vacationed there, in those spots, last summer. The location is fresh in my head.
I thought the showing of fights partially through news clips to be quite effective.
The body count was extreme. This director did not shy away from simply killing large numbers of people and making sure that you knew it. He delivered on the human horror of this all, which is something that the original Godzilla also did very well. Godzilla works very different if the audience is unaware of the human cost involved. The human cost is what gives the film power.
The BS history of the earth was right up there with terrible Godzilla explanations. All big-G films have bad explanations for the origin of the kaiju, and this writer keeps that tradition going.
The lead actor had the emotional range of Jet Jaguar. A robot could have done just as well this particular actor.