At the time of posting this blog/editorial, I have not watched Godzilla Resurgence but I have heard things about it. The thing in particular is that it had good Human Characters, which...when I really stop and think about it...is not something you hear often in Godzilla movies.
Also before I start, people, this is just my opinion, that doesn't mean I'm giving it as gospel, I'm giving it as my opinion. Let us begin.
Now let's, for the most part, forget about the Showa Era, I think we can all, or at least most of us, agree that the only good human characters were in the First Movie. The characters in the other movies, suffer from increasing amounts of Camp.
I'm talking about the Heisei Human Characters and why most people don't really count most, if any of them as 'good human characters'. It's rather odd if you stop and think about it, most, if not all of them, are played straight face and as serious people, so why aren't they considered 'good'.
I've heard people call them everything from annoying, droll/boring, idiotic sometimes, and even silly. Which I find odd, for the silly part...for most of them.
Without a doubt, there were characters that could be genuinely called annoying, or silly, and the Heisei era wasn't all that big on science, or should I say 'realistic' science, but it was a kid oriented set of films, like the later Showa Films.
In most reviews of the Heisei films, Characters generally range from Mediocre, to an annoyance in one form or the other. I know of one who could be considered a MacGuffin by some. The same goes for the Millennium films.
If I had to guess why so many human characters in the franchise are not considered good, I would assume that...the characters just aren't the important to the plot.
Rather anti-climatic but that doesn't mean it's wrong. With the cast of the original movie, everything they did was part of the plot, it moved the narrative forward or showed character development or a character moment that didn't feel forced or rushed, or disingenuous. In the later Showa movies...let's be honest with ourselves, they weren't done all that well. Not that there weren't those good moments, but they became fewer and fewer.
In the Heisei era, while people were straight faced, while they had a serious (for the time) tone, the real star was always Godzilla. Now you may think that weird, Godzilla being the main focus, should be the point of every movie.
Yes...and no. In the first movie and the better movies of the Heisei and Millienium, Godzilla wasn't directly the focus of the story. I've watched the original several times, he actually doesn't appear all that much. The point is not Godzilla, the point was the effect he had on everything. In Godzilla Versus MechaGodzilla, one of the better Millenium Films, the point wasn't that Godzilla was going to destroy Tokyo, the point was, how would the main characters rise to that challenge, with their mental/emotional problem(s) (my word I'm making it sound like Evangelion) and that moved the plot along. In the first movie, the main character's lives didn't revolve around stopping Godzilla, they, like everyone, were living normal lives in post-war Japan, before he showed himself. They had their problems and trying to deal with those issues, while dealing with him, was what moved the plot along.
When it gets right down to it, I think the best human characters are those like the cast from the Gamera Trilogy, they moved the plot along in natural, organic ways and weren't there when you know they had no reason for being on screen. They do their job, move along the plot, and just go...also all the kid characters do suck though. can
I think it's easier to have good human characters when there's a message, and/or point that they can illustrate, primarily when it is done with some subtlety (I'm looking at you Mothra Films).
I think they excel when there is a point to them in the story, whether it is to have a character arc, to be a representation of a people's suffering, or just grow as a person on screen, a planned path for a character helps.
But that's just my opinion, what are yours? What do you think is needed for a human character in a Godzilla/Kaiju movie to be 'good'? Heck, what do you define as good?