I give this film an A+. I accept the criticism that the characters are not especially well fleshed out. They are kind of all defined by their jobs, and even with Yaguchi we don’t get much in the way of motivation other than that he cares about the country and doesn’t like government ineptitude. But Gojira
was the same way. Only Serizawa came close to being a fully realized human character.
Here’s why I think Shin is excellent; it does something rare that I love to see in films - the ‘protagonist’ is not one person, but a larger group. I feel Gojira
is similar. The ‘protagonist’ in each is not Yaguchi or Serizawa respectively, but the nation of Japan. We see many organs of the country learning to come together to combat a crisis, including government, military, journalists, science, even geopolitical allies. The ‘character’ which undergoes a change is the larger group - at the start of either films they are not in the organized position they need to be in order to fight the threat. It’s especially powerful when both films are seen in their real world political and cultural contexts.
It’s a rare thing to see in a film, but I love it. There’s something very uplifting and engaging to me about a collective, group story. The only other movie off the top of my head that does this is Dunkirk
. That’s also not a movie where any one character is the focus - rather it’s different levels of the British military as well as civilians who pull together to respond to a monumental crisis and achieve something incredible, something that was very much in doubt at the start of the film. The ‘protagonist’ which struggles and undergoes a change is Great Britain.
At least, this my interpretation.