I saw it 4 times in the span of a week and a half, and all of them were different experiences, but with similar reactions, if that makes any sense.
- The 1st was the early screening I attended a week before release. They were almost out of tickets when I got there, so I counted my blessings that I scored one of the last tickets. However, the theater wasn't packed to capacity, so I guess some people got the early pass and then just didn't go.
Anyways, the audience was mostly quiet all the way through, with a few "oohs" and "ahhs" here and there, so I couldn't tell how they felt about it, while I was sitting there silently going nuts in my seat loving almost all of it. And then when the movie faded to black, the audience applauded pretty enthusiastically, and I heard some people walking out of the theater saying "That was F***ing dope!", so I felt pretty good about it.
There were two scenes that made me cry the first time I saw the film. One was the final scene because it was like a dream come true for me to see the Big Guy get that kind of ending. The other was the result of the fight in Mexico. Lets just say I wasn't prepared for that and it reminded me of the first time I saw Transformers the Movie, lol.
The best part of this experience was one of the security people at the screening. I was the first in line to get in and I talked to her for a bit before going in. She was very nice and we talked about shows and movies we had watched and she mentioned to me that she had seen KOTM three times already because of these type of screenings. I then nervously asked her "Well...how is it?". And she told me she really liked it and if you're a fan, you'll eat it up. Later, as the credits rolled, she came up to me in my seat and asked "What'd you think" and I told her I loved it and I don't have the words for it, while scrambling to wipe the tears out of my eyes.
- The 2nd time I saw it was on opening night, and this was right after all the reviews started coming in, so I was kind of in a fog at this point. I mean, I loved the movie, so why is it getting trashed? I thought maybe I was wrong and maybe I just got too swept up in my love of the character and the franchise to see the film as the piece of crap the critics were designating it as. Like the early screening, I went by myself because nobody else was available, but I'm not missing Godzilla on opening night. Not a chance!
Anyway, I go in and the theater is pretty full, and there are definitely some fans in attendance. This was obvious during the film when the Oxygen Destroyer came up and one guy audibly yelled "OH NO!". The audience was very reactive to everything, and as I've said in other posts, they freaking loved Mothra. She did steal just about every scene she was in, and it showed based on the reaction to her on this night. The crowd loved it and, once again, applauded when the film faded to black and the credits rolled.
By this point, I had just accepted that there was a clear disconnect between the audiences and the critics, and wouldn't let that cloud the fact that I loved the film.
- 3rd Time, I saw it that Friday with my sister and a couple of her friends (these two particular friends are also G-fans by the way). This was a late Friday night showing and aside from the 4 of us, I think there were maybe 5 other people in the theater.
Now my sister remembers Godzilla because I watched all the films constantly as a kid and she appreciates them. She always understood why I loved them. As we've gotten older, she's actually come to like them more and more, little by little. She saw Shin Godzilla with me and loved it. She is a big Marvel fangirl as well and she went absolutely nuts for Endgame, and I was there with her for that, so she wanted to be there with me for my big geek out thing. Its a cool bond we have where we kind of feed into each other's nerdiness.
The other thing to note about my sister is that she hates about 80% of what comes out, and I'm being generous with that number. Seriously, bring up the live action Disney remakes, New Star Wars, Batman V Superman, or Captain Marvel in front of her, and watch the sparks fly. Movies that I thought were okay or meh, she will say is the worst piece of blankity blank blank ever made and an affront to humanity at large. She's very passionate about that stuff and there isn't much middle ground with her. And if she absolutely hated this Godzilla movie, she wouldn't have taken my feelings into consideration when it came to expressing her opinion either. There would be no "Oh I'll keep quiet and let my bro enjoy his thing". No no. If she hated it, she would have said so and then ranted and raved about it for an hour afterwards.
So imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when my sister not only liked the film, but went gaga for it. When the Oxygen Destroyer came up, her jaw dropped and she turned to me with a shocked look of horror on her face to which I replied "I'm shocked you even remember what that is". She went nuts for Fire/Burning Godzilla as well. As the film ended, she turned to me and said "Bro, nothing beats Endgame, but that was pretty close", and coming from a Marvel diehard, I'll take that for sure. Her friends loved the movie too and my sister got into talks with them about the film, leading to my favorite reaction "And who the skreeonk said the characters sucked? F*** the critics. I liked them!".
This then led to my sister doing her usual ranting and raving, but this time against the critics that gave the film a bad review. "Oh I bet all those same jerks liked Captain Marvel!". LOL. She later told me that most franchises from Star Wars to Star Trek to GoT to so many others have fallen apart and have disrespected their fanbase and that I should feel good that the Godzilla fans got treated well with this one. A nice sentiment for sure. She's an intense person, but I like the passion and energy and it was kind of nice to hear her defend my nerdy thing.
And a few days after we saw the film, we were on the phone talking and she asks me "So...can I borrow some of those Godzilla Blu-Rays and DVDs you have because I kind of want to see more of it".
Even though the theater was almost empty and it wasn't in IMAX, the third screening was probably my favorite just because it was fun to see my sister get fully converted into the Godzilla fan family.
And finally, the 4th screening I saw on the Sunday of opening weekend with some of my old college buddies that I hadn't seen in a while, so it was cool to reconnect with them. We had a nice lunch and then went into a theater that was pretty crowded and we were right in the center to see all the action. One of my friends insisted that she sit next to me because she wanted to see me geek out (and no, she wasn't hitting on me, she's married and has three kids, so not a chance there). I went with her family to see Endgame a few weeks prior and she wanted to see what I'd be like in something I was super passionate about. Granted, seeing the movie for a 4th time in less than 2 weeks makes it kind of tough to be super duper excited for it again, but she definitely noticed I waving my fingers and counting down to the really cool moments. She said "It was like you were conducting the film" lol.
It was me and 4 other friends, and once again, everyone loved the film, and it was met with applause when it was done. One of the group really really REALLY loved it and was going crazy for almost everything, and then turned and looked at us at one point to confirm "OK, you all are liking this too, right?". My college buddies were not Godzilla experts like me and only had a passing familiarity with it, so when we stepped out of the theater, they immediately asked me all the questions: "What monsters were missing that you'd like to have in there?" "How many movies have Mothra in it?" "Was this/that a reference to something?". The ladies in the group loved Mothra, while the guys really seemed to love Rodan (and then there is me who loves them all, lol). And finally, we all agreed to meet up against to see Godzilla Vs. Kong. That's on our must see list to meet up for next year!