The third and final entry of Shusuke Kaneko’s Gamera trilogy presents a sea of consequences and wraps things up with a philosophically invigorating blast. GAMERA 3: THE REVENGE OF IRIS is the finest one of the bunch and it justly completes what began with 1995’s GAMERA: GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE. This is wild-ass kaiju stuff and Kaneko doesn’t mess around, delivering a sweltering finale that builds on scene after scene of human-focused strain.
It has been three years since the events of GAMERA 2: ATTACK OF LEGION and the Japanese are disinclined to praise their hero. Gamera, the giant turtle, left a trail of destruction after dealing with Legion. Problematically, the world is also being inundated by giant birds – Gyaos – and things are once again coming apart. To make matters worse, Ayana (Ai Maeda) wants revenge on Gamera because he accidentally offed her parents and her cat. She cultivates and raises a monster of her own, the titular Iris, and wants to take the turtle down.
GAMERA 3: THE REVENGE OF IRIS feels overstuffed in a way, but Kaneko is adept at handling the elements because they represent various practical viewpoints. Shinobu Nakayama is back as everyone’s favourite ornithologist and she gets to team up with Asagi (Ayako Fujitani), Gamera’s old human buddy. Asagi comes in handy on account of Ayana’s connections with Iris, see? What’s more, there’s a woman named Mito (Senri Yamasaki) who thinks Gamera is an evil spirit. And there’s Shinya Kurata (Toru Tezuka), who believes it’s all part of a master plan to reset humanity.
GAMERA 3: THE REVENGE OF IRIS is focused on the human fallout from massive events like, say, monsters rampaging through your city. When actual monsters walk the Earth, it’s useful to remember that there are indeed many views. Some, like Mito, believe it’s all part of cosmic evil. Others, like Nakayama’s character, think there’s a rational explanation. And still others, like Asagi and Ayana, connect on a more profound level to the tragedies and the monsters. Kaneko, with his brilliant trilogy, pulls us into the world of pillaging monsters and makes us feel. Also, he blows shit up real good.