Guillermo del Toro gave the child in me exactly what I was looking for when I watched Pacific Rim in IMAX 3-D. I went in fully ready to judge the movie since it’s the project that del Toro left The Hobbit project to make. By the end of the movie, I couldn’t wipe off the smile on my face.

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What I’m about to say will reveal my age a bit, which is somewhat appropriate since my birthday is coming up. I loved watching the Godzilla movies on the weekends with my brother. My favorite was Godzilla vs. Mothra. I also loved watching Voltron, Battle of the Planets, and Transformers. By the time The Power Rangers came out, the idea of a team of humans that come together and form a giant robot to fight monsters was old hat.

There’s no need to warn for spoilers as I’ll let those interested in the film to go find out what happens. What I can say is that del Toro did a great job of taking an old idea and making it all shiny and new. Not only did the monsters have his sort of flare in terms of looks, the special effects are spectacular and worth going to see the movie in the first place. My guess is that the movie will get some nominations in that category come awards season.

There are critics who didn’t like the fact that the film included jokes throughout that switched up the mood from time to time including some comedic performances from Burn Gorman (Torchwood), Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses), and my favorite del Toro go-to guy Ron Perlman (Hellboy). To that, I have to ask what they actually expected the movie to be? If you’re looking for a movie that takes itself too seriously and tries to sell a flat out action movie rather than recognizing what it really is, then you need to watch A Good Day to Die Hard (a seriously horrible movie because it forgot the franchise it belonged to).

Pacific Rim is a love letter to the classic monster movies. In an interview with NPR, del Toro states, “The way [kaiju movies] transported me, the way they made me feel in awe of these gigantic creatures strolling across the ocean, coming into the city — it’s unlike any Western movie genre ever.” Kaiju (monster) movies follow a clear path – giant monster threatens humans, comes to at least one major city, destroys city, battles with another huge opponent representing the survival of all humanity, more destruction, and an ultimate fight that saves the world. Don’t worry, that’s not spoiling – that’s every kaiju flick.

Is the movie without flaws? Of course not. But I can forgive those flaws because I had so much fun watching how del Toro pieced together his film. He paid homage to all the series that I used to love that he clearly does as well. By the end of it, I wanted to go home and build cities out of Legos so I could then stomp through and destroy them like years ago. While Pacific Rim didn’t top the box office opening weekend, it should still make the list of one of the summer’s best movies in a season full of blockbusters.