He’s a classic movie monster, and an allegory for the dangers of the atomic age. He’s an unstoppable force of nature, a guardian of the planet, and both an enemy and ally of mankind. Since 1954, Godzilla has been part of the pop culture of the world, and his appeal has continued through several hiatuses and a few bad movies. He’s been in cartoons, comics, and video games. With a brand new movie coming out, I figure it’s time to look at all 28 films, talk about what made the Toho series so great, and why Godzilla matters after all these years. Warning, this is going to be a really long read with a lot of spoilers of classic monster movies, so be ready. (Official titles followed by alternate titles)
Godzilla (aka Godzilla: King of the Monsters)
In 1954, just nine years after the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Toho released this iconic movie. When a series of accidents befall several Japanese ships, a scientist named Dr. Yamane and his daughter Emiko join in the search for the cause, leading them to discover that atomic bomb testing has mutated a surviving dinosaur into a giant force of nature that starts rampaging through Tokyo. In the end, when all else fails, Dr. Serizawa uses his new weapon, the Oxygen Destroyer, killing the creature and himself, to prevent another horrible weapon from falling in to mankind’s hands. This is such an amazing film, whether you’re watching the superior uncut Japanese version, or the US version that added Raymond Burr as a reporter covering the events of the film. It’s somber, and dark, and tragic, particularly because Godzilla is designed to look like he’s covered in radiation burns, and essentially is just a poor animal victim of man’s mistakes. If you want to get into Godzilla movies, this is one you need to see.
Godzilla Raids Again (aka Gigantis the Fire Monster)
Inexplicably, when this sequel came out, the US distributors changed the name, thinking that a sequel wouldn’t be as successful as a standalone film. The film focuses on two pilots who find another Godzilla, and this one is engaged in a battle with another giant mutant dinosaur named Anguirus. After several monster battles that eventually wreck Osaka, Godzilla defeats Anguirus, and the humans manage to drive him to an icy island and bury him in ice, ending the threat for now. Nowhere near as good as the original, it still was significant for the first giant monster battle in the series, and introduced fan favorite Anguirus. Beyond those details, the film could be skipped.
King Kong vs. Godzilla
This was one of the most commercially successful films in the series around the world, and the one that showed that Godzilla could be a real franchise. A pharmaceutical company finds a unique berry on an island, and with them, the legendary King Kong, who they then bring to Japan as a mascot. Meanwhile, Godzilla has been freed from the ice by a submarine crashing into the glacier that his frozen prison was floating in. The two monsters start heading towards each other, leading to a climatic showdown that ends rather ambiguously, except in the US edition where the dub claims Kong won. It was the first time both monsters were in color, and the start of the shift from horror to more action fantasy for the series. The US edition cut out whole scenes, replacing them with footage of American reporters filling us in what those scenes contain. Honestly, the only reason you’d want to see this is for the monster fight, but it is rather funny with the human scenes.
Mothra vs. Godzilla (aka Godzilla vs. The Thing)
Okay, a little history. After the success of the first Godzilla movie, Toho started doing more giant monster films, like Rodan and Mothra. Mothra was a giant butterfly/moth creature that is more often than not a good monster, you just don’t want to mess with her eggs, or the tiny Twin Fairies that translate for her and live with her. In this film, a corrupt businessman ends both stealing Mothra’s egg and disturbing Godzilla, which leads to both monsters battling it out, Mothra as the hero and Godzilla as the villain. Godzilla manages to kill Mothra, only for the egg to hatch and reveal Mothra twins in larva form, who manage to drive off the big guy. While still sci-fi action, it was more serious than the last film, and is one of the most beloved films in the franchise, usually used as a gateway film for the franchise.
Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster
As a battle between Godzilla and Rodan (a pterodactyl monster) rages on, the last surviving Mothra larva, along with the Twin Fairies, rushes to the scene and breaks up the fight. As the Twin Fairies translate for the humans, the three monsters have a debate as Mothra attempts to convince the two foes to join with him against a bigger threat. The three-headed dragon from space, King Ghidorah, has come to Earth, as predict by a princess of a foreign land possessed by a Venusian (don’t ask), and Ghidorah is a sadistic monster that delights in killing whole worlds. Godzilla states that he hates humans because they always try to kill him, and he owes them nothing, and Rodan agrees. Mothra then heads off on his own to confront Ghidorah, and gets thrashed. This act pisses off Godzilla, who as much as he hates humans, hates bullies even more, and he and Rodan join in and help save the Earth. This was a significant movie, as Godzilla began to find his place as a defender of the planet, and from here on, mankind would no longer actively try to kill Godzilla. This film also introduced King Ghidorah, who would go on to become Godzilla’s archenemy. Definitely one of the best films in the series.
Invasion of the Astro-Monster (aka Godzilla vs. Monster Zero)
In this movie, a pair of astronauts (one of whom is played by iconic American actor Nick Adams) find themselves on an alien planet. The aliens live underground due to attacks by a monster they call Monster Zero. Upon seeing the creature, the Earthling recognize it as King Ghidorah. The aliens offer humanity a cure for cancer in exchange for the use of Godzilla and Rodan to fight off the monster. Humanity agrees, and the two monsters are transported off-world and battle Ghidorah, driving him off. This results in the infamous Godzilla victory dance, which you have to see to believe. The aliens then reveal that it’s a double-cross, and they want Earth, and Ghidorah was under their control. They also now use their tech to take over Godzilla and Rodan, unleashing the three monsters on Earth. Our human heroes managed to break the mind-control, and Godzilla and Rodan go back to defending humanity from King Ghidorah. They win, everyone’s happy, and this ends up being the first entry in the series to deal with alien invasion story lines. It’s not as good as the last two, but it’s still entertaining nonetheless. (seriously, watch it at least for the Godzilla happy dance)
Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (aka Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster)
When a man and a bunch of people he’s dragged along on a sea voyage to find his missing brother end up on a mysterious island, they find out three things: that the island is home to a terrorist organization called the Red Bamboo, that the Red Bamboo are using slaves from Mothra’s island, and the Red Bamboo have a giant crab/prawn monster called Ebirah that guards their island, making escape impossible. Our human heroes, while on the run, find that Godzilla is slumbering in a cave on the island, and using lightning to awaken him, set him off against Ebirah so they can stop Red Bamboo and free the slaves. This was the first of the original Godzilla films I had seen, and while it’s not the best, it’s also not the worse, and helped me get into the series. Worth a watch, at least once.
Son of Godzilla
While doing experiments on an island for weather control, a bunch of humans accidentally transform the already rather large mantises on the islands into a new giant species, Kamacuras, who then descend on an egg. The egg hatches, revealing a baby Godzilla (known to fans as either Minilla or Minya). Godzilla shows up and saves the infant, and in a surprising display of emotion, takes the kid with him. As the humans observe, Godzilla attempts to teach his cowardly son to defend himself, even as the kid tries his patience at every turn. When the Kamacuras come back, Minya stands up to defend one of the humans, and ends up awakening Kumonga, a gigantic spider. Godzilla comes to the rescue, and as the weather control goes haywire and creates a blizzard, the last shot of our heroic monster is him pulling his son to him as the snow falls to keep him warm. While a little silly and comical, the movie is filled with a lot of heartfelt moments, and continues developing Godzilla. One of the best films in the series, even if it did introduce the somewhat annoying Minya.
Destroy All Monsters
Set up as a finale film, and still considered the finale for this part of the Godzilla movies (this era was called the Showa era, for reference), the film is set in the distant future. Humanity seems to be doing okay, and all the major monsters are living in peace on Monster Island, including: Godzilla, Mothra, Minya, Anguirus and Rodan; a few old foes like Kumonga, and even some of Toho’s other monsters like Gorosaurus, Baragon and Manda. When aliens invade Earth, they take control of the monsters’ minds, setting them loose on humanity. As the humans defend themselves, they manage to disable the mind control, leading to Godzilla and the others heading to Mt. Fuji and the alien base for payback, and a massive brawl between all of Earth’s monsters and the returning space marauder King Ghidorah. A classic entry, it takes a while to get going, but once the final fight starts you’re in for a treat.
All Monsters Attack (aka Godzilla’s Revenge)
This is the worst film in the series. It focuses on a little kid whose lonely and bullied. To deal with his problems, he imagines himself going to Monster Island, where he becomes friends with Minya, and the two frequently have to run from a monster called Gabura (a representation of the boy’s own bully, as well as his fears). As the films goes on, the kid gets kidnapped, and his fantasy adventure helps him learn to stand up for himself. This could have been a good movie except for two glaring flaws: this film was aimed at kids in such a pandering way it hurts, and the monster scenes are like 90% reused footage from previous entries (Son of Godzilla and Ebirahi to be precise). It’s just a waste of time, especially if you’ve seen the other films.
Godzilla vs. Hedorah (aka Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster)
As the King of the Monsters entered the psychedelic 70’s, we got this odd entry. It seems to be aimed at kids, given its message of taking care of the environment, but has some truly disturbing imagery, like people dissolving into skeletons and a sequence where a man trips out and sees fish heads on everyone. The story is that a life form lands on Earth from space and feeds on the toxins and pollution, getting bigger and bigger, becoming a shapeshifting blob-monster called Hedorah. As humanity struggles to find a way to kill such a creature, Godzilla shows up to help, resulting in one of the messiest fights of all time. This was one of the odd films, and usually works as a kid’s flick, even with the freaky imagery. Plus, it has Godzilla inexplicably using his atomic breath to fly. That’s hilarious, right there.
Godzilla vs Gigan (aka Godzilla on Monster Island)
A manga artist is hired to help with designs on a theme park inspired by giant monsters. He discovers, however, that his employers are actually aliens intending to conquer Earth, using the theme park as a base, and a frequency for controlling monsters. When the artist accidentally activates the machine, it gets the attention of Godzilla. And then, in one of the strangest moments, Godzilla speaks! Granted, it’s only in the dub, and the original Japanese version just used word balloons, but it’s still weird. Anyway, he tells Anguirus to investigate, and when Anguirus does so, he returns to report on the problems, and the two head out for a rumble. The aliens summon their own monsters from space, King Ghidorah and the new villain, Gigan. Gigan is one of the most sadistic enemies of Godzilla, a cyclops-like cyborg lizard from space with a buzz saw in his chest and metal hooks for arms. What follows is a tag-team battle that cemented Godzilla’s buddy Anguirus as a fan-favorite, and while it does reuse a bit of footage from Destroy All Monsters, it’s worth it for the team battle at the end.
Godzilla vs. Megalon
A scientist develops a size-changing flying humanoid robot called Jet Jaguar, and a race of undersea people want it. The undersea people from the nation of Sea-Topia (I know it’s corny, just bear with me) want Jet Jaguar so that it can help guide their own monster, Megalon, to destroy the surface world in retaliation for conducting bomb tests in the sea. Megalon, a giant beetle with drills for hands and the ability to spit grenades, needs the guidance because it’s not terribly smart. The humans manage to retrieve Jet Jaguar and send it to Monster Island to bring Godzilla. The Sea-Topians decide the only way to help Megalon is to call for help from space, resulting in Gigan coming to Earth to team up with the beetle. Godzilla shows up and Jet Jaguar grows to giant-size, leading to another tag-team battle that includes the infamous (and hilarious) Godzilla dropkick. The film bombed in Japan but gained a cult-following in the states for its silly and zany style, and while it uses a lot of stock footage and clearly didn’t have a grand budget, I still get a kick out of watching it. You can skip it if you want, but you may actually find something to like if you can deal with the flaws.
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (aka Godzilla vs. the Bionic Monster aka Godzilla vs. the Cosmic Monster)
After the dismal performance of the last film, Toho decided to bring back their A-game with this one. A prophesy in Okinawa tells that a giant monster would come to destroy the world, and that the giant lion monster King Shisa (often called King Caesar in the west) would rise to stop it. When Godzilla inexplicably starts attack humans again, it seems like the King of the Monsters has gone evil. However, when Anguirus confronts the beast, he manages to tear off a piece of skin from him, revealing metal underneath. Anguirus is defeated, and the faux-Godzilla continues on until the real Godzilla intercepts it. The two battle until Godzilla sets it on fire, burning off the skin to reveal Mechagodzilla, a giant robot version of the Big G created by a race of ape-like aliens so they can destroy Godzilla and conquer Earth. Mechagodzilla unleashes all its weapons, including lasers and missiles, and manages to nearly kill Godzilla, although the heroic lizard manages to damage the robot enough that it needs repairs. The humans, realizing that this machine is the destroyer of the prophesy, attempt to wake King Shisa, with the aliens doing everything to stop them. As for Godzilla, he survives, and allows himself to be struck by lightning multiple times. King Shisa is awakened, but is hard-pressed against Mechagodzilla, only for the real Godzilla to show up and help out, using the fact that he’s been struck by lightning to magnetize himself so he can defeat the machine. This is one of my favorite films in the series, and definitely a treat for newcomers. Seriously, don’t skip this one.
Terror of Mechagodzilla
The aliens from the last film return, rebuilding Mechagodzilla so that it can finally kill Godzilla, and they team up with a mad scientist with a grudge against mankind. Using the scientist, they take control of an undersea dinosaur mutant called Titanosaurus, and the two beasts wreak havoc on Japan. Then, when all hope is lost, Godzilla appears in one of his best entrances ever. The fight’s fun, but the film didn’t do well at the box office as the last entry, resulting in the classic series or Showa series ending. A decent sequel, maybe not as good as the last one, but definitely not the way the original run should have ended.
The Return of Godzilla (aka Godzilla 1985)
Released in 1984 (the US version came out the following year, hence the alternate title), just in time for the franchise’s 30th anniversary, this film ignores all the previous films with the exception of the original Godzilla movie. It acts as a sort of remake, sort of sequel, with the idea that 30 years after the original Godzilla died, a new one appears and goes on a rampage, which given the time period, causes tensions in the Cold War. There’s no monster for the big guy to fight, this time focusing on his battles with the military, especially their experimental flying weapon called the Super-X. The US edition was done by B-movie legend Roger Corman, and Raymond Burr returned as reporter Mr. Martin, helping tie the film back to the original. The new design on Godzilla is impressive, making him scary again, and showing that giant monster movies still mattered, especially with new technology in visual effects to help them. In the end, Godzilla is sent sinking into a volcano, and the film ends, starting the new series, called the Heisei series, of Godzilla movies.
Godzilla vs. Biolantte
The result of a script contest Toho had, this film is one of the more original and imaginative in terms of plot. As several governments scramble to get their hands on Godzilla cells, a scientist who lost his daughter because of the monster is doing experiments of his own, mixing his daughter’s cells with Godzilla’s in a rose, resulting in a colossal plant monster called Biolantte, just the the Big G breaks free from his volcano prison, leading to a shocking showdown. I’m not personally fond of this one, except for the visual effects, mainly because beyond the new monster, and the introduction of Miki Saegusa, a psychic woman who would become a major human character throughout the Heisei series, it really doesn’t contribute as much to the overall saga.
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah
It was only a matter of time until Godzilla’s greatest enemy got an update. In this film, people from the future come back to warn that Godzilla will cause the end of Japan. After meeting a Japanese veteran of World War II, they discover that he met the dinosaur Godzilla was mutated from. He has massive respect for the creature, since it saved his unit from the Americans during the war, and they had to leave it behind due to its fatal injuries. With a location and time, the time-travelers and our human heroes go back and teleport the dinosaur away, but rather shadily leave behind three cute bat-like creatures called Dorats. The atomic explosion happens, and when our heroes return to the present, they find that the Dorats were merged and mutated into King Ghidorah, and he’s totally loyal to the future people, who want to destroy Japan to change history. With no choice, the humans (plus one future woman who is against the evil plan) go back and recreate Godzilla, bigger, meaner and angrier than ever. The soldier and Godzilla even get a reunion where the soldier cries as he remembers leaving Godzilla for dead, and Godzilla recognizes him, and blasts him for what happened. Godzilla and Ghidorah fight, with Ghidorah losing his center head. Godzilla then goes on a rampage, and the future girl uses time-travel to turn the body of Ghidorah into Mecha-Ghidorah, who manages to defeat Godzilla at the cost of its own life. A real exciting entry, this is one of the best in the Heisei series.
Godzilla vs. Mothra
In this sorta remake of Mothra vs. Godzilla, the humans discover Mothra’s egg and the Twin Fairies, now referred to as the Cosmos. The Cosmos explain that the Earth made two defenders, one being the brutal Battra (a death’s-head moth creature that is like an evil Mothra) who defended the Earth by killing anything, and Mothra, who was more compassionate. The Battra egg hatches, unleashing Battra in larva form, with Mothra going after it. When Godzilla gets in the middle, it results in a three-way battle that ends with the Big G’s defeat, the death of Battra, and Mothra having to go to space to stop a meteor heading for Earth. While a fun entry, it doesn’t have the same punch. It did, however, result in Mothra getting a boost in popularity, and getting the big moth three new films, the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy.
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II
This time, Mechagodzilla is created by humanity as a weapon against Godzilla, being reverse-engineered from Mecha-Ghidorah’s body. At the same time, a baby Godzilla is discovered, one that is a plant eater and utterly benign to humans. Rodan returns, this time wanting the baby due to having grown attached to it, and Godzilla arrives to claim the kid as his own, which leads to the humans taking it and Mechagodzilla being deployed as a massive battle royal ensues. While there are story flaws, it’s still pretty fun, and has great music. I will say, I’m not a fan of the new Mechagodzilla design.
Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla
Due to both Biolantte’s spores and Mothra herself heading into space, a lot of Godzilla’s cells end up drifting into the void. These cells end up colliding with a crystalline alien, merging to create SpaceGodzilla, a demonic and crystal encrusted-looking version of the King of the Monsters. SpaceGodzilla makes a beeline for Earth to kill the original and conquer, as humanity uses the leftover tech from Mechagodzilla in the last movie to create a new robot called Moguera. SpaceGodzilla arrives, beats up Godzilla, and kidnaps the baby Godzilla that’s now more giant-sized. He then sets up a crystal fortress in the heart of the city, forcing Godzilla to team up with Moguera to save the baby and the world, and kill his insidious doppleganger. I really like this film, both for Godzilla returning to being a good guy (granted, more of an Anti-Hero, but yeah), and the absolute insane climax in a crystal fortress in a city. It may not be to your liking, but seriously, it is epic.
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah
Toho decided to end the franchise with this one, and what a way to go. Godzilla is hitting critical mass, his heart is basically a nuclear reactor about to go into meltdown, and the explosion could kill all life. The humans start working on new ice beam weapons to counter the threat, but something worse is coming. The Oxygen Destroyer that killed the original Godzilla has mutated several lifeforms in the ocean, creating a race of monsters that are slowly getting bigger and bigger. The new son of Godzilla, now resembling his dad, engages the creatures, and when it looks like all is good, the monsters merge into Destoroyah, a giant that is even bigger than Godzilla and looks like the devil. Destoroyah seemingly kills Godzilla Junior, which sets Godzilla off in a berserker fury. With the humans help, Destoroyah is frozen and destroyed, but Godzilla starts melting down. In one of the saddest moments of the series, the humans start to freeze Godzilla, and as he melts down, his energy is absorbed by Junior, causing him to become a fully-grown Godzilla. This was a bit of a tearjerker as well as an epic film. And it was a great way to end the Heisei series, even if the franchise didn’t end up staying finished.
This film came out in Japan in 1999, just a year after the American Godzilla movie came out and bombed at the box office. Toho decided to take things back to basics for this first entry in the Millennium series. With only the original 1954 film counting to this one’s continuity, it follows a group of humans studying Godzilla in an attempt to predict his travel patterns, thinking he should be kept alive for study, even as the military think differently. As they discover that his special cells allow rapid healing, a biological UFO comes to life and attacks Godzilla. After that battle, the UFO becomes obsessed with learning about Godzilla, even going as far as to hack the Internet for clues, and absorbing his DNA. Godzilla shows up to confront the UFO, which mutates into a new monster called Orga. After a titanic battle, Godzilla kills the alien and saves Earth, leading the main human character to remark that maybe the reason he keeps saving mankind is because there’s a little Godzilla in everyone. This was the first chance I got to see a real Godzilla movie in a theater, and it was awesome. While it doesn’t do anything that different with the series, it was a refreshing return of the real Godzilla after the mess that came out in 1998 from Tri-Star, and the Millennium design style of the big guy is definitely my favorite.
Godzilla vs. Megaguirus
The Millennium series would start a new trend, where each entry didn’t connect to each other, but always connected back to the original ’54 movie. In this one, Godzilla’s existence caused Japan’s history to change, and a vengeful female army major starts work on a sattelite-based weapon called Dimension Tide, which will create an artificial black hole. During testing of the weapon, however, it results in a dimensional portal being made, allowing a monstrous insect to come through. The insect starts to breed as they hunt both the humans and Godzilla, leading up to a showdown between the King of the Monsters and their queen, a wickedly-fast and evil insect called Megaguirus. As the two battle, the satellite with the Dimension tide starts to crash to Earth, leaving the military little time to end the threat of Godzilla even as he battles against a bigger threat. While still a fun movie for fans, it didn’t do enough different to be really special compared to other entries.
Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
Often referred simply to as simply GMK, this was one of the darkest entries in the series since the original film. Again, this acts as a sequel to the original movie, with the original Godzilla rising from the sea as an undead monster, his body newly regenerated and possessed by the souls of all the soldiers that died in the Pacific during World War II. The only hope for Japan to wake three ancient Guardian Deities, who happen to also be Mothra, the rather obscure Baragon, and in a surprise turn-of-events, King Ghidorah. The three monsters are severely outmatched though, and there may be no happy ending this time for the world. This was dark and frightening, especially the redesign on Godzilla so he looked like the original, but with blank, white possessed eyes. It’s also the most outright evil Godzilla’s ever been, taking a sadistic joy in the destruction he causes. One of the most well-received and liked entries by fans and non-fans alike.
Godzilla against Mechagodzilla
Again, using only the original movie as canon, this film details the return of Godzilla in 1999, the first new one since the death of the original. In the process of failing to kill him with her tank, and accidentally causing the death of her superior officer, soldier Akane Yashiro is demoted to a desk job. In the meantime, the military starts a new project: using the bones of the original Godzilla, create a new weapon to fight the current version. Thus, the new Mechagodzilla is born. Given the codename Kiryu (Dragon) and armed with a lot of weapons, including the deadly freeze weapon called the Absolute Zero Cannon, Akane is assigned to pilot it. Kiryu has its share of issues, such as having limited power to operate, and during its first battle with Godzilla, the DNA computer inside it remembers that it was once the original Godzilla and goes on a rampage. Just when it seems like the project will be scrapped and Akane demoted again, Godzilla returns for a rematch, resulting in a battle that ends with Godzilla injured and on the run, and Kiryu without power. The movie’s fun, and has some good action, but it spends too much time setting up the characters and the new history for Godzilla and Mechagodzilla. Thankfully, we’d get a second chapter to this particular story.
Godzilla, Mothra, Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S (Gozilla: Tokyo S.O.S)
This was the first direct sequel to another movie in the Millennium series, as the story picks up after the last film. Mothra’s Twin Fairies appear and tell the Japanese government that they should return the original Godzilla’s bones to the sea so they can rest in peace. The Japanese are not really keen on giving up their best weapon of defense against Godzilla, even though Mothra offers to protect them. Godzilla recovers from his wounds in the last film and starts heading for Tokyo, prompting Mothra to intercept. With Godzilla proving too much, Kiryu is launched to back her up, and back on Mothra island, an egg hatches and twin Mothra larvae start swimming to Tokyo to help. The action in insane in this one, especially since all the exposition is out of the way by being in the last film. The final scene between Akane and Kiryu is very touching, one of the many reasons that this one became a fan-favorite.
Godzilla: Final Wars
Released in 2005 for Godzilla’s 50th anniversary, Toho decided to temporarily retire the King of the Monsters in style. This final film in the Millennium series acts as both a fun tribute to everything from the Big G’s 50 year history, and one of the most insane and action-packed movies in the franchise. The set-up this time is that due to warfare and pollution, giant monsters roam the Earth, and a new breed of superhuman mutants have been born. In the opening, the Earth Defense Force’s (the new military to protect mankind from giant monsters) powerful flying battleship known as the Gotengo takes on Godzilla, managing to bury him in ice at the South Pole, leaving him frozen for all intents and purposes. Years later, the EDF continues to battle monsters using the Gotengo and the mutant soldiers, one of whom is our hero Ozaki. The discovery of an ancient monster skeleton from space reveals that the mutants share some DNA with it. Then a sudden outpouring of monster attacks from tons of creatures throughout the series erupts, with appearances by Rodan, Anguirus, King Shisa, and even the American Godzilla (known from here on out simply as Zilla). When a bunch of UFOs appear and seem to destroy the monsters, all seems well, and the aliens claim that they’re here to save the Earth from an approaching meteor. Ozaki and his commander, Captain Gordon (played with insane over-the-top manliness by MMA fighter Don Frye) discover that the aliens not only were controlling the monsters, but are here to harvest humans for food. The second-in-command of the aliens, a man known as X, kills his leader and decides to just take Earth by force, unleashing the monsters and psyching controlling most of the mutant soldiers. The skeleton is brought back to life, revealing it to be Gigan, and Ozaki, Gordon, and what’s left of the EDF take the Gotengo to the South Pole to begin Operation Final War. Step 1 is setting Godzilla free. And once the big guy wakes up, the movie goes off the rails with action as he battles through every monster, following the Gotengo to the alien mothership leading up to a climatic battle with the demonic looking Monster X, as Ozaki comes face to face with the alien leader. This one is not one of the smarter films, but it is one of the most action-packed, with so much fighting going on that it gets rather insane. And it is glorious to see Godzilla just battle his way through every major monster he’s ever faced, and the climax has a few surprise appearances by some fan-favorite monsters. It’s one of my favorite movies, and I definitely recommend it, especially as it doesn’t require as much knowledge of Godzilla to get a kick out of it.
Will Legendary Pictures’ new Godzilla match up to the Toho films? You’ll have to check back soon for my review.