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Crowning Moment of Awesome: Godzilla.
Despite the title this article should cover Toho's sci-fi, horror, and monster films in general, along with all the creative and determined producers, actors, writers, directors, and musicians. Since 1954 Toho has created monster, or kaijueiga, movies that have varied from serious commentary films to fun monster action. They have wowed children and adults alike with their monsters, music, and action. Godzilla was the first of their kaijueiga films, who was inspired by King Kong and The Beast from Twenty Thousand Fathoms. He is also their most popular monster, one of the most recognizable in the entire world, and formed the very back-bone of Toho's various sci-fi and monster universes.
As the Godzilla series is one of the longest running movies series in history (which is itself a Moment Of Awesome), there is a lot of awesome involved.
Godzilla's first use of his atomic breath in Gojira. On a darker note, Dr. Serizawa and his Oxygen Destroyer managing to one-shot kill Godzilla.
Godzilla Raids Again is a unique sequel, in that it was made before the kaiju movie was its own genre, so it was made more as a horror movie in the same vein as Gojira. Thus, the monster battle is meant to horrify, not amuse, with the emphasis being on the destruction caused rather than the monsters themselves. That being said, it is a Moment Of Awesome for the filmmakers, who made the actual brawl TERRIFYING, and for Godzilla himself, who viciously mauls Anguirus' neck and burns his corpse to a crisp.
King Kong vs. Godzilla. It's the one of the most brutal battles in the series, especially when Kong tackles Godzilla, pins him down and pummels him several times.
And when you can see Godzilla clawing at Kong, blasting him with his ray, and nearly killing Kong more than once.
Let's not forget Kong RAMMING A TREE DOWN GODZILLA'S THROAT!!
Followed immediately by Godzilla showing off his Determinator status. Instead of trying to pull it loose he OPENS FIRE ON THE TREE TO BLAST IT LOOSE AND SEND IT FLYING STRAIGHT AT KONG.
Godzilla's raid on the arctic NATO base.
Godzilla and Mothra's battle in Mothra vs. Godzilla. Mothra is old and fragile, yet quick and clever, but not even those making the movie were positive they could make a good fight. It's easily one of the greatest monster battles of all time. Another for the twin Mothra larvae who use strategy and lots of patience to defeat Godzilla without actually harming him.
In the same film, as one American producer put it, the two Mothra babies stop Godzilla with non-violence, the opposite of what everyone else tries for the entire film.
King Ghidorah gets several in his first appearance, but of note is when Godzilla, who up till now has basically been The Big Bad of the Toho universe and easily its most powerful monster, attacks him and Ghidorah trounces him in about two seconds.
Mothra persuading Godzilla and Rodan to put aside their differences and help him fight King Ghidorah. Eventually they are persuaded and what follows is an awesome team battle between the four monsters, culminating with Godzilla tossing the beast into a ravine.
The airborne chase between King Ghidorah and Rodan...which ends when Rodan turns around and rams Ghidorah!
On a human side note: Prof. Murai, who's pretty much been the "stoic scientist" for the past film and a half hits one of Malmess' retreating henchmen over the head with a wrench, then takes his gun and takes a few shots at the escaping others!
Ripping off Ebirah's arms and then taunting him as he retreats.
Godzilla opening a can of whoop-ass on the Giant Mook Kamacaras, first by dodging a leaping one and blasting it from head to a tail with fire. Then taking out another by slamming it into the ground several times then Killing It With Fire.
There's a truly epic CMoA in the classic film Destroy All Monsters in which Godzilla, Rodan, Anguirus, Mothra, Kumonga, Gorosaurus, and even Minya battle against pre-Badass Decay King Ghidorah and ultimately kill him.
I'd like to cite Anguirus' role in particular; he's the first one to attack Ghidorah, he latches his jaws on one of Ghidorah's necks and holds on even when Ghidorah tries to fly off! Finally dislodged, he falls about a thousand feet and gets immediately trampled by Ghidorah...then gets right back up and attacks him again! Determinator indeed. Oh, and he's the first monster to make Ghidorah bleed.
Let's not forget Gorosaurus! He and Godzilla charged Ghidorah and were blasted, but where Godzilla went down Gorosaurus got through and pulled Ghidorah off of his feet, signaling the turn of the tide. And then, after Godzilla and Anguirus pin Ghidorah on the ground, Gorosaurus does his signature kangaroo kick and knocks Ghidorah to the ground again, allowing the three dinosaurs to finally defeat the space beast.
Yes, even Minya kinda gets one, every annoying kid monster gets his day. Using his patience he waits for Gabara to get on end of a see-saw and then he jumps down, knocking Gabera into the air and actually hurting him for once.
He has another, actually: in the aforementioned Destroy All Monsters, he uses one of his smoke rings to strangle one of Ghidorah's necks.
Godzilla flying in Godzilla vs. Hedorah, doesn't get more epic then that!
He even does it in the IDW comic!
Terror of Mechagodzilla has Godzilla making a straight charge for his mechanical foe. His determination at full power as Godzilla takes on Mechagodzilla's full barrage of missiles and beams. Mind you in the last movie Godzilla was doing a lot of ducking this happened to the Big G in the last movie so this is quite different. Despite the fact Mecha-Godzilla throws everything he has Godzilla never falters, even the dorsal fins caught on fire, an accident but still. The scene is so bad ass it overcomes the fact that most of Mecha-G's shooting is in fact stock-footage of a flipped Mecha-Godzilla and finally Godzilla reaches him and begins a No Holds Barred Beat Down.
Later in this same battle, Godzilla rips Mechagodzilla's head off with his bare hands (which he did in the previous movie as well) and destroys the escaping alien race (which he didn't).
Let's not forget Godzilla's first dramatic entrance during Titanosaurus' rampage, with his silhouette illuminated by lightning before he lets out his iconic roar and charges at the foe, ready to lay the smack down!
Titanosaurus gets a few in the final showdown; these include lifting Godzilla by the face with only his own face, brutally beating down Godzilla (with assistance from Mecha G, but still, this is late-era Showa Goji; the one who could defy physics to win the day) and being one of the few Showa-era villains to really hold their own against Godzilla with minimal (if any) assistance; the others being King Ghidorah, Gigan and Mechagodzilla itself.
The Super X takes out Godzilla with some flares, distracting him and making him roar, then shooting him in the mouth with cadmium missiles. This actually knocks him out for a while.
Godzilla blasting a hole in Biollante's head during their climactic battle.
Before that Godzilla gets his palm and shoulder speared by tendrils. Then there was the sudden introduction of his thermal pulse attack from out of left field.
Godzilla killing King Ghidorah in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.
Ghidorah gets his own CMoA when, rebuilt as Mechaghidorah and with Emi operating his mechanical parts he fights the now rampaging Godzilla to a Mutual Kill. Pretty much everytime that Godzilla and Ghidorah face off, for that matter, will have a CMoA for both combatants.
The death of SpaceGodzilla in Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla.
Super Mechagodzilla disabling Godzilla and had him pretty dead to rights only for Rodan to give the last of his life to Godzilla. Godzilla gets his own when his breathe weapon becomes too powerful for Mechagodzilla to handle and it is finally defeated.
Godzilla's final Heisei film has him pulling a number of these. First by kicking his rage Up to Eleven and tacking Destroyah in a No Holds Barred Beat Down. Later he begins to focus his breath weapon on one spot, blasting a hole in his enemy. Then he gets in close and tears the hole wider with his claws, spraying more blood, and finally fires once more at point blank range. Destroyah keeps fighting and only retreating when Godzilla's radioactive power is nearing critical and he fires several fire breathes and nearly blows Destroyah apart, weakening the monster too much and forcing it to retreat.
Godzilla seemingly gets speared in the head by Megaguirius' stinger only to get a better view and reveal Godzilla caught it with his teeth and snaps off the tip. Megaguirius is stunned long enough for Godzilla to finally finish her with two breathe blasts.
GMK gives us Godzilla, who has never won a straight one on one battle against Mothra or King Ghidorah without some kind of help, whether overtly known by him or not, beating both of them to death, even turning an attempt by humanity to aid King Ghidorah against him. If you were annoyed at never seeing him get a one on one win before now against either one since they always had some kind of help or else Godzilla was getting a little help from the humans, seeing him defeat BOTH in the same damn movie on his own will make your day.
Akane and Mechagodzilla fighting Godzilla to a draw at the end of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla.
Godzilla Final Wars: Oh god, where to begin? There's everything Captain Gordon says and does, there's stopping lasers with your mind and sending them back at the alien who shot them, everything Godzilla does, the martial arts fight scene on speeding motorcycles while standing up, the Gotengo breaking out of the hangar...it just goes on and on.
Especially the parts where Godzilla blasts the meteor carrying Monster X while it's still in space and when Godzilla kills Keizer Ghidorah at the end.
How about the very end? Godzilla returns to the sea, turns to the camera, and gives one last triumphant roar right to the audience. "I'm Godzilla, and I approve this message."
Monster X showing up and kicking Godzilla's ass. Then, just as Godzilla seems to be gaining an edge, Monster X transforms into Kaiser Ghidorah. Because hey, you gotta end the series with a grudge match.
Minya (yes, Minya) gets one of these. He gets between Godzilla and some humans to stop him from obliterating them. And Godzilla actually backs down and leaves. Yes, a baby monster was able to convince his own father (who had been utterly demolishing his opponents until now) to leave just by standing his ground. That's Bad Ass.
Out of Universe
From a production and story stand-point the entire production of the classic "Gojira" is one huge Crowning Moment of Awesome in film making. From Tomoyuki Tanaka's idea, Ishirō Honda's directing passion, Akira Ifukabe's musical genius, Eiji Tsuburaya's amazing special effects, Akihiko Hirata tragic and complex acting, and Haruo Nakajima's insane endurance in playing Godzilla. It horrified Japan by reminding them of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombing and created the entire Japanese sub-genre of Kaiju-eiga movies. The sequels that followed are almost dethroning moments of suck due to lacking the story, character, and commentary input that puts the original in the same league as Seven Samurai.
Godzilla Raids Again is by no means a sequel that respects the original, it's in an awkward place where it feels like a cheapie sequel but without the franchise consent that it was okay for a Godzilla sequel to be more about monsters than people. But if the commentary is even half correct then it's a CMoA for the special effects team to come up with so many awesome shots and tricks with less than nine months to do them. Godzilla and Angirius fight is quite good, and the scene of Godzilla roasting a plane out of the air, causing it to to a loop and crash into the bay is quite startlingly awesome. Quite the Pet the Dog commentary.
The fact that America's top monster took on Japan's is another CMoA out of universe.
Akira Ifukbe's music, really, ALL of it. From the march that stands for the humans fighting Godzilla, eventually becoming Godzilla's theme, to creating his roar, to even scoring the music for the final Heisei Godzilla film, Destroyah, and still being full of Crowning Music of Awesome.
The music of "Godzilla 1985" and "Biollante" are Crowning Music of Awesome's. The former is dark and grisly, signaling that Godzilla has gone even Darker and Edgier from "Terror of Mecha-Godzilla". Awesome music includes the Super X theme, Godzilla's rampaging music, and the final music where Godzilla falls into Mt. Mihara. Biollante's music is dark but a bit more poetic and even positive in a way. Biollante's theme, the Super X-2 theme, and even hearing Godzilla's original theme return all count among others.
The amount of recognition the original Japanese Gojira has been getting in America in the past decade should be considered a CMoA. It's theatrical release by Rialto Pictures, it's first DVD release, then it's subsequent release on the Criterion Collection, and recently (as of this writing) it was aired on Turner Classic Movies as a spotlight on the career of director Inoshiro Honda (along with the english dubs of Rodan, Mothra, and The H-Man). It's clear that Gojira has finally been recognized as a Japanese classic comparable to Seven Samurai.
On a similar note it is becoming much better known that when Raymond Burr retook his role for Godzilla 1985 he refused to go with the more comedic tone the editors wanted and took every scene seriously because he thought the original Gojira had a message worth taking seriously.
The American cut of Return Of Godzilla took some liberties but the trimmed down version of the sea louse attack goes from narm or narm charm to short and terrifying.
The trailer for the 2014 Legendary Pictures remake showing up completely unannounced at SDCC 2012 during a panel for upcoming Warner Bros. properties, followed by a very positive audience reaction.
The Teaser Trailer itself. They pretty much start off with soldiers making a jump, and from the POV of one we see the outline of the tale-tell spines... And then various shots of people in terror and scenes of destruction until through the smoke and debris we see the shadow and it gives the trademark roar.
Ota and Kentaro in a crappy old Sherman tank vs. Godzilla. They're able to distract Godzilla from fleeing civilians and survive multiple encounters with Godzilla in the first issue alone.
The entire fight between Godzilla and Anguirus in issue 2.
Bonus points for making Anguirus a truly challenging enemy. Anguirus is made so impressive that Godzilla gets a CMoA for focusing on Anguirus through the smoke and smashing him aside with his tail at the right moment.
Issue 3. Even though it ends with a Tear Jerker, just having an entire issue revolving around an eight-way fight between Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, Battra, Kumonga, Hedorah, Megalon and Ebirah. Also, the Mothra van driving in the crossfire and even driving through Hedorah.
Issue 4. All of it. From Mecha-Godzilla's appearance, Ota taking down Deverich and the entire fight between Godzilla, Mecha-Godzilla and Space-Godzilla.
The last panel of issue 4. For fans wondering where Gigan and King Ghidorah had been for this miniseries, that last panel basically screams that those two are the very worst the universe has to offer, and is a classic shout-out to their team-up in Godzilla Vs Gigan.
Issue 5. First off, the fact King Ghidorah is returned to a true threat as he was in his first appearance, the tag-team fight and Godzilla and Kiryu blasting Gigan's arm off. Even better is Gigan takes the full barrage of Kiryu and Godzilla and he remains standing and willing to fight.
Ota's Heroic Sacrifice, knocking Ghidorah, Gigan, Godzilla, and himself and Mechagodzilla into a black hole in order to save the world.
King Ghidorah is massive and it's amazing when his three heads hoist Godzilla up like he is nothing.
Issue 1, Anguirus wins his first fight ever (in that universe). Who does he beat? Destoroyah.
Issue 4, Heisei Mechagodzilla somewhat teams up with Godzilla to fight Hedorah, who is closer to its original movie version that almost killed Godzilla. Also Mechagodzilla carries Hedorah into the atmosphere, freezes it and blows it apart with the last of the Plasma Grenade.
Issue 5, an old fashioned world explorer comes out of his adventure retirement and agrees to climb up Godzilla for a sample. Also features Godzilla breaking off one of Kumonga's legs and smashing her with it as well as utterly trouncing her in a matter of minutes.
Boxer and his team taking on and defeating Anguirus by trapping him in Edinburgh's dormant volcano by using enough C-4's to level Mt. Kilimanjaro and a beam that disorientates monsters.
Godzilla escaping an electric cage.
The arrival of the space monsters.
Rodan slamming into Gigan in issue 10.
Boxer, Harrison and Hikari freeing the monsters from Monster Island and turning them loose on the space monsters.
Godzilla's fight with Hedorah which has him being thrown into a canyon while the latter shoots acidic sludge at him in his flying form before flying out of there and outright vaporizing that mudball.
Gigan vs. Rodan and Anguirus. All of it. Especially in issue 12 when Anguirus does a Big Damn Heroes moment.
Battra and Titanosaurus fighting Space-Godzilla.
Boxer using Kiryu's Absolute Zero Cannon to pin Space-Godzilla down for Godzilla to get a clear shot at him.
Keizer Ghidorah's first appearance. Also, he can fly.
The entire final battle between Keizer Ghidorah, Rodan and Godzilla. For the first time in the entire 13-issue run, we finally get a battle that captures the epic feel of giant monsters fighting each other to the death. Rodan didn't get to kill Gigan but it gets the awesome compensation prize of blowing off Keizer's center head with a sonic boom.
Godzilla: Rulers of Earth
The entire fight between Godzilla and Zilla. Especially the part where Zilla dodges getting his head crushed by Godzilla just in time to slash at his leg.
Godzilla counters a charge by Zilla in the exact same way as in Final Wars, throwing her with his tail and follows up with a atomic blast immediately. Fight over, right? This time however, Zilla uses his burrowing skills to dive under the ground for a dodge and strikes at Godzilla from cover right after the smoke clears!
In issue 2, when Steve is asking to sign up with the CKR, he is first denied due to him seeking vendettas, to which he is well aware before asking "Do you know anyone else who took down three monsters at the controls of a giant robot? With a little girl as their co-pilot?"
Steve shoulder-barging a juvenile Destoroyah.
The entire battle between Godzilla, Mothra and Destoroyah, including one awesome part where the Big G sword catches AND rips off Destoroyah's horn.
Jet Jaguar flying into Orga and enlarging himself up until he bursts right out of him.
The entire battle of Las Vegas for both issue 6 and 7.
Godzilla cleaning house with four mass-produced MechaGodzillas in issue 15. Had he not been exhausted from the fight he would have taken down Mecha-King Ghidorah as well.
Issue 16: Godzilla teaming up with Anguirus to wipe the floor with Mecha-King Ghidorah.
Issue 17 has Lucy getting a vision from the unconscious Twins of the Cryogs attacking Earth while King Seesar, the larval Mothras and Godzilla roar into the sky, causing her to collapse. This draws the attention of a Russian soldier who thinks she allied with them while Chavez warns him to back off... only to have Kiryu stomp its foot into the ground between them as if saying "Go ahead, just try."
Pretty much everytime we see the monsters rampaging in the prologue. Be it Godzilla and King Ghidorah fighting, Ghidorah fighting Manda and then Larval!Battra, Anguirus attacking Godzilla. They're even terrifying when they go berserk.
Godzilla's atomic breath flat out scythes the top half of Biollante's jaw and body. A good attempt to outdo the classic scene of shooting her in the throat from the movie.
Mothra tackling Megaguirus and easily dispatching the Meganula swarm. However where that fight was going to go is unknown since Godzilla one hit kills Megaguirus.
Mothra's final stand against Godzilla in issue 4 as she tries her best to defend Biollante and humanity from the vengeful Godzilla. The conclusion marks the first time Godzilla's deadly red spiral breath appears in any IDW comic.
The final issue has Destroyah using his flying form to spin circles around Godzilla and get him on the ropes in just a few panels.