This is for the Kaiju and human characters of Godzilla (2014). For the rest of the franchise, go here.
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The last known living member of a species that roamed the Earth back when the planet was being bombarded by radiation during the late Permian period. The military found out about the creature in 1954, and tried to cover up his existence with several nuclear strikes that were reported as tests - but these failed to have any effect on the monster. He eventually re-emerges in 2014, having a score to settle with the Muto.
Accidental Hero: His actions in the final act saved countless lives; killing the Mutos saved what remains of San Francisco and stops what could have been a global epidemic of their species.
Advertised Extra: He himself barely gets 10 minutes of screen time. Granted, those were an insanely nostalgic and epic 10 minutes, but to some simply weren't enough.
Ancient Astronauts: All those sea dragons in medieval texts are in fact him, as the opening credits show, and he was written about dating back to prehistoric cave paintings.
Anti-Hero: The only reason why he hunts the Mutos is not because he wants to stop their destruction, but because their two species are natural enemies; the Mutos are parasites while Godzilla is an apex predator. Yet ultimately his goals end up being in humanity's favor, restoring balance to the world and saving them by destroying the Muto for good. Of course, in the process he destroys two major cities and kills tens of thousands of people. He's a 350 foot tall radioactive creature, finesse is not exactly his strong suit and morality isn't exactly his concern when he has the mind of a wild animal. That said, he seems to have no interest in actively killing humans, best seen when he awakens from his victory and returns to the sea. But that is still up to much interpretation; what if he was just going to feed on the female Muto's carcass?
He even seems to go out of his way to not outright destroy boats and obstacles in his path. Anyone familiar with older Godzilla movies would have expected a far bigger number of humans and buildings that fell prey to him. However, this can merely be attributed to the fact that he is essentially made out to be more realistic in this movie than in most of the Toho films. The Golden Gate Bridge scene is a great example of this: just because he did not intentially walk through the bridge does not mean he is a "good guy", just that real animals would not go out of their way to destroy every object in their path but would instead normally walk around them.
At the end of the film he is seen by one of the main characters as having his usual sentience, making him a hardcore anti-hero.
He blocks missiles from striking the evacuation buses on the Golden Gate Bridge. Though, this seems to be more of a fluke of him rising at the right time.
Art Evolution: He has once again had his design updated. The most noticeable changes are gills on his neck, round, sauropod-like feet, and a much longer tail. The film crew also spent quite a while tweaking his face:
Edwards: Trying to get the face right was the main thing... I guess he's got more of a bear's face, or a dog's. We also used eagle. There's a lot of nobility in an eagle. It made him feel very majestic and noble.
Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: At 355 feet tall, a total length of 550 feet 2 inches long, and 90,000 tons, this is the biggest and heaviest Godzilla of all time.
Awesome Moment of Crowning: After his triumph against the Muto, the American media bestows the well-earned title of "King Of The Monsters" upon him.
Badass: He does not disappoint. He's able to crush the Mutos when entire armies have struggled against them and utterly dominates the battle whenever he fights either of the MUTO one-on-one.
Badass Grandpa: He's possibly the oldest incarnation of Godzilla seen on screen thus far—not just in actual chronological age, but in the way he acts. His scars tell the tale of many, many old battles, and at several points in the film, he just looks tired, like an old soldier dragged away from a nap. Several critics even compared him to John McClane.
Bears Are Bad News: His stance, design and fighting style are based off of those of bears quite a bit. A case of Shown Their Work, as Gojira's original suit actor based his movement on that of bears after studying them in zoos.
Behind the Black: Godzilla manages to pull this off several times despite his enormous size. For instance, during the Honolulu airport attack a helicopter shoots at the M.U.T.O. only to suddenly have to dodge Godzilla's dorsal spikes. Said M.U.T.O. itself doesn't notice Godzilla until he stomps down just a few dozen feet away from him.
Big Damn Heroes: The Mutos seem unstoppable until he pimps into town to show them who's boss. The big reveal in the Honolulu airport suggests this trope, but really it's the final showdown in the San Francisco Bay that best captures it, after Ford blows up the Female Muto's egg, she attempts to kill him. Cue atomic breath, allowing Ford to escape.
Breath Weapon: Godzilla has this power, true to the original incarnation of him. Unlike the laser appearance from Toho's Heisei and Millennium eras, this incarnation's atomic breath is similar to the superheated vapor appearance from the Showa era. He uses it as the coup de grāce against the female Muto three times, but it's only when he force-feeds it to her that it has any real effect.
Combat Pragmatism: While it can be difficult to see, he does adapt to his opponents based on their strengths and weaknesses. It's also how he kills them most effectively. This may also be why he seems to avoid the boats by diving under them and does not destroy the Golden Gate Bridge until he literally falls through it.
Covered In Scars: He is covered in tumorous-looking scars intended to resemble those experienced by victims of radiation.
Dark Is Not Evil: Zig-zagged. While he is potentially as dangerous to humanity as the Mutos (if not more so), he also serves as a Destructive Savior. It is notable that Godzilla does not go out of his way to destroy stuff like he usually does.
Destructive Savior: Even though he's mankind's only hope against the Mutos (this does not necessarily make him a true hero, only in the metaphorical sense), Godzilla leaves a substantial amount of destruction in his wake. He doesn't intentionally destroy stuff, though. It's mostly just a case of him just passing through, as he's just that big. At the end of the film he is hailed (accurately) as the saviour of the human race, making him a literal Destructive Saviour.
Determinator: Chases the Muto relentlessly for miles and when he finally catches up to them, continues fighting even as he was being mauled by the two at once while constantly getting back up no matter how severely he's beaten down. Even a skyscraper collapsing on him only slowed him down for a few minutes.
Disney Death: The nuke that was dropped on him in the beginning should've killed him, right? Nope, he lived through it. This happens twice in the last battle, both times coming out alive but exhausted after a long and brutal fight with each of the Mutos. The first time occurs when he's buried by a skyscraper after crushing the male Muto against it. The second time occurs when he literally collapses to the ground after killing the female Muto, and stays there well into the next day before waking up.
Dynamic Entry: Taken to awesome levels in the airport scene. We get a shot of Godzilla's massive foot, then Godzilla in full view roars at his opponent. He did this again when facing off with the female Muto.
Edible Ammunition: Theoretically, this should apply to him, though we see no signs that he absorbs radiation in the same way he did during the Heisei series. However as proved in the prologue set in 1954, nuking Godzilla doesn't seem to work. And probably just made him even stronger.
Enemy Mine: Of a sort - he refuses to attack the military (who attack him on occasion) because they are opposed to the MUTOs. It helps, though, that it's quite quickly established that the military is effectively no threat to either of them.
Era-Specific Personality: The film once again makes him the terrifying force of nature he was in his earliest films but also continues the Heisei/Millennium portrayal of him being an unintentional defender of humans from other monsters.
Everything's Better with Samurai: Not used or invoked in the film itself, but Gareth Edwards has said that if this incarnation of Godzilla were a human, he would be "the last samurai".
Gareth Edwards: He's an ancient warrior who's the last of his kind, and his kind has long since died out. He lives a very solitary lonely existence and he's very happy to keep away from everyone, but we keep doing things to force him to return and put things right.
Gareth Edwards stated that Godzilla is a "representation of the wrath of nature."
Edwards: Godzilla is definitely a representation of the wrath of nature. The theme is man versus nature and Godzilla is certainly the nature side of it. You can't win that fight. Nature's always going to win and that's what the subtext of our movie is about. He's the punishment we deserve.
In-universe, Dr. Serizawa believes nature sent Godzilla to restore balance to the world by hunting the Mutos.
Genius Bruiser: Godzilla is rather crafty for a giant reptile. After seeing how his atomic breath only had a minor effect on the female Muto, he switched to grabbing her head and firing it down her throat until it decapitated her. As for the male Muto, Godzilla was having difficulty dealing with the male constantly resorting to hit and run attacks from the air. So Godzilla suckered the male into attacking him from behind by pretending that he didn't know it was there, then giving him a tail attack that knocked the male out of the air into a protruding beam, impaling it.
Giant Wall of Watery Doom: He displaces so much water that he kills hundreds of people in massive tsunamis just from rising out of the ocean.
Glasgow Grin: He has a "born with it" variation, though it's only really visible when he opens his mouth to roar or use his atomic breath. Its design seems to be based off the similar "smiles" of many real life reptiles.
Godzilla Threshold: He seems to have one of his own - the signature Atomic Breath, which he only uses once in Awakening and a couple of times in the climax of the film.
Good Is Not Soft: While he does avoid killing humans on most occasions, he isn't against risking lives by damaging property if it means it will help him take down his enemies. For instance, his first appearance in Hawaii causes a tsunami that kills hundreds even as, ironically, he dives under an aircraft carrier to avoid destroying it.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: He is covered in big red scars. This calls to mind the original design philosophy Toho had, in that his skin was supposed to resemble the keloid scars that the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings developed.
Heavy Sleeper: If the climax is anything to go by, so much so that when he gets tired and decides to take a nap after defeating the Mutos, the military initially assumes him to be dead.
Hell Is That Noise: Needless to say, his roar was best described by Gareth Edwards, himself. He said it was, "A roar of nature. A roar of rage."
Erik Aadahl refused to reveal how he created the roar - even to Gareth Edwards - so as not to diminish its capacity to incite fear.
Heroic Second Wind: Manages to gather enough strength to get back up on his feet after suffering many severe injuries from a terribly long battle and being crushed by a skyscraper.
Impossibly Graceful Giant: Played with. He is a lumbering behemoth who causes a lot of damages just by walking through an area, but he is especially graceful in the water, capable of sneaking up on the M.U.T.O. kaiju just fine, and seems to be trying to weave his way through the cities as much as he can to avoid too much damage unlike the M.U.T.O. He's only walking fast to humans because his strides are so long in comparison.
It Can Think: It gives the distinct impressing of regarding the protagonist at one point when it eyeballs him close up.
The Juggernaut: As per usual, he is nearly indestructible, even surviving a nuclear blast prior to the events of the film. This is also his most heavily built incarnation to date. He's so powerful that Dr. Wates poetically makes him out to be a Physical God.
Last of His Kind: He is described as the last of a species that lived when the Earth's surface was still being heavily bombarded by radiation.
Let's Get Dangerous: The look he gives the male MUTO before tail-whipping it to death screams this.
Made of Iron: He survived being nuked multiple times, and it's implied that this made him stronger. First nuke he took? Castle Bravo, a 15 megaton hydrogen bomb. It did nothing to him. Artillery attacks, tank shells, and bullets, he doesn't even notice. Missiles? A mild nuisance. He even takes a skyscraper collapsing on him and manages to get back up. Only attacks from the Mutos put him in any mortal danger. If you know your Godzilla, this is to be expected.
Mighty Glacier: While he's not as particularly fast as some of his previous incarnations, Godzilla here keeps true to the Big G's tradition of being virtually unkillable by taking massive amounts of abuse from all sides while dishing out his own flavors of pain along the way. He's even stabbed multiple times during his fight with the Mutos and just keeps going.
To bring up his fighting style, when faced the female Muto, which almost matches his size, his first offensive bout seems to focus on solely overpowering it with sheer brute strength and tenacity. Then once he learns enough about his enemy he starts aiming for weaknesses.
Mon Bites Mon: Uses his mouth and fangs quite frequently when fighting the Mutos.
Monster Of Mass Destruction: A bit downplayed. Though still very destructive and tending to take out whole cities in his fights, he doesn't cause as much destruction as the Mutos do during the film and takes some effort not to plow through everything in sight.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: He stops the flying Muto with a quick tail swipe into a tall building...which then collapses on top of him.
Nigh-Invulnerability: Taken to new levels, at least with what is confirmed onscreen. In at least some films, most notably The Return Of Godzilla, using nuclear weapons on Godzilla has been suggested but never carried out. In this film it is part of Godzilla's origin: the military tried nuclear as soon as they knew of Godzilla's existence, covering up their attempts as tests known as Operation Castle (Castle Bravo being the best known, and largest, of these tests). Not only did these obviously not kill Godzilla, they appear to have inadvertently caused his mutation and given him his powers, like atomic breath. This new Godzilla might be even harder to kill than previous versions.
Non-Malicious Monster: He's not particularly interested in fighting with humans and goes out of his way not to fight them even when they are opening fire on him. Like Gareth said, humans are like ants to him. You don't go out of your way to stomp on every ant you see, do you?
No Sell: He simply doesn't even notice when humans are attacking him.
Odd Friendship: He seems to form one with Ford, after looking at him and Ford's timely destruction of the Muto larvae. Godzilla even goes out of the way to save Ford afterward.
Physical God: He is described as being like a god compared to the Mutos.
Post-Victory Collapse: After Godzilla flambes the female Muto's innards and rips her head off, he takes a power nap. The military think he's dead until he wakes up the following morning.
Reconstruction: Various elements of his design are updated to seem more plausible. His feet are rounder like a sauropod's to support his heavy weight, he has gills on the side of his neck to explain how he can live underwater, his armoured hide and arms now look crocodilian. In general he's bulkier, as an animal his size and shape probably would be to support its own weight.
Red Baron: The film has a variation on this: after having killed the M.U.T.O.s, a news channel has the headline "King of the Monsters: Saviour of Our City?" This indicates the ambivalent attitude humans have toward his Destructive Saviour status.
Sensory Abuse: His roar was made to be very cacophonous and dissonant along with being loud.
Shown Their Work: According to this news article◊, Gareth Edwards and his crew prepared for the monster fights by studying footage of animals fighting, so Godzilla's fighting style is based off of those of real life animals such as bears and komodo dragons.
The Silent Bob: Excluding his famous roar, of course. Anyways, he's the most expressive Godzilla to date, displaying a lot of body language, and even makes facial expressions.
Stealth Hi/Bye: He manages to pulls this off, usually when underwater, though occasionally he uses smoke and debris clouds.
Time Abyss: Godzilla is suggested in the prequel comic to have survived the Permian Extinction and shifted between dormancy and active hunting across 250 million years, appearing at various points throughout human history.
Up to Eleven: The makers of the film promised that this would be the biggest incarnation of Godzilla yet. As this Yahoo! Movies article puts it:
"Godzilla's always been rather large. But now he's, like, really rather large."
Weaksauce Weakness: His arms are very stubby compared to the rest of him. The male M.U.T.O took advantage of this a couple of times by jumping on his head and stabbing away at him with those long forelegs, with Godzilla having an extremely difficult time dislodging him since he could barely touch the top of his head. They are plenty strong, though, and he uses them to fight the female Muto.
World's Strongest Man: The King of the Monsters himself, obviously the humans have nothing that is even comparable in the muscle department but also none of the M.U.T.O.s came close to matching him in strength. The female MUTO was almost as large as Godzilla but the big guy can easily overpower her using only one hand and without putting any weight behind it.
This is consistent with how a bear, which was one of the basis of his fighting style, compares to most other creatures in its habitat.
Worm Sign: He creates a massive swell in the water as he swims, with his dorsal spines protruding from the top. Taken Up to Eleven when the act of landfall is preceded by a tsunami.
The Mutos, short for "Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism", are a pair of creatures that remained dormant within the fossilized corpse of a Godzillasaur buried within the earth's crust until being accidentally awakened in 1999. There are two of them: A six-legged terrestrial female Muto, and a male four-legged winged Muto. They feed off of nuclear radiation and upon regaining strength intend to unite and build a nest to rebuild their species. The organization MONARCH is responsible for their discovery and has been studying the two creatures.
Alas, Poor Villain: It's hard not to feel a bit sorry for the Mutos when the mother is mourning the death of her babies, especially when we see them meet and the father feeds a nuke to the mother and they nuzzle a bit before making the nest. The mother's anguished vocalizations manage to convey the message perfectly.
All There in the Script: The script allegedly refers to them as "Hokmuto" and "Femuto" respectively. Hokmuto gets his name from Janjira being located in Hokkaido in an earlier draft, and Femuto gets hers from being a lady monster.
Anti-Villain: Not really apparent until near the end of the film. Their goal is merely to reunite with one another, have offspring, and ensue the resurgence of their species. Even with the amount of destruction they cause, they are at least sympathetic in this regard. In addition, they usually only cause destruction solely because they're so large and through the movie they act like actual animals.
Attack Its Weak Point: The female Muto is too heavily armoured to kill through brute force. Godzilla gets around this by forcing her jaws open and firing a torrent of atomic breath down her throat, disintegrating the Muto from inside out.
Badass: These Kaiju are not pushovers - when working together, they can hold their own to Godzilla and came close to killing him more than once.
Battle Couple: In a sense, as they are a mated pair and manage to put up a real fight against Godzilla. One-on-one, they are severely outmatched, although the male one had the advantage of being able to fly.
Behind the Black: Particularly egregious in at least two instances, once when eating the submarine and once when it left a hole in the side of a mountain and was marching on Vegas in broad daylight and no one noticed until looking from the inside of the mountain.
Berserk Button: The female Muto loses it after Ford blows up her eggs, and attempts to go after him after that.
Big Bad Duumvirate: They are more or less this, though the female is arguably the bigger threat (and literally the bigger monster) as she carries with her thousands of baby monsters and is the most protective of them.
Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: Downplayed. The male has four legs and wings but is relatively small in size compared to Godzilla, while the female is nearly Godzilla's size and has six legs but cannot fly. Otherwise, the two are pretty much identical in appearance. This exists in some real-life animals, like spiders.
Brother-Sister Incest: The fact that the male Muto's egg and the female Muto's egg were found side-by-side in the same location indicates they're part of the same clutch. Possibly subverted as it's never shown if or how they mate, so the female may have been self reproducing. Completely subverted since what the male and female Muto came out of were cocoons not eggs, you see eggs later in the film and they look nothing alike.
Canon Foreigner: Although Toho's Godzilla franchise features plenty of giant mutant insectoid monsters, the makers of this film decided to introduce the Mutos as an original set of this sort of creature for Godzilla to fight.
Combat Pragmatist: They're not averse to double-teaming Godzilla or biting him and latching on.
Cruel and Unusual Death: The flying one gets impaled on a broken building, while the larger female dies when Godzilla forces her mouth open and fires his atomic breath down her throat before ripping her head off for good measure.
Death from Above: The male Muto employs a hit and run strategy using its wings, and dive-bombs the boat carrying the nuclear bomb the military intended to use to kill him, the female, and Godzilla.
Determinator: Angry mama MUTO after realizing Ford destroyed her eggs.
The Dreaded: Anytime they showed up, you can bet it was a scary moment. Even when they were just shown on the news, such as the female one running through Vegas, was pretty creepy. Little wonder that the military attempted to use nukes on them, albeit in a rather unconventional way.
Dug Too Deep: They were awakened by a mining operation digging into the cavern where they were laying dormant.
Edible Ammunition: They feed on radiation and radioactive materials, so to them a nuke is more of a tasty snack than a legitimate threat.
Elemental Punch: One of the Mutos has an ability where it is seen storing glowing energy in its segmented forearm and slamming it into the ground to produce a burst of energy.
EMP: They have the ability to emit natural electromagnetic pulses. Indeed, the lights suddenly going out in the area serves as an indirect sign that they are nearby. It also makes it difficult to use many modern weapons against them, as evidenced by the scene where a bunch of fighter jets sent to take one out suddenly shut down and crash into San Francisco Bay.note Real fighter jets are hardened to resist EMP for exactly this reason; but even if all the electronics on a fighter did get fried, it wouldn't suddenly go into an unrecoverable flat spin as shown in the movie as the engines would still be running for a while. It would probably be rendered useless as a weapons platform, though. Of note, at first it seems the use this accidentally (as it seems more them trying to use the shockwave that accompanies them setting it off), but by the time of the San Francisco, the male Muto has seemed to learn to use it offensively.
Energy Absorption: Of the nuclear kind, with the Mutos seeing nukes as more of a pastry than a weapon of mass destruction. This becomes a problem later when the Mutos snag a live and ticking nuke under everyone's noses to feed their young.
Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: When the MONARCH team discovers discovers that the two Mutos have been communicating with each other, Serizawa explains that the female Muto's egg is currently located at the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository — which is not only filled with radioactive waste (which the Mutos feed on), but also happens be located right outside Las Vegas.
The male Muto has often been mistaken for Rodan itself. Some also compare it to the Heisei version of the Gyaos.
Its face looks a lot like Orga.
Femuto's face closely resembles Burtannus from the Dark Horse Godzilla series.
There's some Gigan there, too. Note the red Cylon eyes and the hooklike appendages.
Extreme Omnivore: Crossed with Eat Dirt Cheap, as they consume radioactive material. Even a nuclear bomb is little more than a metallic pastry to them.
Eyelights Out: When the male Muto dies, we get a close up on his eyes to emphasize with this trope that he is dead.
Feed It a Bomb: Aside from them literally eating nuclear bombs, Godzilla kills the female Muto by blasting his Atomic Breath straight down her throat.
Fragile Speedster / Mighty Glacier: The male Muto, thanks to flight and its relatively small size, is able to employ hit-and-run tactics with Godzilla but goes down instantly when Godzilla manages to get a direct hit in. The female, who is terrestrial, is quite slow but is almost as big as Godzilla and could shrug off two hits from Godzilla's atomic breath relatively easily. Unfortunately for the female, Godzilla is a much stronger Mighty Glacier. This actually complements their separate fighting styles, allowing the two to work together well enough to gain the advantage against Godzilla: While the male was distracting Godzilla, it allowed the much bigger and stronger female to attack Godzilla from behind. When Godzilla reacts to this and begins to overpower the female, the male flies around and attacks Godzilla again from behind, distracting him and repeating the cycle.
Gas Leak Coverup: The Janjira incident was caused by the male Muto burrowing into the plant's core and feeding off the radiation until it grew to maturity. The surrounding area wasn't evacuated due to radiation but to hide the existence of the Muto's cocoon.
Giant Flyer: The male Muto has a pair of enormous wings in place of one set of legs.
Glowing Eyes of Doom: They have red glowing slits for eyes, which lack any kind of pupils. They may be heat sensors or compound eyes.
Going Critical: The male Muto played a major role in the Janjira disaster. A possible subversion in this case, because the story of the Janjira reactor going critical was all part of the coverup to hide their existence.
Headbutt of Love: Between the male and female MUTOs when they meet up. It's surprisingly adorable.
In context, that's what the female sounds like while building her nest in San Francisco.
Humans Are Insects: They are mostly indifferent to humans, although they will brush them away if they start stinging them with gunfire or roast a nest full of MUTO eggs.
Hybrid Monster: They have the jaws of a Graboid, the head shape and shiny black armor of a Xenomorph, the body structure of the Cloverfield Monster, Gigan's hooks and red eyes, and for the male, Megagurius-lik wings.
Irony: The Male MUTO does all the things Godzilla does in Blue Oyster Cult's song Godzilla: he pulls some splitting high-tension wires down as he escapes from Janjira, helpless people on a subway train scream as he looks in on them, and he picks up a bus and throws it back down as he obtains a nuke from the military to present to his mate.
They hint at it, such as when the female figures out that Brody is what killed her eggs.
Another notable moment is the female MUTO seems to actively wait for the train carrying the nuclear weapons and ambush them, making use of her natural camouflage. Also, it appears by the point of the San Francisco fight, the Mutos have learned to weaponize their EMP abilities (before primarily using the shockwave accompanying it to throw soldiers).
Last Of Its Kind: Like Godzilla, they are described as the last of a species that lived when the Earth's surface was still being heavily bombarded by radiation.
Mama Bear: When the Female Muto realizes her nest has been blown up she immediately ditches the fight with Godzilla, and when she sees Ford nearby she puts two and two together and relentlessly chases him.
Papa Wolf: The male MUTO is far smaller than Godzilla, yet is willing to dive-bomb the great lizard when he approaches the nest.
Meet Cute: Played with to make a Kaiju version. He-MUTO and She-MUTO meet up in San Francisco for the first time, and the male presents the female with a nuclear warhead as a courtship present. They trade it from mouth to mouth like a kiss before the female takes it to feather the nest.
Mix-and-Match Critters: Critics have most commonly characterized them as a mix between a praying mantis and a pterosaur.
Mon Bites Mon: They both use their jaws occasionally in their fight with Godzilla. The female in particular managed to severely wound him once and toss him to the ground by biting him.
Monster Is a Mommy: The female Muto has hundreds of glowing orange eggs in her belly, and lays them when she meets up with the male. Their destruction distracts from their double-teaming of Godzilla.
Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Both MUTOs possess eight limbs total: the female has four forelegs, two hind legs, and a set of smaller arms, while the male MUTO has two forelegs, two hind legs, a pair of enormous wings, and a set of smaller arms.
No Name Given: The Mutos aren't given specific names, but are just referred to as "the male" and "the female" of their species.
Non-Indicative Name: A Justified Trope. M.U.T.O. stands for "Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism," and it originally described the so-labeled beast pretty well. However, the label became obsolete with a recent development, in which Stenz describes the creature as "no longer terrestrial" in movement. It still applies to the female one, however.
Non-Malicious Monster: They aren't really evil, most of the destruction they cause is just due to them being so large, and through the movie they act like actual animals. There are even sympathetic moments with them, such as the loving moment the couple have sharing a nuke, and the mother crying at the destruction of her nest.
No Sell: They are only mildly annoyed by even the heaviest ordnance the military can bring to bear.
Not Quite Dead: Twice. The female Muto was discovered dormant and thought to be dead after being dissected by the military, and the male Muto was electrocuted after Dr. Serizawa deemed its EMP-pulses making it be too dangerous to be kept alive. However, neither of them are dead either time.
Nuclear Nasty: The Muto are ancient creatures from a time when the world was intensely radioactive, and feed off radioactive material. This presents a problem when they steal a live nuclear warhead and use it in their nest at the heart of San Francisco...
Off with His Head!: The female Muto's fate, after Godzilla fries her neck from the inside with his radioactive breath and rips her head off.
Oh Crap: When the male Muto sees Godzilla for the first time in Honolulu, he actually looks scared and prompty starts to flee.
Personal Space Invader: The male Muto's tactic against Godzilla was to grab onto him, allowing the female to get an easier hit.
Pet the Dog: Despite their viciousness the Mutos have a surprisingly touching scene when they reunite in San Francisco, where the male Muto courts the female - using a live atomic bomb as a nuptial gift - and the two prepare to build a nest. This is arguably their entire raison d'etre.
Pregnant Badass: Subverted. The female MUTO was pregnant after meeting with the male, but doesn't mean she's not a Badass taking on Godzilla after laying her eggs.
Proportionately Ponderous Parasites: Their life cycle apparently involves multiple larvae infesting a Godzillasaur and pupating inside its body, similar to a Tarantula Hawk and related kinds of wasp. This gives them and Godzilla a pretty good justification for fighting beyond the fact that beating each other senseless while knocking over skyscrapers is just what kaijus do.
Railroad Tracks of Doom: When the female Muto attacks the USM train carrying nukes, it is set on fire and nearly crushes Ford.
Radiation Immune Mutants: A subversion. They are immune to radiation (and feed on it!) but are actually natural creatures, originally from a time when radiation levels on earth were much higher.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Upon witnessing her babies erupt into flames and deducing that a nearby Ford Brody did it, the female Muto gets pissed off, to say the least. She even starts directly attacking soldiers instead of doing so accidently, and once she sees the killer of her babies again, she is clearly filled with rage.
Shock and Awe: To an extent. The Mutos are able to emit EMPs thanks to their absorbing of radiation. It doesn't directly harm organic creatures, but the force of their footsteps still creates a powerful shockwave of its own that can send humans flying.
Shout-Out: The male MUTO looks like Mothra or Battra and fights like Megaguirus.
Sealed Evil in a Can: Originally, Shinomura and Godzilla (and for that matter every radiovore) fled deep beneath the earth as the radiation levels receded. It was only after the bombing of Hiroshima that lured Shinomura from its hiding place.
A multi-limbed monster that appeared in the SDCC teaser trailer for the movie. Other than being an original, centipede-like monster created specifically for the reboot, no other information about this monster (including its name) was given, and it was eventually confirmed that it was not appearing in the final film, having been replaced by the Mutos.
Canon Foreigner: Only appeared in the SDCC teaser trailer, but did not appear in the final film. There is, however, a small nod to it in the form of a peculiar and brightly coloured millipede in the Janjira zone.
Advertised Extra: Trailers for the film heavily featured him. His character is important in the beginning of the film, but is killed off pretty quickly.
Conspiracy Theorist: After his wife Sandra was among the deaths at the Janjira nuclear power plant when it was abruptly destroyed, he is convinced that whatever caused the disaster was a bit less "natural" than an earthquake. He spends the next 15 years trying to piece together the truth behind the tragedy. So he's unsurprisingly miffed to find out that a group called MONARCH is, indeed, covering up what actually happened.
Decoy Protagonist: Though he is given a lot of development early on in the film, his son is The Hero of the story as far as human characters go.
Determinator: Even 15 years after the incident, he hasn't given up on finding the truth.
Disappeared Dad: He becomes one in the emotionally absent but physically present sense after the Janjira disaster. He then becomes one in the literal sense right after he and his son Ford have finally reconciled upon the latter realizing Joe wasn't an obsessed crazyhead.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: The film sets him up as a major protagonist with an integral role in the story. Minutes after the male MUTO gets released, he LITERALLY gets a bridge dropped on him and dies without warning.
Fatal Family Photo: He dies roughly 20 minutes after finding an intact photo of his family in their old house.
I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Back in 1999, he had his wife Sandra go down to investigate the Janjira NPP's reactor in the wake of mysterious tremors. Not only did this put her in harm's way when there was a breach, he ends up having to close the blast doors on her and her team in order to keep radioactive gas from leaking into the rest of the city. His obsession with figuring out the cause of the breach that killed his wife leads to him discovering that some large, strange entity is now active in the ruins of the facility.
Ironic Birthday: Reversed. Joe is told of his birthday by his wife before they go off to the power plant where they work. Hell breaks loose when the plant is breached and his wife dies.
My God, What Have I Done?: The look on his face after his wife's death says it all. His obsession is also most likely fueled by guilt.
Parental Abandonment: It's implied that he was less than a stellar parent after his wife's death. He's still in relatively good terms with his son despite this.
Parental Neglect: Even before the incident at the power plant turned him into an obsessive conspiracy theorist, Joe was already unintentionally dismissive of his family, forgetting to greet his son in the morning and even that it's his own birthday today.
Room Full of Crazy: He has a room covered with newspaper clippings and other documents relating to his search for the truth behind the collapse of the Janjira plant that led to his wife's death. His son is understandably taken aback at all this; his father simply replies: "I don't get too many visitors".
Sacrificial Lion: Gets the most development early on, but is killed when the first Muto awakens.
"Well Done, Dad" Guy: As a result of the death of his wife Sandra at Janjira and his subsequent development into a Properly ParanoidConspiracy Theorist investigating what really caused the plant to collapse, he has become estranged from his son Ford, who thinks all his dad's crazy-sounding theories are just a pathetic attempt keep from moving on from that grief like he has. The fact that the first time in years Ford meets up with Joe is to retrieve him after he got arrested trying to sneak into the Janjira quarantine zone didn't help either.
Joe's wife, and one of the engineers at the nuclear plant where he works.
Billing Displacement: Juliette Binoche, who plays Sandra, is billed fourth in the opening credits, despite having less than ten minutes of screentime.
Death by Origin Story: She's shown with Joe and a young Ford Brody at the beginning of the film, and dies shortly afterwards. The film then jumps fifteen years later, and we're shown that Joe hasn't gotten over her death, while their son Ford has moved on, married and has a kid of his own.
Disposable Woman: She promises young son Ford that they'll work out a way to surprise dad Joe after work. She helps him hang the HAPPY BIRTHDAY sign for Joe before coming out to kiss Joe and wish him happy birthday (he'd forgotten in his concern over the tremors). She then dutifully follows Joe's request that her team go check the reactor. She wisely commands her team out when the tremors begin again, stops to pick up a fallen comrade, and then pulls off her mask when it no longer matters because she won't get out — just to tearfully say goodbye to the grieving and guilt-wracked husband who sent her down there in the firs place, setting him up for 15 years of obsessive guilt-fueled angst.
Sacrificial Lamb: She dies in the first fifteen minutes of the film due to severe radiation poisoning.
We Hardly Knew Ye: She and the scientists stuck on the wrong side of the breach doors are the first characters to die in the movie.
Joe' and Sandra's only child. The primary human protagonist of the film, he is a Navy bomb tech on leave when the events of the movie began.
Action Survivor: With the Mutos and Godzilla, the best you can do is stay out of the way and hope for the best.
Badass: Dismantles bombs for a living and doesn't hesitate to join in the fight against the Mutos.
Big Damn Heroes: To Godzilla, ironically enough. When both Mutos were pummeling the snot out of Godzilla, the explosion that Ford caused to destroy all the Muto eggs drew their attention, freeing Godzilla.
Born Lucky: You can count how many times he survives with his encounters with the Muto, the same one he keeps encountering. 5 times, the last 2 due to Godzilla's Big Damn Heroes moments.
Chekhov's Skill: Subverted. Despite repeatedly establishing his EOD tech abilities, the bomb is too damaged to be defused and goes off, though out of range.
Defiant to the End: When he's backed against the wall by an angry Mama Bear mode Femuto, he points a pistol at her, which would have done precisely squat against it.
Deuteragonist: He plays the other role of protagonist while Godzilla is the lead. This is alluded to when Ford faints at the same time Godzilla collapses after defeating the MUTOs.
Fatal Family Photo: Subverted he brings out a photo of his wife and son and has a close call soon after, but ultimately lives to the end.]]
The Jinx: Everytime he is with a group of people, he tends to be the sole or one of the few survivors.
Nerves of Steel: It takes brass balls to stay calm when the Mutos starts their rampage.
Nice Guy: Is a loving father and a spouse and very patient with his more-than-a-little crazy dad. The moment he hears Joe has been arrested in Japan he rushes to his side and tries to convince him to come home with him.
Not So Stoic: When he sees the dead body of his father, Ford tears up.
Plot Armor: Our hero, survives no less than four catastrophes, two of which he is the only survivor.
Sole Survivor: Becomes this several times to the units he joins along the way to saving his family.
Ford's wife and a San Francisco nurse.
Deadpan Snarker: Before Ford leaves for Japan to bail out his father, Elle is trying to tell him that Joe is a good man who just needs some help after he lost everything the day Janjira turned into a nuclear hotspot. Ford responds he lost everything too but got over it leading Elle to respond, "Well I can see that."
Distressed Damsel: Her role is basically to be in danger from the Kaiju and motivate Ford to risk his life to save her.
Morton's Fork: She ends up trapped on a road with a group of other people with Godzilla on one side and the winged MUTO on the other.
Dr. Ishiro Serizawa
The scientist in charge of the MONARCH project and an expert on Godzilla and Kaiju.
Admiring the Abomination: Has a quasi-religious attitude towards Godzilla, believing that he is essentially the personification of the balance of nature and the only hope humanity has of neutralizing the M.U.T.O.s, even if he has to kill people and destroy cities in the process. Admiral Stenz understandably thinks him naive for this.
The Bus Came Back: Dr. Serizawa, not seen since the first film, is back, being portrayed by Ken Watanabe. However, the character is a descendant instead of the original, and he's for Godzilla instead of against him.
Composite Character: Has the surname and world-weariness of Daisuke Serizawa, is a palaeontologist that wants to study the monsters versus killing them like Dr. Kyohei Yamane, and his insistence that Godzilla will save the day.
Mr. Exposition: Much of his screentime is devote to him providing backstory for Godzilla along with the Mutos, and how to potentially stop them.
Reasonable Authority Figure: When he first sees Joe Brody being interrogated, at first he thinks the guy's a loony. But then he looks at the papers Joe had on him, and notices the patterns perfectly match the ones they're seeing now. When the US Navy picks him up, he also has them bring both Brody's along. He realizes too late that Joe had indeed predicted that something wasn't right about those readings he was examining for the last 15 years. And though his son Ford didn't have the same knowledge, he did provide enough of a clue for Serizawa to figure out that Godzilla may not be quite the bad guy as he's seen as.
Spared by the Adaptation: Although not quite the same character, his previous incarnation in the series died preventing Godzilla from wreaking more havoc while here Serizawa is trying to convince the military the importance of Godzilla and comes out of the film with very little scrapes and bruises.
Tragic Keepsake: His pocket watch, which originally belonged to his father and was broken in the Hiroshima bombing.
Tuckerization: His first name is a tribute to Ishiro Honda, the director of the original Godzilla and the acknowledged creator of Godzilla. Though there was also a Dr. Serizawa in the original, his first name was "Daisuke".
Dr. Vivienne Graham
Dr. Serizawa's assistant.
Admiring the Abomination: Has a quasi-religious attitude towards Godzilla, even calling him "a god, for all intents and purposes." Admiral Stenz understandably thinks her naive for this.
The military senior officer in charge of the operations to combat the Mutos.
Godzilla Threshold: He believes that utilizing nuclear weapon work as the least costly way of dealing with the MUTO. He's aware that they feed off of radiation, but believes the sheer strength of the explosion will be enough to kill them, noting that, while the H-Bomb didn't kill Godzilla in 1954, it's a firecracker in comparison to what is at their disposal six decades later.
Reasonable Authority Figure: While he treats Godzilla as a threat for a good reason, he doesn't go out of his way like many military characters in these type of movies would and is always open to suggestions from civilian experts. Also, related to the above plan of using a nuke, he points out that they are pretty much out of other options and have to do all they can to protect the civilians on the coast, and despite that genuinely empathizes with Serizawa's perspective on the matter.
Underestimating Badassery: He has some doubts about Godzilla's ability to defeat the Mutos, in spite of chasing one of the Muto out of Honolulu and hardly being affected by the Navy's gunnery in San Francisco Bay.