"The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control, and not the other way around... Let them fight."Godzilla
— Dr. Ishiro Serizawa
is Legendary Pictures
' 2014 Continuity Reboot
to the Godzilla
franchise, and the second Godzilla
movie produced in America, following the 1998 remake
. It is also the first Godzilla
film to be made since Godzilla Final Wars
10 years earlier, as well as the first Godzilla
movie to receive an American theatrical release since Godzilla 2000
. It's directed by Gareth Edwards
). It takes a great deal of inspiration from the original 1954 film
over the Camp Toku
movies of the late Showa era that most Western audiences are familiar with
. The film also shares several similarities with the unused 1994 script
for the first American Godzilla
movie to a lesser degree.
The story starts off with the opening credits in 1954 where humans accidentally awaken a prehistoric creature that gets sustenance from nuclear energy. To keep the beast from becoming a threat to people, nuclear strikes are directed at it in the Pacific Ocean under the cover of weapons testing, and when that fails to kill it, the creature's existence is concealed from the public.
The narrative picks up in 1999, when a personal tragedy at the Janjira nuclear plant in Japan tears apart the Brody family. Fifteen years later, Lieutenant Ford Brody and his father Joe Brody eventually decide to investigate the Janjira collapse more closely, which brings them into the middle of a conspiracy involving the organisation known as MONARCH and the rekindling of an ancient conflict between giants that could threaten the safety of the world.
It stars Aaron Johnson
as Lieutenant Ford Brody, Elizabeth Olsen
as Elle Brody, Bryan Cranston
as Joe Brody, Juliette Binoche as Sandra Brody, David Strathairn as Admiral Stenz, Sally Hawkins as Dr. Wates, and Ken Watanabe
as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa
, inspired by the character from the 1954 film.
A 72-page graphic novel prequel called Godzilla: Awakening
was released on May 7, nine days before the movie itself came out, and a novelization has also been released. App game stores get Godzilla: Smash3
, a Match Three Game
with RPG Elements
produced by the makers of Godzilla Destroy All Monsters Melee
and its sequels.
The film was successful and the #1 movie in the world for a while (Until X-Men: Days of Future Past
came out), and Legendary has since decided to expand Godzilla into a trilogy, announcing plans at Comic-Con to incorporate classic Toho characters Mothra
and King Ghidorah
into the second film. The second film is to be released on June 8th, 2018. Inspired by the film's success and to make the wait less harsh, Toho is plotting a new Godzilla film of their own separate from Legendary's series set for release in 2016, which may possibly result in two
running Godzilla series at once.
For the original Japanese film, see Godzilla (1954)
(along with the American re-edit, Godzilla: King of the Monsters
, and the Italian re-edit, Cozzilla
). For the 1984 direct sequel, see The Return Of Godzilla
. For the first American-made One-Word Title Godzilla
film, see Godzilla (1998)
.Some spoilers below are left unmarked
, given that the movie borrows from the formula of other monster movies. Read at your own risk
"I would not be asking any one of you to add tropes to this page if I did not have complete faith in your ability to succeed. Your courage will never be more needed than it is today."
- 3-D Movie: This film was released in Imax 3D and well as Real-D along with the 2D version
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The film has many of these, with the main focus being the relationship between Lieutenant Ford and his father Joe Brody. Director Gareth Edwards has stated that it was very vital for such scenes to be present and well-done, as the intimate moments between the human characters serve to contrast with and emphasize the enormity of Godzilla himself and the other kaiju he battles.
It makes the big things look bigger when you've just had a quiet moment. If everything is whizz-bang constantly throughout the whole movie it just becomes nothing. So you have to carefully go to quiet and restrain things so that the other things hit you hard.
- There is a also a moment in Honolulu where, amid all the chaos and panic, Elle (and we) look up to watch something falling to Earth like a dandelion seed. It's the parachute of a fighter pilot...and after a few moments his plane crashes into a building, breaking the spell and returning to the action.
- Action Survivor:
- Joe Brody survives the first incident in the nuclear plant. He suffers Character Death when the male [MUTO] awakens.
- Ford Brody. With the Mutos and Godzilla, the best you can do is stay out of the way and hope for the best.
- Admiring the Abomination: Doctors Ishiro Serizawa and Vivienne Graham have a quasi-religious attitude toward Godzilla, with Dr. Graham even calling him "a god, for all intents and purposes." Serizawa believes that Godzilla 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 them naive for this.
- Advertised Extra:
- Trailers heavily featured Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame. His character is important in the beginning of the film, but dies pretty quickly.
- Godzilla himself barely gets 20 minutes of screen time. Granted, those were an insanely nostalgic and epic 20 minutes, but to some they simply weren't enough.
- All There in the Manual: The Novelization gives the characters more development and provides insight into them, as well as additional backstories.
- Alternate History: Subtle example. While the Pacific nuke tests being covert attempts to kill Godzilla falls under Historical In-Joke, the 1999 collapse of the Janjira NPP and the subsequent quarantine of a sizable Japanese metropolitan area is a much bigger divergence.
- Always a Bigger Fish: The main dynamic between Godzilla and the MUTOs; Godzilla happens to be the Apex Predator of eons-old radioactive giants, and is pursuing the MUTOs like a predator hunts its prey.
- Anvilicious: In-Universe. When asked by the admiral why he doesn't want to use nukes to kill the MUTOs, Serizawa hands him his father's watch, stopped at 8:15. Ever since the morning of the 6th of August 1945, in a town called Hiroshima... Serizawa hopes it'll be enough to dissuade him. Though he's visibly provoked to thought, he ultimately decides to use nukes anyway. This is a reference to the original Godzilla, who was a dinosaur mutated from overexposure to nuclear radiation; the entire concept was created as a metaphor for the horrors of nuclear war, which naturally the Japanese knew very well at the time of the original release. Since this movie attempted a more natural, scientific explanation, a nod was thrown in for the true origins of Godzilla. As Awakening reveals, Godzilla did surface for the first time in centuries due to the radiation of the Atomic Bomb dropped there, as it attracted the attention of Shinomura.
- Apocalypse Wow: One of Godzilla's themes is him being nuclear apocalypse in the form of a giant creature. Just look at Honolulu and San Francisco in the wake of the monster. This also ties into Gareth Edwards' "delayed gratification" approach to showing the monsters; Godzilla and the MUTOs don't fill the screen as often as the CGI stars of other summer blockbusters do, but the aftermath of their rampages can still be used to imply their recent presence. In fact, that's the major indicator of their presence.
- Art Evolution: Godzilla 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.
- Artistic License – Biology:
- The square cube limit on size as usual puts a crimp in giant monster viability in our universe, so we can breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy the movie.
- If the MUTOS eat radiation, what is the point of them having powerful jaws equipped with razor-sharp teeth? Of course, since their cocoons were inside a giant skeleton which was radiative, which likely means that when it was alive it was radiative, so it wouldn't be to far fetched to say that the Mutos simply ate radioactive animals.
- Same with Godzilla, however in previous films it is established (such as in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah that Godzilla (and his offspring) would eat whales and other giant marine animals as well as consuming radiation from nuclear test sites and nuclear plants.
- Artistic License – Geography:
- There are plenty of radiation sources in China and Japan far closer to the Philippines than the Kanto region, Yucca mountain was never operational nor that close to Las Vegas, and all three creatures take the long way from their respective positions to end up in San Francisco. Within the locations however, the geography is quite good- Godzilla takes a reasonable path from Waikiki to the airport, the Female MUTO heads the right way on the Vegas Strip, and so on.
- Ford's son is evacuated to Oakland Regional Park (which doesn't actually exist, though Redwood Regional park in Oakland does) by bus. Via The Golden Gate Bridge. Those familiar with the the layout of the city know The Golden Gate Bridge leads north while Oakland is in the east. To get there via The Golden Gate Bridge would take far longer. It would make mores sense to head east via The Bay Bridge. A possible explanation though is that the city needed to be evacuated at all points due to the sheer amount of traffic trying to evacuated roughly a million people out of the city would create. It would make sense then to have some people evacuated to the north while others are evacuated to the south and directly to the east. It's still a stretch but it's not out of the question.
- The Golden Gate Bridge itself is 220 feet above the water, which is an additional 360 feet deep. Godzilla is 350 feet tall, so standing it wouldn't even break the surface near let alone whack into the middle span, and could easily swim under it.
- Artistic License – Nuclear Physics:
- The radiation detection capability of the MUTO is quite extraordinary, and radiation is not nutritive, except maybe to certain fungi...this is a Godzilla film after all.
- The MUTO creatures are drawn to nuclear weapons including ones on a submarine, but completely ignore the active nuclear reactors on the navy ships.
- A reactor breach would not result in a highly radioactive death steam, the scene where the engineers try to "outrun" the cloud of radioactive vapor is entirely unrealistic for multiple reasons. There was no explosion, so there shouldn't be some kind of billowing fog, likewise the steam would've been minimally radioactive at best, nuclear power plants do not contain "blast doors" to seal off reactor chambers, and even if they did, there was no real need to close it even if a small amount of radiation escaped. The engineers would've probably spent days inside dying of dehydration rather than in minutes due to exposure (to put it into perspective, workers at Chernobyl who were exposed directly to the reactor core survived for weeks and died mostly slow, agonizingly painful deaths). In fact, the movie seems to suffer heavily from Chernobyl mythos, as an "exclusion zone" gets set up around the reactor (which is apparently full of "lethal" radiation) despite the fact that A) None of the fuel was jettisoned from the building and B) Even if it was, the area would not be THAT radioactive.
- Artistic License – Physics:
- Special effects artists still haven't figured out what really happens if you sever a suspension bridge's cables.
- Until they detonate, nuclear warheads are just the teensy little bit of nuclear isotope to start the explosion. Whatever good the MUTOs get from eating them is minimal.
- In real life electronics don't just turn back on after getting hit with an EMP - you need to replace the broken components, a process made more complicated by the miniaturisation that's occured since the 1970s.
- Artistic License – Ships:
- Three aircraft carriers were used shooting the film and none of them the USS Saratoga as the movie says, because the real Saratoga was decommissioned in 1994, making it safe from bragging by current sailors. The hull number on the Saratoga is CVN-88, which isn't even being planned yet, so go with Alternate History again on this.
- The "Akula" is more similar to a Kilo or Chinese Song class submarine - neither of which is nuclear.
- A Storm Is Coming: Used on the M.U.T.O. Research Viral Marketing website for the film if you type in "STORM" or something similar, in a bit of promotional Foreshadowing for Godzilla's Giant Wall of Watery Doom and the M.U.T.O.s' EMP:
PLEASE BE ADVISED: SEVERE WEATHER ALERT ISSUED FOR THE NORTHEASTERN PACIFIC SEABOARD, WITH POSSIBLE ELECTROMAGNETIC DISRUPTION. NO FURTHER INFORMATION AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME.
- As You Know: When the Janjira reactor collapses and starts venting radioactive gas into the structure, Joe feels the need to remind his wife (and, by extension, the audience), that she has to hurry out of there, otherwise she "won't last five minutes, with or without the suits". Never mind that she's one of the (if not the) lead technicians at the plant and is probably more aware of the risks than he is.
- Attack Its Weak Point:
- Godzilla's gills are quite sensitive and seem to be his most vulnerable area.
- The female MUTO is too heavily armored 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.
- Godzilla 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.
- The Mutos. These Kaiju are not pushovers - when working together, they can hold their own to Godzilla and came close to killing him more than once.
- Ford Brody dismantles bombs for a living and doesn't hesitate to join in the fight against the Mutos.
- Badass Driver: The film features a One-Scene Wonder bus driver who manages to drive his vehicle full of kids, including Sam Brody, through police and military barricades in the middle of an explosive skirmish between Godzilla and the Navy, getting off the Golden Gate Bridge just before the massive Kaiju barges through it.
- Bad Vibrations: Joe and Sandra Brody are rather worried about the earthquake that seems to have hit the Janjira nuclear plant. Then Joe realizes that it can't be an earthquake because A) none of the other plants in the region are reporting tremors, B) the vibrations are too concentrated and regular for an earthquake, and C) the vibrations are slowly but surely increasing in strength.
- Battle Discretion Shot: Large chunks of the battles between Godzilla and the MUTOs take place just off-camera, with the shot following the humans caught in the middle.
- Battle in the Rain: The scene where Godzilla and the flying MUTO first fight in San Francisco takes place in the rain.
- Behemoth Battle: Godzilla vs the MUTOs occurs at several points during the film but all except the last are cut short. This last one is awesome.
- 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.
- The MUTOs do this three times, once when eating the submarine and once when one 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. Also when sneaking up on the train in the dark.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: The two MUTO monsters 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. Yet, they are still anti-villains whose goals are to simply mate and reproduce.
- Big Budget Beef-Up: The film features Godzilla in his biggest incarnation yet, bigger than every other incarnation of the character in terms of both height and length.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies:
- The "MUTOs" resemble large insects.
- The Teaser Trailer Monster is described as resembling a centipede or a tardigrade.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- The MUTOs seem unstoppable until Godzilla 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.
- Ford 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.
- Big Entrance: A MUTO is introduced demolishing a Honolulu airport. At one point, it causes a long chain reaction of exploding aircraft. The last explosion dissipates, revealing a Giant Foot of Stomping that manages to dwarf the entire MUTO. We then get a sweeping shot of Godzilla's whole body as he roars. It's also done in San Francisco just when he's about to face off against the female MUTO.
- Big Good: In a very loose way, Godzilla is seen as this by Dr. Serizawa, who notes that the creature is humanity's best chance at survival. Yet, he is still nothing more than a wild animal who cares nothing of the human species.
- Bilingual Bonus: The title of the Kaiju movie whose poster is in young Ford's room is "Let Them Fight."
- Bioluminescence Is Cool: The MUTOs are black with glowing red markings. Godzilla's dorsal plates begin to light up blue, just like they do in the TOHO films. The new film adds in the plates glowing blue from the tail up, a la Godzilla: The Series.
- Black Comedy: The occasional humor in the movie is usually based around this.
- After the presence of the Muto become blindingly obvious, the media encourages people not to panic, and to evacuate in an orderly fashion. The next shot shows hundreds of cars either piled-up or in traffic, many of which are off-road as a way to sidestep said traffic, along with a plane that got hit by an EMP.
- As the female MUTO destroys Vegas and officers look on in horror, Elvis Presley's Devil in Disguise plays cheerfully in the background.
- The fight in Honolulu.
Sam: Look, Mommy! Dinosaurs!
- Bug War: The Mutos, giant prehistoric insect-like creatures that are ancient enemies of the Godzilla species and continue this species rivalry into the Anthropocene. The conflict between humans and the MUTOs also plays out as one.
- 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.
- California Doubling:
- The plot mainly takes place on the West Coast of the United States, but was filmed mainly in Vancouver. Hilariously, Seamus McGarvey, the cinematographer, accidentally stumbled on a nearby lakeside set for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes that looked very similar to the one for Godzilla, and it took him a while to realize he was in the wrong place.
- Averted with some Hawaii shots, but at the same time played straight in that Hawaii doubled for the Philippines at the beginning.
- San Francisco International Airport doubles for Honolulu International Airport.
- 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.
- The Teaser Trailer Monster only appeared in the SDCC teaser trailer, but will not be appearing in the final film. There is, however, a small nod to it in the form of a peculiar and brightly colored millipede in the Janjira zone.
- Cat Scare: Or Seagull Scare, during the Golden Gate Bridge scene.
- Celebrity Paradox: There are no Godzilla movies in this universe. While it might seem weird that the young Ford has a poster for a Japanese kaiju film, which Godzilla was the Trope Codifier for, the genre and Godzilla itself was inspired by giant-monster films like The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. Gareth Edwards later explicitly confirmed that Godzilla movies don't exist in this universe.
- Central Theme: That Nature Is Not Nice and that mankind isn't nearly as powerful as they think they are. Also, family is important.
- Chekhov's Skill: Subverted. Despite repeatedly establishing Ford's EOD tech abilities, the bomb is too damaged to be defused and goes off, though out of range.
- Combat Pragmatism:
- While it can be difficult to see, Godzilla 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.
- The Mutos are not averse to double-teaming Godzilla or biting him and latching on.
- Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Averted. Despite rumors that Godzilla would not be referred to as such in this film, Dr. Serizawa introduces him during the briefing as "Gojira" and the military uses the name Godzilla as a code name for the beast. News broadcasts even dub him "King of the Monsters."
- Conspiracy Theorist:
- Joseph Brody. 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 puzzle out the truth behind the tragedy and becomes estranged from his son in the process. He's unsurprisingly miffed to find out that a group called MONARCH is, indeed, covering up what actually happened.
- The opening credits montage also has a glimpse of text concerning some guy who thinks the cover-up of Godzilla's existence in The Fifties was the work of the Illuminati:
The illuminati has been using PRODUCTION DESIGNER OWEN PATERSON to build facilities to hide their study of the creature and its origins. All clues are suppressed.
- Continuity Reboot: For both the original Toho films and the 1998 American film.
- Covert Group: MONARCH, a top-secret government organization.
- Creepy Monotone: The voice of J. Robert Oppenheimer plays over the SDCC teaser trailer, citing a partial quote after the Trinity test. It's also used to great effect in this modified version of the official teaser trailer.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The first battle between Godzilla and the male Muto at Honolulu goes this way. Godzilla supposedly beats the tar out of it due to his superior size and strength, forcing the male Muto to flee. He also beats the heck out of the female in the final battle until the male joined in.
- Curiosity Killed the Cast: Curiosity caused a lot deaths at least. In prehistoric times, monsters dove to the depths of the ocean and burrowed past the mantle, far away from human habitat in search of radioactive material that was becoming scarce on the surface. A mining accident leads to the discovery of one of their eggs, which is brought up to the surface for study. A surface where there are new sources of radioactive material to feed on.
- Darker and Edgier: While perhaps not as dark as the trailers for the film suggested, the film lacks any cheesiness or family-friendliness of the series post-Godzilla Raids Again, hearkening back to the dead-serious 1954 original, though Godzilla himself is still portrayed in a somewhat positive light.
- Decoy Protagonist: Though Joseph Brody 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.
- Even 15 years after the Janjira incident, Joe Brody hadn't given up on finding the truth.
- Godzilla 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.
- Angry mama MUTO after realizing Ford destroyed her eggs.
- Deuteragonist: Ford Brody 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.
- Developing Doomed Characters: Gareth Edwards and Bryan Cranston have emphasized that it was vitally important to do this with the human characters so that there would be more interest and tension when pondering their fates in the midst of the carnage. They've stated that the best way to get viewers to care about them while Godzilla and the other monsters are crushing cities and fighting each other is for the character arcs of the humans to intersect with the monsters in an interesting and, in Edwards' words, "unexploitative" way so you don't feel that they're wasting screen time on them.
- Didn't Think This Through
- Some police officers open fire on Godzilla in Honolulu. They quickly realize the pointlessness and give a face that says this trope.
- The female cocoon is taken to a nuclear deposit. Serizawa realizes that was a mistake when checking the data for the male's communication.
- To be fair, they did think it was dead at the time and thus no danger, and they did have a reason for putting it where they did.
- The military underestimates the speed of the male and it makes it to the nuke well before it goes off. The nuke is taken to the middle of the city and a plan has to be hatched to get it out.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Ford's fellow soldiers attempt to hold off the female MUTO to allow him to get the nuke away from San Francisco, even attacking her with normal gunfire once they're out of missiles. She kills them to a man.
- Direct Line to the Author: Gareth Edwards and the design team kept this trope in mind when designing Godzilla:
Edwards: The way I tried to view it was to imagine Godzilla was a real creature and someone from Toho saw him in the 1950s and ran back to the studio to make a movie about the creature and was trying their best to remember it and draw it. And in our film you get to see him for real.
- Disappeared Dad: Joe Brody 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.
- Disaster Dominoes: A crashing helicopter takes out no less than three passenger jets.
- Dull Surprise:
- Aaron Johnson as Ford Brody was criticized for this by many viewers and reviewers.
- It must run in the family, as his six year-old son Sam Brody doesn't make a strong expression toward anything, even Godzilla or his mom appearing after San Francisco.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: In spite of the destruction that occurred over the course of the film, the victory over the Mutos and Godzilla's return to the ocean are portrayed in a triumphant light.
- Easter Egg:
- During the exploration of Janjira, the camera moves in front of an aquarium with word "mothra" scratched on it. In the Godzilla canon Mothra is a friendly Giant Flyer.
- In the prologue, a diagram of a moth is briefly shown, bearing the same colors scheme as Mothra.
- Edible Ammunition:
- The MUTOs feed on radiation and radioactive materials, so to them a nuke is more of a tasty snack than a legitimate threat.
- Theoretically, this should apply to Godzilla himself as well, 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.
- Eldritch Abomination:
- Strictly speaking, Godzilla and the MUTOs. While not as actively malicious or sanity-rending toward humanity as some other examples, they are gigantic, unfathomably ancient creatures with their own motivations that take no account of human presence.
- Emergency Broadcast: The M.U.T.O. Viral Marketing website has one when you type in "monster zero," "monster x," or "monster island."
SCANNING....USER LOCATION ACQUIRED. [ALERT] THE UNIDENTIFIED NATURAL PHENOMENON IS APPROACHING YOUR AREA. PLEASE PREPARE ACCORDINGLY
- ...or if you type "run" or "escape."
PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL EMERGENCY SERVICES FOR EVACUATION ROUTES AND SURVIVAL PROCEDURES.
- Enemy Mine:
- The prologue deals with how MONARCH and the military tried to kill Godzilla in The Fifties with nuclear "tests" in the Pacific. When the M.U.T.O.s awaken decades later and Godzilla starts going after them, Admiral Stenz enacts a plan to kill all three monsters with an even bigger bomb. But the M.U.T.O.s steal the bomb and use it to feed their nest. This foul-up convinces Stenz to accept Dr. Serizawa's suggestion that they ought to leave all the heavy work to Godzilla.
- Godzilla refuses to attack the military (who attack him on occasion) because they are opposed to the MUTOs. It helps that it's quite quickly established that the military is effectively no threat to either of them.
- Epic Fail: The Navy trying to attack Godzilla just as he rises outside of San Francisco Bay. One of the ship rockets hit a supporting cable, prompting a soldier to tell them to stop firing due to civilians on the Golden Gate Bridge. They still keep firing at him, and a hole gets torn in the bridge in the chaos.
- Epic Movie: A trio of giant monsters move from the Phillipines to Japan to the American West Coast, with secretive groups and militaries tracking and attempting to stop them.
- Failed a Spot Check:
- Twice, when the infantry teams are searching for the MUTOs, their air support hovering directly overhead completely fails to spot the enormous kaiju munching on a Russian sub standing up in the jungle or the gigantic chunk of mountain ripped open until the people on the ground stumble within a few feet of them. They also fail to notice the massive hole and trail of destruction that comes out of the Yucca Mountain until one of the soldiers finds the monster's containment cell from the inside. It is given a bit of justification because the first two times are in the middle of the night and the MUTOs appear to have control over their bioluminescence, allowing them to blend into the environment with their black coats and mountainous size making them appear as part of the landscape. The Yucca Mountain instance can also be justified by being out of radio contact with the helicopters due to the mountain itself and the walls of the facility.
- The casino-goers in Las Vegas fail to see the news broadcast showing a monster going through the city. The ceiling is taken out for them to realize it.
- Fatal Family Photo: Joe Brody dies roughly 20 minutes after finding an intact photo of his family in their old house. Subverted with Ford, who brings out a photo of his wife and son and has a close call soon after, but ultimately lives to the end.
- Feed It a Bomb:
- The Plan to get rid of all three monsters consists of taking an armed nuke out in the ocean and letting one of the Mutos eat it, which will rip it to shreds with the sheer force of the explosion. The radiation itself is bait.
- Aside from the Mutos literally eating nuclear bombs, Godzilla kills the female Muto by blasting his Atomic Breath straight down her throat.
- The Fifties: The prologue, where humans first try to kill Godzilla, takes place in 1954.
- Final Battle: The only true fight between Godzilla and the Mutos.
- Fire/Water Juxtaposition: In keeping with Gareth Edwards' stated "Man vs. Nature" theme, and to emphasize just how small and helpless the humans are, one scene shows soldiers firing off tiny-looking flares in front of the massive Godzilla, who is still dripping with many gallons of sea water.
- Five Rounds Rapid: When Godzilla makes landfall in Honolulu, SWAT members and soldiers alike attempt to shoot both the MUTO and Godzilla alike. Amusingly, when Godzilla shows up, the SWAT members run dry… then look at each other and decide not to reload, for obvious reasons.
- Follow the Leader: The makers of the Gamera films are making their own Continuity Reboot for Gamera's Milestone Celebration in response to this film.
- Foreshadowing: The collapse of the Janjira plant has one shot where four origami crane figures are seen in a way that makes them look like Giant Flyers soaring over the plant, which hints at the Giant Flyer form the MUTO in the plant takes later in the film. There's also a bug crawling over a toy tank.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: The opening credits have a lot of text that is quickly whited out to give credit to the production team. Several hidden messages are contained in said text.
- Genre Savvy:
- While the military has its share of dumb moments, they seem to realize pretty quickly who the good guy is, using all their ordinance on the M.U.T.O.s and only firing on Godzilla once (which was justified: the ship firing at first had just been jostled by the big guy and was likely just reacting, with the rest seemingly doing the same). Once it has been established that Godzilla isn't interested in harming humans, the Navy is instead seen providing an escort fleet.
- When the male MUTOs cocoon starts acting up, the scientists decide to kill it ASAP, sacrificing scientific discovery in favor of safety. They then demand an immediate visual on the body. It didn't work, but at least they were smart enough to not mess around with something so powerful.
- When the monsters start to get close to civilization, the military immediately abandons any attempt to keep the existence of Kaiju a secret.
- Unusually for a 'natural disaster befalls American nuclear family' movie, when the shit starts to go down, the parents get their kid out of the city ASAP, though given the evacuation route, it's hard to say whether this put Sam in more or less danger.
- When the father at Waikiki has his attention drawn by his daughter to the retreating water, he immediately grabs her, screams "Tsunami!" and starts running like hell. Most of the people around him on the beach do so as well, even before the sirens' start going off.
- Genre Throwback: The film is a throwback to Jaws, Alien, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jurassic Park and many other sci-fi, horror and adventure films from The Seventies, The Eighties, and The Nineties that used Monster Delay, Nothing Is Scarier, and Obscured Special Effects to build suspense and grandeur around their FX-heavy monsters. Gareth Edwards says that this was done as a sort of rebuttal against later FX-heavy blockbusters of the Turn of the Millennium and The New Tens that instead try to show off as many CGI-laden shots as possible without bothering to savor individual scenes.
- Ghost City: The entire prefecture of Janjira is completely abandoned after 15 years allegedly because the area is affected by radiation, until Joe and Ford found out it isn't). Judging from the downtown skyscrapers, at least a million people lived there.
- Giant Equals Invincible: Brought back full-force. The MUTOs and Godzilla shrug off all bullets, tank rounds, and sea-to-ground missiles, though rifles successfully distract the MUTOs more than once. It is confirmed in the movie that Godzilla can survive point-blank nuclear explosions in the kiloton range, though they have no idea what megaton-level explosions will do.
- Giant Foot of Stomping: One of the MUTOs tears up Honolulu International Airport, causing a helicopter to crash and take out a long line of passenger jets. The explosions dissipate as Godzilla enters, showing that the MUTO is dwarfed by Big G's foot.
- Giant Wall of Watery Doom: Godzilla displaces so much water that he kills hundreds of people in massive tsunamis just from rising out of the ocean.
- Godzilla Threshold:
- Invoked. Serizawa suggests that the only thing that can stop the MUTOs is the legendary Godzilla. Once Stenz is out of options, Serizawa tells him "Let them fight."
- Admiral Stenz believes that utilizing nuclear weapons works 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. note
- Godzilla seems to have one of his own; he only uses his signature Atomic Breath once in Awakening and a couple of times in the climax of the film.
- Hazmat Suit: The film shows Dr. Serizawa, Dr. Wates and the other M.U.T.O. researchers wearing these while investigating subterranean areas that have been frequented by radioactive Kaiju. Their suits have been somewhat modified with transparent face-plates and lights pointed at their faces so that the audience can more easily tell who's who.
- Hell Is That Noise:
- Needless to say, Godzilla’s 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 Godzilla roar — even to Gareth Edwards — so as not to diminish its capacity to incite fear.
- The MUTOs. Have a listen.
- Historical In-Joke: The various nuclear tests conducted in the Pacific Proving Grounds during The Fifties. It's revealed that rather than testing atomic weaponry for potential use against other nations, the real objective was to kill Godzilla with increasingly more powerful bombs.
- Hollywood Tactics: The Golden Gate scene where the navy tries to bar Godzilla's entry in the bay with what seems to be every Arleigh Burke class destroyer in the Pacific Fleet, a type which is unarmored and designed to fight enemies at tens of kilometers, in formations with separations of kilometers.
- Despite modern military jets of the kind seen in the movie being hardened against EMP, these ones are apparently not and get taken down quickly... which raises the question of why they were trying to attack with weapons that were extremely vulnerable to the creatures' EMP, other than as a gesture of pointless defiance.
- Hope Spot:
- During the monsters' arrival at San Francisco, a MUTO unleashes an EMP. Elle sees a trooper parachuting in and thinks help is on the way... until it turns out that the "trooper" was a pilot who had ejected from his fighter, as planes start dropping out of the sky.
- One occurs when Lt. Brody gets the boat with the nuke on it going into the sea, only to then have it die when the female MUTO shows up.
- Ignored Vital News Reports: A couple of examples where people are forced to pay attention: Mrs. Brody with her son ("Dinosaur!"), and a bunch of gamblers in Las Vagas with an EMP blast and then the female MUTO ripping away one the walls of their casino.
- Immune to Bullets: Though the military firing at the giant monsters is visually impressive, like this trope implies, it's not effective.
- Impact Silhouette: A rare non-comedic version: Skycrapers with massive holes in them.
- Infant Immortality: Zoe, the little girl standing in front of the tsunami and Akio, the little boy with Ford during the MUTO attack both live through the moments of peril that they experience.
- The Male MUTO does all the things Godzilla does in Blue Öyster 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.
- Godzilla 1998 had a blatant Sequel Hook for expecting a success, but was cancelled for poor reception. This one doubted a 'two thumbs up' warm welcome and so made sure it was a stand-alone. Now it's green-lighted for a trilogy.
- It Can Think:
- Godzilla gives the distinct impressing of regarding The Protagonist at one point when it eyeballs him close up. The MUTOs hint at it as well, such as when the female figures out that Brody is what killed her eggs.
- 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, that the Mutos have learned to weaponize their EMP abilities (before primarily using the shockwave accompanying it to throw shoulders).
- It's Raining Men: The trailers and film rather impressively shows a group of soldiers HALO jumping into San Francisco in order to find the nuclear warhead that the MUTOs have taken in order to disarm it. The scene features them jumping through the clouds into the unknown of the destroyed city to the tune of György Ligeti's Requiem, better known as the Stargate music from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- Jump Scare:
- When Hokmuto emerges from his cocoon, his leg shoots out very unexpectedly.
- It happens on the bus on the Golden Gate bridge. You're probably expecting Godzilla to jump out and spook ya, but instead it's done with a seagull slamming into one of the bus windows and cracking it in the process.
- There's a subtler version of this at the air port when the lights come back on and there's a giant monster sitting above the train.
- Kaiju: This time there's three of 'em.
- Kill It with Fire:
- Ford kills the MUTO clutch by knocking the valves off a fuel truck, setting them on fire, and running very fast.
- Godzilla's atomic breath, which takes the form of a blue-hot fire stream. He destroys the final MUTO by forcefeeding her this.
- Land, Sea, Sky: The three monsters fit this trope. The amphibious Godzilla represents Sea, to the point where his initial Big Entrance involves a Giant Wall of Watery Doom and a Fire/Water Juxtaposition in the form of soldiers shooting flares past his drenched hide. The male M.U.T.O. represents Sky, being a Giant Flyer whose EMP is the one that takes down the most aircraft and whose second major scene sees him directly attacking an airport. The female M.U.T.O. represents Land, being (as far as we know) entirely land-bound and the monster that is seen furthest inland (namely, the Nevada desert).
- Laser-Guided Karma: Albeit with both parties unaware of the fact: right when Godzilla is being pinned down by the MUTOs, Brody sets fire to the nest and draws the female's attention, giving Big G an opening to stand up and regroup. His assistance is rewarded when, just as the female MUTO is about to kill him, Godzilla appears out of nowhere to bite on the MUTO's neck and let Brody get away.
- Last Of Its Kind: Godzilla is described as the last of a species that lived when the Earth's surface was still being heavily bombarded by radiation, as are the MUTOs.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Serizawa's solution to the MUTO attacks after the nuke is hijacked by a MUTO is to let Godzilla finish the job.
- Lightning/Fire Juxtaposition:
- The HALO jump scene has the soldiers diving down to a San Francisco engulfed in flames and smoke. As Ford Brody is scanning over the city the closer he gets, he catches sight of Godzilla, who would otherwise be really hard to make out from the dark, smoke-covered city were it not for the frequent flashes of lightning that brighten the view.
- Also, the MUTOs have their EMP attack, and Godzilla has his Atomic Breath.
- Lightning Reveal: Done for Godzilla during the HALO jump scene.
- Logo Joke: None for the film itself (unusually given how Warner Bros. loves doing this), but IMAX viewers were treated to a special version of the pre-movie countdown.
- Lovecraft Lite: Ancient beings from Primeval Earth rise up and show us how little we truly understand the natural world, and demonstrating just how weak we really are.
- Militaries Are Useless: As per usual for these films. However, they eventually realize this and decide to just dismantle their plans to kill all of the kaiju (which might not have even worked at all) and just do their part to distract the MUTOs so Godzilla can kill them.
- Misplaced Wildlife: The Hawaii scene has loon calls.
- Missing Trailer Scene: None of the stuff in the initial teaser trailer makes it into the film (not the centipede kaiju, not the city that was demolished, no shots of people climbing on the outsides of ruined building). There's also no speech briefing the soldiers about their HALO jump, and no scene of Godzilla roaring as the shelter doors close on the subway (which is instead replaced with the initial clash between Godzilla and the flying MUTO. The HALO jump also is given a shot of Godzilla and the winged MUTO fighting, instead of Godzilla walking around the city. The "Can you kill it?" conversation also never takes place.
- The Mockbuster: Poseidon Rex, a monster film featuring an amphibious dinosaur that threatens the human race. It had already been on DVD since October 2013, but it was given a special theatrical release in April 2014 to get some more publicity in the wake of the hype surrounding Godzilla.
- Monster Delay: Godzilla didn't fully appear until about halfway through the movie, and he didn't have more than a few seconds of screentime until the final act of the film.
- Monumental Damage: The Golden Gate Bridge and (in a tongue-in-cheek version of this trope) the replica Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas are among the landmarks that get torn apart in the film. Waikiki, with 90% of the hotels on Oahu, gets flooded. Many notable San Francisco buildings are trashed.
- Mood Whiplash:
- A violent, action-packed scene of the male MUTO savaging an army squad and destroying a military vehicle to access the nuke suddenly snaps to a surprisingly touching and heartwarming scene of the MUTO couple courting and caressing lovingly.
- As the male MUTO attacking civilians in a train, destroying airliners and people in an airport undergoing a screaming frenzy, Godzilla's foot appears, and everyone promptly shuts up, and hilariously enough, so does the music.
- Morton's Fork: Elle Brody is trapped on a road with a group of other people with Godzilla on one side and the winged MUTO on the other.
- 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.
- The Teaser Trailer Monster has several arms with hooked claws.
- Mythology Gag:
- The boat on the dock in the final showdown is marked "Go Whale Tours." Godzilla's Japanese name is simply a combination of the word for gorilla, "Go," and "whale."
- There's a shot of a hole right through a wide skyscraper, as if something dived through it — similar to a hole Zilla made in Godzilla (1998).
- The backstory involves a nuclear submarine disappearing and the Americans and Soviets blaming each other for it before finding out that a certain nuclear dinosaur was the real culprit. This brings to mind the early scenes of The Return of Godzilla.
- In this film, Godzilla was first discovered in 1954, the year the original Godzilla (1954) film was released.
- The old high-tension wires with electricity pumped through them in an attempt to kill a kaiju is trotted out again.
- Dr. Serizawa, the man who built the Godzilla-killing oxygen destroyer, is present — but in actuality he fills a role similar to Dr. Yamane/Shigezawa/Hayashida, as scientific adviser to the military on all things prehistoric and deadly.
- Bit of a double mythology gag—in addition to the above, his first name is "Ishiro" as a reference to the director of the original Godzilla film, Ishiro Honda.
- Godzilla being an ancient beast from a time when the conditions on Earth were severely inhospitable and his conflict with other monsters from the same time period references Godzilla Raids Again, more specifically the Gigantis cut. In both, the military attempts to lure fighting kaiju away with a fake-out plan, which falls apart.
- Also somewhat similar from the original film, which Godzilla is believed to have evolved from a hybrid species of dinosaurs and prehistoric sea reptiles.
- The kid getting separated from his parents on the train harkens back to when Fumiko and Kazuo were separated in King Kong vs. Godzilla. Even his getup (shirt, shorts and baseball cap) is evocative of the Showa films.
- Joe's old house contains a moth cocoon marked, uh, "Mothra". More precisely it was in a tank labelled "Dad's Moth", with the label partly covering the marking "Janjira" - spelling out "Dad's Mothra".
- The media dub Godzilla "King of the Monsters" at the end of the film.
- There is a large red paper pteranodon in Ford's Japan classroom. Additionally, one can see a theropod dinosaur skeleton and a biology picture of a moth.
- The echolocation poster in Joe's apartment has a bat and a moth communicating with each other.
- The way Godzilla kills the female MUTO is the same way he killed the Gryphon in the script of Godzilla 1994. In the same vein, Godzilla is awakened to specifically fight two kaiju endangering the Earth - and one is winged.
- There is a Stegosaurus toy on the table during the scene where Sam is watching TV footage of Godzilla kicking the crap out of the male MUTO.
- The way Godzilla's spikes light up is VERY similar to Godzilla: The Series.
- Godzilla's breath weapon is less a concentrated solid beam that explodes like the 80s-2000s movies but more of a whispier heat wave like his earlier Showa movies.
- When Ford fills Femuto's nest with gasoline, the camera pans in to show a golden dragon statue head, a not so subtle reference to King Ghidorah.
- The Navy display on the Saratoga displays Godzilla's name as "Gojira," the Hepburn transliteration of the katakana.
- Likely unintentional, but in Janjira, we see a giant millipede and a giant cockroach.
- Just like in Godzilla (1998), the final act of the film features the human characters setting fire to the villainous monster's nest, but at the cost of invoking the mother's wrath. The only difference is that it's not Godzilla who's angry at the humans this time.
- The prequel comic Godzilla: Awakening has a location called "Moansta Island", a reference to Monster Island.
- This isn't exactly the first time Godzilla's used his Atomic Ray to fry an opponent from the inside out.
- Naval Blockade: The American Navy attempts to block Godzilla's approach to Hawaiis shore. Unfortunately, they didn't anticipate Godzilla swimming under their blockade and displacing so much water that the destroyers and aircraft carriers get tossed about in the waves that proceed to flood the city in a tsunami.
- Never Trust a Trailer:
- The teaser trailer is made up entirely of original footage. There's no centipede monster, Las Vegas is shown smashed in broad daylight instead of San Francisco, the train is wrecked in Honolulu, and Godzilla is revealed in a pan-up shot in darkness, not a Face-Revealing Turn in a smoke cloud (though there's a similar shot in Chinatown during the climax). Additionally, New York is shown with the Statue of Liberty missing part of its face. New York is never visited in the film by the Mutos or Godzilla.
- The "send us back to the stone age" comment refers to the EMP coming from what used to be the Janjira NPP, not Godzilla - and most of the scenes of destruction are wreaked by the MUTOs, not Godzilla himself.
- Elle does not say "You're scaring me" at any point in the phone call with Ford.
- Ford Brody's "Can we kill it?" line does not occur with Serizawa and Serizawa is talking to Admiral Stenz with his above quote.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero
- The train carrying the nuclear warheads meant to take out the MUTOs is ambushed by a MUTO, which promptly eats one of the nukes.
- The Navy accidentally provoke Godzilla into destroying the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Godzilla stops the flying MUTO with a quick tail swipe into a tall building... which then collapses on top of it.
- The Nineties: The Janjira incident takes place in 1999.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The M.U.T.O.s give Godzilla one when they double-teamed him. It is such a pounding that he fell over unconscious and they continued to beat on him some more. Prior to that, Godzilla was curbstomping each MUTO whenever they were going one on one.
- Non-Malicious Monster:
- Godzilla'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?
- The M.U.T.O.s 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 OSHA Compliance: The nuclear plant at the beginning has very long corridors the team has to run down to Outrun the Fireball, with no interim doors or safety systems.
- No Sell: The MUTO's are only mildly annoyed by even the heaviest ordnance the military can bring to bear. Godzilla, on the other hand, simply doesn't even notice that the humans are attacking him.
- Nothing Is Scarier: A lot of the time, the presence of the monsters are felt through the paths of destruction they leave in their wake rather than actual appearances on-screen. All in all, the movie is seen more through human perception than the monsters'.
- Not So Different: For much of the film humans are shown caring about their offspring, Joe and Sandra for Ford, Ford and Al for Sam, Akio's parents for him and Ford being his guardian. Then the MUTO show complete alarm and terror when their is explosion where their nest is. The sounds of anguish made by the mother border on a Tear Jerker.
- Nuke 'em: Serizawa explains that at least some Pacific nuclear tests were not tests, but attempts to nuke the monster. Stenz intends to try and eliminate all three monsters with warheads, but this ends up backfiring when the female steals two from a train, and the Male steals the third one after it has been armed, and takes it to the center of San Fransisco.
- Off with Her 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: Considering it's a Godzilla movie, expect it to be everywhere.
- There's the realization by Serizawa and company that the female MUTO has awakened.
- When the male Muto sees Godzilla for the first time in Honolulu, he looks scared and promptly starts to flee.
- Ford and Morales' first view of the Nevada MUTO indicates what the viewers were told earlier: she's female. The Oh, Crap comes from the fact that she's heavily pregnant with thousands of active baby MUTO embryos. A second occurs when they get to San Francisco and she oviposits the eggs in the nest, implying that even if the two are stopped, the world will be overrun with baby MUTOs.
- The principle moment of this is When the FemMuto is mourning her lost babies...then sees Ford.
- Ominous Fog: At least they got this part of San Francisco right.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: György Ligeti's very creepy, very ominous "Requiem" (which had previously been most closely associated with 2001: A Space Odyssey) plays during the HALO jump. It was also used in almost all of the trailers for the film.
- One-Dimensional Thinking: Except for the unnamed couple with the cute daughter, the crowd running from the tsunami doesn't flee into the buildings to gain height. Averted with the soldiers on the railway bridge, as there's only one direction to run.
- One-Hit Kill: Godzilla performs one on the male MUTO, by way of a Tail Slap into a skyscraper. Amusingly, the way Godzilla turns around to deliver said attack looks almost casual.
- One-Word Title: "GODZILLA (ゴジラ)".
- Outrun the Fireball:
- During the Janjira plant incident, Sandra Brody and the other inspectors run while being followed by an enormous smoke cloud, representing the leaking radiation from the reactor. Unfortunately, none of the inspectors that were ahead of her make it before the blast shield closes.
- At the climax Ford barely makes it out of the way of an enormous gasoline explosion he himself ignited in order to destroy the MUTO eggs.
- Parallel Conflict Sequence: While Godzilla and the two Mutos duke it out during the Final Battle, the military squad is on a mission to destroy the Mutos' nest and get the missile out of the city.
- Poor Communication Kills: It seems that despite having the resources of the US west coast at their fingertips, no one is actively watching the hundred foot tall monster or warning other units when it gets near.
- Previews Pulse: The second trailer for has them, during the scene where Godzilla is revealed from within an enormous smoke cloud. By contrast, the first trailer played the same scene without any pulses, instead playing Ligeti's Requiem during then.
- Primal Fear: The HALO jump scene has Ford Brody and the other soldiers jumping out of a plane at such a high altitude that they're practically in space. The jump requires them to dive through a massive, thundering storm cloud all the way down into a ruined San Francisco that the eponymous creature is still marauding through. Some of the soldiers even drop right past Godzilla as they get closer to the ground.
- Reality Ensues: When Ford blows up Hokmuto and Femuto's nest, he is flung several feet into the air by the explosion which leaves him with a broken leg and, in the novelization, internal bleeding.
- In several Godzilla movies in the past, civilians are rarely seen when Godzilla fights another monster in a major city. In this, we see their point of view, and it's terrifying.
- Reality Is Unrealistic:
- When the first trailer was first released, some viewers complained that the parachute jump seen at the beginning was unrealistic, and that spending that much time free-falling without deploying their parachute was a death sentence. HALO (High Altitude-Low opening) jumps are very real.
- Some critics think that Dr. Serizawa's characterization of Godzilla as the maintainer of nature's balance brings in a goofy mystical aspect to a film that otherwise strives to be as plausible as possible for a Kaiju film. However, this fits very well with the real life biological and ecological concept of a keystone species, where a particular species, frequently some kind of alpha predator (i.e. like Godzilla), has a disproportionate influence on an environment compared to how abundant it is. If such a keystone species were to disappear, its ecosystem would end up collapsing on itself due to the imbalance. The way Serizawa words it is rather grandiose, but the underlying notion isn't as far-fetched as it sounds.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- While Admiral Stenz 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 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.
- Serizawa himself is one. When he first sees Joe Brody being interrogated, at first he thinks the guy's a loony. 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. 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.
- The movie takes a Revisiting the Roots approach to Godzilla, bringing back the grim tone and the scary-force-of-nature characterization of the King of the Monsters.
- The movie reconstructs the Lighter and Softer "Godzilla vs." movies that came afterwards; rather than treating such a set-up as a joke like so many parodies have done, it instead treats the "Godzilla vs." style in a straightforward way by introducing the same grim approach as Godzilla had in his initial solo outing.
- Various elements of Godzilla's 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 armored 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.
- Also done for Nightmare Fuel: A creature with Godzilla's mass and weight leaving the ocean would not be a quiet affair. All the water he displaces causes a tsunami. The same thing would have happened if a battleship suddenly grew legs and walked onto shore, all that displaced water has to go somewhere.
- Red Herring: Every trailer made Godzilla out to be the primary threat, but in fact the MUTOs are the real bad guys.
- Red Shirt Army: The US military. It's not that they're incompetent, just that they're facing off against something that can emit electromagnetic pulses which disables electronics, something that the military relies on heavily. Small arms fire, or even tank shells against heavily armored creatures that even nukes can't harm doesn't slow them down. Fortunately they realize that Godzilla is more interested in hunting the MUTO's than attacking humans. The army is well aware of their red shirt status, but they're willing to bite the bullet to save as many lives as they can.
- Red Sky, Take Warning: Done for nighttime scenes of the places that Godzilla has demolished, as a result of all the burning buildings.
- The Remake/Foreign Remake: Of Godzilla (1954).
- Remake Cameo:
- Akira Takarada (who had starred in several Godzilla films including the original) has a cameo in a deleted scene.
- There is also Al Sapienza, who played a taxi driver in the 1998 film.
- Retraux: Scenes taking place in The Fifties are edited to look as if they were shot on film stock of the era. The cinematographer even used a camera lens not used since The Sixties.
- Revisiting the Roots: Going back to the roots of the original, this one is being made Darker and Edgier to feel more like a horror film, with Godzilla being more of a terrifying force of nature and with the grim results of his rampage not glossed over.
- Rewrite: This film gives Godzilla a new origin story that slightly modifies his traditional one: at least some nuclear tests were, in fact, attempts to kill the monster after humans woke him up.
- Ribcage Ridge: The action of the film is set into motion when Serizawa finds a cave where the walls are supported by the fossilized remains of a member of Godzilla's species that was infested by fossilized "MUTOs".
- Riding into the Sunset: When it's all over, Godzilla rises from several days of Deep Sleep, stomps out to the docks, pauses to do The Roar one last time, and heads out to sea. Once the waves cover his scales, the movie is over.
- Rising Conflict: The plot starts with the nuclear attacks on Godzilla. Things stay largely silent until the Janjira incident. Then things really heat up when MUTOs starts attacking cities and Godzilla goes after them.
- Rule of Symbolism: Gareth Edwards says that the HALO jump scene was meant to resemble "angels descending into Hell".
- Saharan Shipwreck: The MUTO manages to lift and drop a Russian "Akula" in the middle of a jungle. An "Akula" is a submarine.
- Saved for the Sequel: Although the MUTOs were introduced as Canon Foreigners rather than updated versions of classic Toho monsters in order to give the film a bit more narrative freedom, Gareth Edwards has jokingly stated that he is contacting the casting agents of creatures like Mothra and King Ghidorah so that they can appear in sequels.
- Scenery Gorn: Any area/city in the paths that Godzilla and the MUTOs have rampaged through.
- Sequel Hook: Deliberately averted by Edwards. He says that he typically rolls his eyes at films that go out of their way to introduce plot points near the end for the express purpose of having them resolved in future installments. He prefers to have a film that can stand perfectly well on its own.
Edwards: I want a story that begins and ends, and you leave on a high. That’s all we cared about when we were making this; just this film. If this film is good, the others can come, but let’s just pay attention to this and not get sidetracked by other things.
- Serkis Folk: For certain pivotal scenes, Gareth Edwards had Andy Serkis himself hired to control the motions of Godzilla.
- Shooting Superman: The military continues to use conventional weapons against Godzilla, who has survived multiple nuclear strikes. They quickly realize how pointless this is. It's justified against the MUTOs as the conventional weapons are no more effective against them than against Godzilla, but they are capable of distracting the creatures.
- The far-away shot of the HALO jumpers landing past Godzilla is a nod to the first poster for Cloverfield.
- The visual setup of the shot when the door of the HALO jump plane opens, with the setting sun framed dead center just above the horizon, is a reference to the start of the 'Stargate' sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey'. The use of Ligeti's 'Requiem' from that scene in the film confirms this.
- The massive Godzilla-species skeleton in the second trailer and the plot of an ancient monster going up against equally ancient winged creatures seems evocative of the Heisei Gamera series.
- The loving, tender moment between the two MUTOS echo Edward's previous film Monsters. On a slightly amusing note, the way the two kiss as they share a nuke has been compared to Lady and the Tramp.
- Edwards has said that the team looked at the monsters from Alien and Starship Troopers for inspiration in designing the MUTOs.
- Early images of the toy version of one of the MUTOs show it to be suspiciously similar to the Cloverfield monster, right down to the arms on the abdomen and the layout of the body, albeit with a far more upright posture, two sets of frontal limbs and a pitch black coloration.
- AKIRA served as a major source of visual inspiration as far as portraying the scenes of destruction.
- The main family had the name Brody which is a shout-out to Jaws.
- One of the many gags hidden in the opening credits: the paragraph surrounding Bryan Cranston's name is about a man named Walter Malcolm.
- The MUTO eggs, orange and glowing, resemble the nest of Sammael from Hellboy.
- The single word redacted after Gareth Edwards's name is the name of his first movie, Monsters.
- The male MUTO looks like Mothra or Battra and fights like Megaguirus.
- It might not be a coincidence that the Golden Gate Bridge is once again destroyed by a Kaiju.
- Also that the MUTOS charge an EMP: much like Leatherback.
- The opening title sequence is a montage of (fabricated for the movie) old footage regarding nuclear "testing" in the '50s and '60s in the South Pacific, much like the 1998 film.
- Godzilla pries open the female Muto's jaws as part of the finishing move, from the same angle and manner as King Kong did in the 2005 remake.
- The initial disaster in the beginning of the movie happens on Joe's birthday. In other words, Bryan Cranston's birthdays SUCK.
- 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.
- There's the tsunami scene which begins when all of the water on the beach is retreating far beyond where it normally would, heading out to sea. This is an real life sign of an incoming tsunami.
- Smash to Black: The first officially-released teaser has two, one right after the first glimpse of Godzilla, another right before the second glimpse.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Played for Laughs - when the female MUTO tears through Las Vegas, Elvis Presley's "Devil In Disguise" plays inside a building as a group of people Late to the Tragedy get a good look at the debris of the monster's rampage.
- Space Whale Aesop: As usual to the franchise's origins as a metaphor. Building up nuclear arsenals results in the awakening of ancient creatures who feed off of radiation, and any attempt to harness or fight back against nature is met with a swift fate - and in the end, only the balance of nature itself (Godzilla) saves the world.
- Spiritual Successor: Despite being a Godzilla movie, the movie itself comes across as this to the other Reboot of his rival franchise, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. The main monster being a hero in a way that it doesn't really care for humanity but merely protecting it without realizing it? Check. The enemy monster having a Flying creature with Batlike wings with its mate threatening to kill humanity, not be flat out destroying them, but by spawning more monsters? Check. An attempt to reboot the franchise in a way that's somewhat Darker and Grittier then how most people remember the Titular Monster? Check.
- Spoiler Title: The soundtrack has basically a 20 sentence summation of the plot. Closing with "Godzilla's Victory" and "Back Into The Ocean".
- Spotting the Thread: After breaking back into old Janjira, after it was quarantined due to a reactor meltdown, Joe Brody realizes the place isn't radioactive when he spots three dogs chasing each other, when they should be dead from radiation. A quick check of his Geiger counter confirms his suspicions.
- Standard Snippet: Requiem (György Ligeti) used in the trailers to indicate how this film was Darker and Edgier than other Godzilla movies.
- Stock Footage:
- The film's opening credits are interspersed with footage from Operation Crossroads's Baker test.
- Footage from the Castle Bravo nuclear test was used at the beginning of the film.
- Stock Quotes: J. Robert Oppenheimer's "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." is used prominently in the very first teaser.
- Stock Sound Effect: The M.U.T.O. Research Viral Marketing website uses a Geiger Counter Crackling as one of its background sounds.
- Stunned Silence: At the airport in Honolulu as the M.U.T.O.s are rampaging and destroying airliners, the entirety of the population within the airport is screaming. The second Godzilla's foot appears, they promptly shut the hell up, even the music.
- Summon Bigger Fish:
- Dr. Serizawa is Genre Savvy enough to know that humanity needs Godzilla to stop the MUTOs.
- Sort of coincidental but the male MUTO, who is significantly smaller than Godzilla, calls to the female for the purpose of mating, who happens to be almost as large as Godzilla.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial:
- Typing in "conspiracy" into the M.U.T.O. website brings up:
M.U.T.O. ASSURES ALL PERSONNEL, THERE IS NO CONSPIRACY IN OUR ORGANIZATION.
- Typing in "Godzilla" or the name of any other kaiju from the franchise gets you:
SYSTEM CANNOT CONFIRM OR DENY THE EXISTENCE OF THIS LIFEFORM.
- Tagline: "The world ends. Godzilla begins."
- Technology Levels: Mentioned poetically for dramatic effect by Joseph Brody when he screams that the EMP coming from Janjira NPP's ruins will "send us back to the Stone Age".
- Tempting Fate: Ford Brody comes home after months of military service but quickly has to leave when he learns his father in Japan has been arrested. He's annoyed with having to leave his family so soon, but Elle assures him the trip will just be a few days. "It's not the end of the world."
- That's No Moon!: Subtle nonverbal example, achieved by means of clever cinematography. Ford and some other soldiers are doing a HALO jump into San Francisco, which Godzilla has recently ravaged. As they get into visual range of the city, we see Ford's point of view as he scans over the numerous burnt and ruined skyscrapers. Then he catches on to one "structure" that is moving, and sees several of his guys diving right past it...
- This is just the trailer, though. In the movie, it's pretty obvious that it's not a building, as Godzilla is busy in the middle of a battle with a Muto.
- 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.
- The MUTOs eggs laid dormant in a massive skeleton for millions of years.
- Too Dumb to Live: Can't be a Godzilla movie without military stupidity.
- After Godzilla makes landfall on Honolulu, the landing forces decides it's a good idea to open fire on him with their puny assault rifles at a 350 foot monster, given the flares has shown just how huge he is.
- The Navy attacking Godzilla as he reaches California. Not only does this not work, but Godzilla ends up destroying the Golden Gate Bridge by accident.
- They have airplanes flying around San Francisco in anticipation of the arrival of a monster that has already demonstrated EMP abilities powerful enough to disable airplanes and send them crashing. Not-a-spoiler: They also crash.
- Truth in Television: One of the trailers revealed a scene that takes place on a beach in the evening. The people who were having a simple family get-together suddenly notice the ocean receding and promptly go to high ground. This is exactly what you should do if you witness this phenomenon happening in real life. It's a major warning sign of an oncoming tsunami.
- The military claims that modern nuclear weapons are so much more powerful than the World War II and Cold-War-era nukes that were originally used against Godzilla that they were firecrackers by comparison. This is and isn't true and rests very much on the type of weapons you choose to compare. The USA tested several hundred nuclear weapons in the pacific, of which only a handful were 'hydrogen-(thermo-)nuclear' weapons with an explosive force equivalent to that of megatons (millions of tons) of TNT. The rest were mere kilotons-of-TNT-equivalent (thousands of tons) nuclear-fission and atomic weapons such as the ones used in the Atomic Bombings Of Hiroshima And Nagasaki. The type of nuclear weapon (taken from one of the US's 'Minuteman' strategic nuclear ballistic missiles) used by the US's military in their attempt to kill the MUT Os, however, could only have an explosive force equivalent to some 300-400 kilotons - making it more than a hundred times more powerful than the kiloton-range weapons used on Japan, but less than a tenth as powerful as some of the megaton-range weapons (e.g. Castle Bravo, 1954) the USA tested in the pacific in the 1950s.
- Unreadably Fast Text: The opening credits feature the names of the cast and crew surrounded by narrative text that gets quickly redacted about a half-second after appearing. The text deals mainly with the efforts of MONARCH and the military to kill Godzilla and cover up his existence, along with text about a Conspiracy Theorist who thinks the Illuminati are behind all this.
- Villain Protagonist: Subverted. This version of Godzilla is The Hero (nominally) rather than a villain the trailers made him out to be.
- We Hardly Knew Ye:
- Sandra Brody and the scientists stuck on the wrong side of the breach doors are the first characters to die.
- The only time audiences got to see the centipede-like Teaser Trailer Monster, it was already dead.
- We Have Become Complacent: Done subtly with the Las Vegas attack scene. The female M.U.T.O. has escaped from Yucca Mountain and is rampaging through the Entertainment Capital of the World on its way to meet its mate on the West Coast. We get a shot of the inside of a busy and dangerously unaware casino where the people are so preoccupied with the slot machines that they all ignore the news report on the interspersed televisions warning about the monster. When the M.U.T.O.'s EMP suddenly knocks out the power in the building, everyone's reaction is a mass groan of annoyance, then an abrupt switch to screaming panic when the M.U.T.O. crashes through the roof.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The dog at the beach. Its fate is uncertain, though it does at least escape from the beach when the tsunami hits.
- Window Love: Joe does this with Sandra across the window of the door behind which he had to lock her to keep irradiated steam from leaking into the rest of the Janjira plant.
- The Worf Barrage:
- Several of the US' nuclear tests in the Pacific were attempts by the military to kill Godzilla. They didn't work, and may have even made him stronger.
- Godzilla itself does this towards the MUTO's. While it beats the male one pretty badly in Hawaii, in San Francisco its initial attack against both of them don't quite work out, and Godzilla suffers from a tag-team attack by the duo.
- 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.
- Worm Sign:
- Much like Zilla in Godzilla (1998), Godzilla 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 MUTO's make their presence know with an EMP field they emit, causing all electronic devices to fail within their radius.