The 25th entry in the Godzilla
franchise and the third in the Millenium series. After the lukewarm responses of the previous two films, Shusuke Kaneko
of the well-lauded Gamera trilogy was brought in. He wanted to emphasis Godzilla's immense power, so his original choice for opponents were ordinary monsters like Anguirus, Varan, and Baragon. However, Toho considered the former two not able to bring in enough money, so Mothra and King Ghidorah were brought in instead. Baragon, who was popular in Japan, stayed on. In order to keep that immense power plot point, Kaneko depowered King Ghidorah and Mothra. The themes were more mystical in tone, with Godzilla being possessed by the souls of WWII soldiers and the origins of the Guardians monsters. The film was well recieved at the box office. It became a favorite to the fanbase for reasons that include its Darker and Edgier
In 2002, Commander Taizo Tachibana comments on the Godzilla attack 50 years ago and the monsters that have come since. A nuclear submarine is downed, and an investigation reveals some very familiar spinal plates. Meanwhile, the Commander's reporter daughter, Yuri investigates the appearance of monsters near Mt. Myoko and Lake Ikeda. She interviews a mysterious old man called Isayama, who tells the legendary guardians of Japan must be awakened before Godzilla returns. Japan has forgotten the sacrifices of the soldiers of WWII and Godzilla will take vengeance for them. An attack on the Bonin Islands and other attacks precede Godzilla's destructive return. He engages with the guardian monster Baragon in Hakone. Despite Baragon's bravery, he is brutally slaughtered and Yuri is injured in the process. As Godzilla moves unrelentingly forward, Mothra and King Ghidorah awaken. A battle shall soon take place in Yokohama, where the guardian monsters and the military must work together to take down the ruthless King of the Monsters...
"Giant Tropes All Out Attack":
- Adaptational Villainy: Inverted. King Ghidorah is usually a villainous monster, but here he's one of the good guys. Godzilla, however, is a straight example.
- Adaptational Wimp: Ghidorah. Although he is still the strongest of the guardian monsters he is hardly the unstoppable arch nemesis of the Showa series, and even his strongest attack causes only a small wound on Godzilla's shoulder. As a result of this and his heroic nature this Ghidorah tends to be unpopular among a certain group of fans.
- The Assimilator: While regenerating, Godzilla has absorbed the souls of all those killed in the Pacific War. Not just military causalities either, he's powered by some 36 million poor lost tormented souls. Godzilla is full of anger, and seeks to avenge those dead on a Japan that has forgotten its past, and the horrors of war.
- He also kills the guardian monsters and then absorbs their souls also, becoming ever more powerful.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Godzilla's shoulder wound created by the Spirit Bomb later becomes his achilles heel.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Admiral Tachibana
- At the same time, Godzilla is the villainous monster than the Anti-Hero he's often portrayed as.
- Chekhov's Gun: The drill missiles shown to help clear out one of Baragon's tunnels.
- Clipped Wing Angel: King Ghidorah would have grown into an eight headed dragon however they could not wait. In a meta sense this was done to King Ghidorah's character.
- Colonel Badass: Admiral Tachibana. He drives a sub into Godzilla's mouth, enters his stomach, and fires a missile with dead accuracy through a wound on his shoulder.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Godzilla against all of the Guardian Monsters. The only thing that keeps Ghidorah in the running is he keeps getting power ups.
- Darker and Edgier
- Dead All Along: Professor Isayama, who actually perished in the first Godzilla attack.
- Deadline News: The people in the newschopper after Godzilla throws Baragon at them.
- Gainax Ending: Godzilla's been defeated! Hooray!! Wait, he's still alive from just his heart!?
- Implacable Monster: This Godzilla isn't just a lumbering, unstoppable juggernaut, he's Death itself, and like death, cannot be overcome or reasoned with, only avoided for as long as possible.
- Intrepid Reporter: Yuri Tachibana.
- Karmic Death: Early in the movie, if one is an asshole in any manner, you will get killed or severely traumatised by a monster.
- Kick the Dog: A couple of violent youths near Lake Ikeda decide to drown a barking dog because it would give them away. A quarter way into the lake, they and those on shore are killed by Mothra. The dog remains unharmed.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Godzilla caused his own radioactive energies to run so rampant, that when next he sought to employ his atomic breath, it caused him to explode. However, even this was not enough to destroy the monster, as his disembodied heart continued to beat at the bottom of Tokyo Bay, slowly regenerating a new body.
- Shout-Out/Take That: The events of Godzilla (1998) apparently happened in this film's universe... but those Americans were wrong in labeling that creature "Godzilla".