Along with the Western-made King Kong, Godzilla is the classic giant monster of modern fiction. As a Kaiju, time after time the mutated prehistoric reptile has risen from the deep, sometimes to destroy Tokyo, sometimes to save it.The first film, released in 1954, begins with a series of mysterious shipwrecks. A reporter named Hagiwara is sent to investigate a remote island, whose natives blame the wrecks on a monster from their myths. He goes back a second time with some scientists, and the paleontologist Dr. Yamane finds gigantic radioactive footprints.Yamane soon realises that the legendary monster is real. Godzilla is a gigantic prehistoric sea monster which somehow survived to the present, and has been released by the recent atomic blasts. Naturally, he is heading straight for Tokyo.The military attempt to stop Godzilla, using tanks and a thirty-meter high electric fence, but they fail. Because Godzilla was created by radiation he cannot be killed by anything less deadly. Godzilla sets the city on fire with his atomic breath, killing thousands and reducing large parts of Tokyo to smouldering rubble.Fortunately, Yamane's daughter's fiance, Dr. Serizawa, has invented an Oxygen Destroyer, capable of killing Godzilla, but he has moral qualms about using it, since the military would use it as a weapon of mass destruction.After seeing how much damage Godzilla has done, Serizawa does eventually decide to use his oxygen destroyer, but first he burns all his research notes. The navy take Serizawa to the middle of Tokyo bay, where he successfully uses his invention to kill both Godzilla and himself, a Heroic Sacrifice to prevent the oxygen destroyer being misused.At the end of the film, Yamane says he doesn't believe Godzilla was unique. Another will inevitably appear.Yamane was correct. The film launched a successful franchise, with several alternate continuities, in which Godzilla has veered from villain to hero to Anti-Hero. The King of the Monsters starred in two Western Animation series - The Godzilla Power Hour and Godzilla: The Series. Godzilla, along with King Ghidorah and Gigan were even Special Guest in the TV show Zone Fighter. He is arguably the single most successful character to originate in cinema.Toho's Godzilla films are traditionally categorized into three eras, according to when they were made: Showa (1954-1975), Heisei (1984-1995), and Millennium (1999-2004). Each era has its own look-and-feel, particularly in its special effects but also in its plotlines.Currently, Legendary Pictures (The Dark Knight Saga, 300) is working on a new reboot of the series promising to be closer to the original material. And there was much rejoicing. In 2011, IDW Publishing launched an ongoing Godzilla comic book series, co-written by Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh and drawn by Phil Hester.The general interpretation of Godzilla in the original film was of more of a natural disaster, something powerful that can not be reasoned with, but ultimately a sympathetic character who was as much a victim of the atomic age as the Japanese he terrorized. Subsequent films set Godzilla as a heroic ally to the humans or as an evil creature that has to be killed. The 1998 American film portrayed Godzilla as a mostly innocent creature that just wanted to be left alone.Older Than They Think, because the movie is suspiciously similar to The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, a 1953 American movie where a nuclear explosion awakens a giant dinosaur that attacks Manhattan. Word of God has it the real inspiration for Godzilla was a far better known monster movie, though a working title for the film was "The Beast from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", making it pretty obvious where they got the idea from.Frequently cameos as a Rent-a-Zilla. May be the only reason you watch a movie, if you're Just Here for Godzilla. When you reach the point when it's time to call him in you have crossed the Godzilla Threshold.There's an extensive character sheet here that needs a bit of work.(If you were looking for the band named after the franchise, see Music/Gojira).
Films in the Godzilla Franchise include:
These are the titles of the official films. The names vary in regional release—A LOT.
The Secretary General's line of once being called "Mr. One Shot" in Final Wars is a reference to an action film his actor Akira Takarada did years ago titled 100 Shot, 100 Killed.
The infamous leap Godzilla does in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus? A reference to Tsutomu Kitagawa's involvment in the Super Sentai series. With the exception of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, Kitagawa was the man in the Godzilla suit throughout the Millennium series.
In Godzilla vs. Hedorah, Godzilla crosses his arms in a "+ " position. This same pose was made famous by Ultraman, whenever he fires off his trademark Specium Beam. Godzilla's (then) suit actor, Haruo Nakajima, played several Monsters of the Week in the original Ultraman series (one of which was in fact based from an older Godzilla suit).
Nakajima's protegé was Bin Furuya a.k.a. Ultraman.
Akihiko Hirata wears an eyepatch in Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, in allusion to his most famous role as the eyepatch-wearing Dr. Serizawa in the original Godzilla.
The mini subs used in GMK are named Satsuma, in reference to actor Kenpachiro Satsuma, who played Godzilla from 1984 to 1995.
The character played by Kumi Mizuno in Godzilla Final Wars is named Namikawa, in reference to her earlier role as Miss Namikawa in 1965's Invasion of Astro-Monster.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Kiryu is built around the original Godzilla's skeleton, and when it first hears Godzilla's roar, it remembers its past and goes rampaging. They quickly find out a way to fix it, though.
Alternate Timeline: The Millennium series all share the original movie as Backstory, but only two of them have any continuity with each other.
Godzilla vs. Megaguirus changes things up a bit, as while Godzilla did attack Tokyo in 1954, he then went back into the sea instead of being defeated.
The Mechagodzilla duology in the Millennium series (Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.) presented the idea of the original Godzilla's bones as having survived the Oxygen Destroyer blast while the original movie showed them being disintegrated with the rest of Godzilla.
Despite all the Showa kaiju appearing in Final Wars, they don't have the same exact origins as their debut movies. As such, Manda isn't the guardian of the Mu Empire, King Caesar isn't an ancient Okinawan deity, Gigan is from Planet X instead of Star Hunter Nebula M, and none of the monsters have probably ever encountered Godzilla before (with the possible exception of Minya).
Anguirus seems to know Godzilla, they have a short conversation before the three-on-one battle starts. It could just be a nod to their Showa friendship, though.
Godzilla: Final Wars was originally written so that the eponymous monster was Junior, which would have tied it to the Heisei series. For unknown reasons, this concept was never used in the finished product and it's never revealed exactly which Godzilla it's supposed to be.
The Marvel and Dark Horsecomic books. The IDW comics tend to vary. Kingdom of Monsters and its sequel take place in a rebooted continuity where the monsters show up in modern times, Gangsters and Goliaths and Legends (aside from issue 4 involving Hedorah) already have the monsters established while Half-Century War starts out during the events of the first Godzilla movie and expands its own continuity.
And Now For Something Completely Different: King Kong vs. Godzilla, the Japanese cut, is more of a satirical comedy, with a satirical take on the Kaiju Eiga genre as a whole as well as spoofing the growing TV industry in Japan.
Artistic License - Physics: In Godzilla vs. Megalon, Jet Jaguar — a human-sized robot built by a human inventor in his spare bedroom — suddenly grows to over 50 meters tall. The inventor's comment? "He must have reprogrammed himself to change his size somehow."
Ascended Extra (or possibly Ensemble Dark Horse): Bagan. Was considered (and passed on) for multiple films until finally appearing in the SuperNES game Super Godzilla. Despite never actually appearing in a Godzilla movie, Bagan has become stupidly popular with the fans. Well, most of them.
Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Godzilla's own height has fluctuated from 50 to 100 meters throughout the different continuities... or just over 120 if you believe Raymond Burr.
Attack Reflector: King Caesar can absorb energy weapons into his eyes and fire them back.The Super X-2's Fire Mirror also counts, as does Mechagodzilla II's "Plasma Grenades", both off which turn Godzilla's breath weapon against him.
Zone Fighter can grow into a giant daikaiju sized super hero to fight other monsters. However he has a time limit of only a few minutes and while he can dish out a lot of damage he has a glass jaw which makes him a Glass Cannon.
Desotroayh can emulate the Oxygen Destroyer causing the target to be reduced to bones. Sounds cool right? The problem? He has to have them in a body of water and break up into a swarm of microbes for it to work. And even when he dropped Godzilla into the ocean he still couldn't use it because Godzilla's immanent meltdown was boiling the water and made it and him too hot to use this power. The only one to fall victim to this in the whole movie was an aquarium full of fish.
Badass: Captain Gordon in Final Wars being the most recent example, though there have been a few others. Most notably, the Big G himself.
Nanbara the INTERPOL agent in Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla for sure.
Col. Gondo from Godzilla VS. Biollante, While looking Godzilla in the eyes from 100 yards away all he has to say is, ""All That Intravenous Stuff's No Good For You...Better Stick To Smoking..."
Badass Bookworm: Dr. Serizawa. You can count the number of things that actually managed to kill Godzilla on one hand. You can count the number of people that killed Godzilla on one finger.
Partially averted by the Americanized version of The Return of Godzilla which takes the scene of the skeleton of Godzilla vanishing as meaning that the creature seen in the movie is the same as the original, meaning that Serizawa didn't actually kill Godzilla, just put him out of action for some thirty-odd years.
If you want to take the ending of GMK as an idea, this can explain how Godzilla revived from the Oxygen Destroyer. Whether this is canon or "counts" of course is up to each viewer.
Badass Normal: A few human characters most definitely fall under this. As for the monsters, Anguirus is one of the few monsters that doesn't have a breath weapon and he certainly cannot fly. All he's got going for him are his horns, teeth, claws,and the ability to roll into a spiky ball. And, yet, he's still considered to be Godzilla's greatest ally.
"All this intravenous stuff's no good for you. Stick to smoking."
GMK has a particularly badass admiral who drives a submarine into Godzilla's mouth and then drills a hole out through his neck. When Godzilla next tries to use his breath weapon, it rips him apart.
Sergeant Steven Woods from the "Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters" comic series, who survives a Godzilla/Anguirus battle that destroys Hollywood, finds and cares for Allie, a young girl who survived a Godzilla attack, and kicks plenty of ass along the way.
King Kong vs. Godzilla to an extent, as it was Toho's 30th anniversary film. Both eponymous monsters appear for the first time in color, widescreen and stereo. Of course, a good chunk of the budget went to the ownership of King Kong's rights alone.
The 1984 film was a tremendous step up in budget from the notoriously cheap films of the 1970's that had come before it.
Big Creepy-Crawlies: Mothra, obviously, but there's also Kumonga (a spider), Kamacuras (praying mantis), Megalon (beetle), Battra (another butterfly/moth) and Megaguirus (dragon fly).
Not kaiju sized-but no less big creepy crawlies include: The Meganulons (which are like giant dragonfly nymphs) in Rodan and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, the Shockirus (6ft long sea lice) in The Return of Godzilla and the human-sized versions of Destoroyah count as well.
Big Damn Heroes: Kiryu saving a nurse and child from a beam charging Godzilla by slamming into him just as he lands, sending Godzilla flying down several blocks.
Earlier, Godzilla was getting trounced by Gigan and Monster X when Mothra showed up and clotheslines them. It. Is.
Bilingual Dialogue: Final Wars. In King Kong vs. Godzilla, all English speaking actors voices are retained and subtitled in Japanese.
Breath Weapon: Godzilla is famous for this, though he doesn't breathe "fire" as commonly thought, but rather an atomic heat beam - it varies between a kind of super-heated gas in the earlier films to a concentrated beam with explosive qualities in the later films. Many other monsters have a breath weapon of some form over the series, including Rodan (1956 and 1993), King Ghidorah, Baragon (1965), Mechagodzilla (in all versions), Biollante, Spacegodzilla, Destoroyah, and Keizer Ghidorah.
Bungling Inventor: Tetsuo from Invasion of Astro-Monster is pretty bright but his invention is an overly noisy device. It turns out to be an extremely effective weapon against the people of Plant X.
Call Back: Final Wars features many callbacks to the classic Toho sci-fi films of the 50s and 60s, including having the object plummeting towards Earth be Gorath from Suspicious Star Gorath, and having the vintage Tohoscope logo be shown at the beginning.
Cancellation: Of the 5 Random House Godzilla novels written by Marc Cerasini only 4 came out. The 5th and final book was to end in a final showdown with Godzilla and a totally new monster. Though there are some petitions to get it out.
Canon Discontinuity: The Godzilla series has multiple separate continuities within it: Showa (The films between 1954 and 1975) and Heisei (the films between 1984 and 1995) being the longest of them. Most films after that are their own individual continuity (But most still keep the original as canonical). This still doesn't prevent fans from picking and choosing amongst them. The fact that the first film's american version was actually re-dubbed in Japanese and shown in cinemas to a great success also adds some confusion to the Japanese fans as to what version was canon.
Captain Obvious: Shoichi, the main human character from "Raids Again" explains EVERYTHING that is going on in the movie but only in the dub.
But then said monster also throughout all appearances has a buzzsaw in his torso.
Rhiahn in the Marvel Comics, with his rotating "helicopter blades of buzzsaw death" tail.
Colony Drop: Final Wars. Godzilla takes it on point blank and LIVES.
Colossus Climb: What some scientists and G Force have attempted to do, in order to research and understand Godzilla better. This is wholly inadvisable due to the amount of radiation being emitted from his body.
Confusion Fu: In the Showa films monsters would sometimes have a hard time even getting close to King Ghidorah because he'd keep moving his heads around in wild ways so that it was hard to predict which volley of gravity beams would hit, which would miss, or if he would rake them across an enemy monster's body or readjust his aim if he missed or not and because there is no glowing or charge time he spammed these rays like no tommorow. It's because of this he'd hit any attacking monsters half the time and the other half miss. He wasn't a dangerous planet-killing monster just because of his strength but also because of how wild he was. He is chaos incarnate!
Cosmic Horror Story: King Ghidorah's background mentions that it has destroyed countless worlds with life.
Continuity Reboot: The Heisei series is this to the Showa series while the Millenium series does this constantly. The IDW Godzilla continuity (Kingdom of Monsters and the Ongoing) is set up in an entirely different universe altogether.
The fight against "Zilla" (his In Name Only American counterpart) in Final Wars, which doubles as one Crowning Moment of Take That. Though...almost every other battle in the film. Anguirus, Rodan, and King Caesar are the only monsters other than the main antagonists who last more than a few seconds against Big G, and even then, that's only because there's three of them.
The fight between Baragon and Godzilla in Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah — it even involves actual curb stomping.
Gigan being killed by Zone Fighter and King Ghidorah beating Zone Fighter in round one.
Godzilla is utterly hopeless at beating Mechagodzilla in their first encounter—until he magnitizes himself, which allows him to finally get the upper hand.
Godzilla is overpowered almost immediately from the Get go in his battle against Keizer Ghidorah in Godzilla final wars, never even being able to mount an effective defense as he's ragdolled around, beaten up, and utterly trashed by Monster X's transformation. However, following his Eleventh Hour Superpower power up he turns the tide and inflicts a curbstomp right back at Ghidorah.
Cut-and-Paste Translation: Although the ending of King Kong vs. Godzilla was not an example of this, major chunks of character development were hacked away and replaced with yawn inducing scenes of U.N. scientists spoon feeding the audience bizarre and nonsensical pseudoscience. Though almost the entire soundtrack was replaced with the one from Creature from the Black Lagoon (According to U.S. producer John Beck, it sounded less "oriental"), the ending remains the same save one minor alteration omitting Godzilla's roar at the end, which covertly implied that Kong had won.
Cyber Cyclops: Gigan. His single eye can shoot out a cluster of laser beams.
Although until his appearance in Final Wars this wasn't one of his abilities. Gigan was shown firing lasers on the boxart and posters of his movies but he never did it in them.
Darker and Edgier: The Heisei and Millennium series. Even within the Millennium series, GMK showed up the previous two film's rather neutral, anti-hero portrayal with a Godzilla that was a much worse monster than even the original one.
Godzilla vs. Hedorah was a mild case of this. Sure, it had a kid in it, but it featured the largest body count since the original Godzilla and some pretty graphic violence in both combat and monster attack scenes. The goofy scene of Godzilla flying was intended to give any kids in the audience a break from all the people-melting terror.
Mothra vs. Godzilla was considerably bleaker than King Kong vs. Godzilla. Then there is Terror of Mechagodzilla, the sequel to the first MG film. Mechagodzilla seems to lampshade the film's darker nature by being dark and rusty (as opposed to the previous movie's shiny and reflective incarnation).
Dark Reprise: A non-musical version in GMK. The first two guardian monsters awaken, Barugon and Mothra. Both kill teenagers that were causing trouble and one group even preparing to drown a dog. Godzilla arrives on land by stomping down on a house containing better behaved teens.
Deadpan Snarker: Some of the Promoted Fanboys who did the commentaries for the Classic Media DVDs tend to be 150% deadpan. ("This is a young Katsura, with her pig-tails, bright shirt and short skirt... raaaaarrr." - Terror of Mechagodzilla.)
The commentary for the American version of the second film, Godzilla Raids Again, is half informative commentary, half MST brutally lampooning the incompetent translation.
"Ah, Banana oil!"
Defeat Means Friendship: After Godzilla maims/kills Anguirus in the second movie, they're close allies throughout the rest of the Showa series.
Deliberately Monochrome: The opening of Godzilla vs. Megaguirus is a black and white recreation of Godzilla's 1954 attack on Tokyo, only using the then-current Godzilla design instead.
They actually used footage from Gojira and integrated the modern suit into the film. And it's almost flawless.
In Godzilla vs. Hedorah, when it shows the anti-Hedorah party gathered on Mt. Fuji, the scene is in black and white. It switches to color when the leader kicks off the 70's funk!
The Determinator: Malmess the Selginian assassin in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. He pulls himself out of his crushed Mercedes after a rockslide and, bruised and bloody, immediately resumes his mission as if nothing happened.
Developing Doomed Characters: Pretty common in most Godzilla movies. Even some of the better movies in the series fall prey to this especially hard... in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Godzilla himself doesn't show up until an hour into the film while you're hit with a complicated time-travel plot from the humans (Although you do end up seeing the pre-mutation dinosaur and King Ghidorah, but still... this is supposed to be about Godzilla, right?)
Presumably this issue was the motivation behind the amped-up action and fast pace of Final Wars, though in escaping this trope it dashed headlong into another.
You can notice that most of the more recent Godzilla films tend to open up with some Godzilla action to hook the audience, then tend to proceed with the usual human story for some while before monster action typically resumes. Godzilla vs Destoroyah, Godzilla 2000, Godzilla vs Megaguirus, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla and Godzilla Final Wars all follow this pattern, and even GMK and Tokyo: SOS still have hints of Godzilla right at the start.
Downer Ending: The ending for the original 1954 film has One of the main characters choose to die with Godzilla rather than risk having to use his weapon again. Not only that, but it's implied that Godzilla isn't the only one of his kind...
Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. Full stop.
The Dragon: Literally, with King Ghidorah, who tends to serve various aliens.
Eldritch Abomination: Several of Godzilla's biggest foes can fit the bill, depending on the version used. Hedorah, King Ghidorah, Desstroyah and Space Godzilla being the most prominent.
Enemy Mine: Rodan will occasionally team up with Godzilla to fight other monsters like King Ghidorah.
Likewise, there's Mothra who has teamed up with Godzilla at times despite the two being mortal enemies. In fact, it was Mothra who convinced Godzilla and Rodan to join forces with him (This Mothra was one of a pair of twins born in Godzilla vs. Mothra and yes, was male. The female twin seems to take over the role afterwards though from 1966 on) to fight against King Ghidorah in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster.
Captain Yamoto from Ebirah, Horror of the Deep, also portrayed by Akihiko Hirata.
Eye Scream: One of the wounds Godzilla recieves from Hedorah: His eye is burnt out. But Godzilla fully retaliates later.
Gigan suffers a blow to the visor in the ongoing Godzilla comic from Rodan.
In Godzilla Legends issue 4, Godzilla rips out one of Hedorah's eyes.
In Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla Akane manages to stun Godzilla by aiming the maser at one of his eyes.
The Godzilla Tower in Godzilla vs. Gigan is armed with a really painful-looking laser beam cannon in its mouth, which it uses to blast Godzilla in the eye. Twice. Gigan also attacks Godzilla in the eyes in the same movie.
Kumonga spits a stinger into Godzilla's eye in Son of Godzilla.
Family-Friendly Firearms: Family friendly maser technology, especially in the 1990s series. Conventional guns still appear frequently, however.
Justified, as bullets do not affect kaiju generally.
In Godzilla vs. Megalon, the agents from Seatopia used knockout gas guns.
Family-Unfriendly Violence: Anguirus getting his jaw overstretched by Mechagodzilla, the bloodletting in Godzilla vs. Gigan and Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla...there's actually quite a bit in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla and its direct sequel.
It should be mentioned that this sort of violence is considered much more acceptable for Japanese children compared to American standards, so this is a bit of cultural differences. Just look at the Gamera series, which are loaded with such violence. The Godzilla films in the 1970's started having similar gore most likely because of the Gamera films.
Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The franchise and its related films feature dinosaurs that have survived until the present day to be mutated by atomic testing, present-day animals mutated by atomic testing, nearly a dozen different intelligent alien races trying to conquer us with various monsters and Humongous Mecha, Time Travel, mystical creatures and gods of religions that don't really exist, a massive sentient plant made by mixing a rose's DNA with Godzilla's and giving the result a human soul, ghosts, a living pile of sludge, two unrelated subterranean civilizations, Frankenstein's Monster, King Kong, humans with powerful psychic powers, a force made of humans born with supernatural strength and agility, a gun that fires black holes, a giant magic gliding lizard whose very presence creates Dramatic Wind, a giant walrus(!) and all other manner of wacky shit. And that's what fans love about these films!
Fire-Forged Friends: Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla and King Caesar in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, Mothra and Battra in Godzilla vs. Mothra, Godzilla and MOGERA in Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla.
Five-Bad Band: The Xilien-controlled monsters in Godzilla: Final Wars can count.
The Chick: Mothra. Usually the level-headed one, her son, also named Mothra like his twin sister, broke up the fight between Godzilla and Rodan in Ghidorah and the female twin seemed to be telling Godzilla she didn't want to fight him in Ebirah, Horror of the Deep.
The Sixth Ranger: Jet Jaguar and King Caesar... Although they're not very popular ones.
In Destroy All Monsters, Kumonga, Varan, Baragon, and Manda also count.
From Nobody to Nightmare: Godzilla was just your average run-of-the-mill dinosaur before being mutated into the radioactive badass we all know and love.
Well, the Godzillasaurus as seen in Godzilla vs King Ghidorah was still gigantic, easily twice as large as real-life theropods such as Tyrannosaurus or Giganotosaurus, so this still would have been an exceptional dinosaur.
Giant Equals Invincible: The general rule of thumb seems to be that once an animal reaches a size around Godzilla's, it becomes practically impossible to kill, sometimes, as in King Ghidorah's case, to the point of actually being immortal. Usually the only thing that can bring down a kaiju is either some impossible weapon like the Oxygen Destroy or the Super-X, or another giant monster. So far, the military has beat Godzilla without any Applied Phlebotinumonce, when they sealed him in ice in Godzilla Raids Again, but it didn't kill him.
Averted, however, with Rodan. At the end of their eponymous film debutboth the male and female Rodan die by falling into a volcano as the JSDF bombs the area with an air strike. The male recovered and returned in Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster. So this may not be as much of an aversion as we think, unless this was intended to be a third Rodan not discovered in the original film.
Subverted in Godzilla vs. Destroyah. What ultimately kills Godzilla isn't high-tech weaponry or another monster, but rather an overdose of radiation that causes him to go into a nuclear meltdown.
"We" don't? The flying scene from "Godzilla vs. Hedorah" is a classic representation of the kitsch and charm the series offers, made especially so because it fits the bizarre tone of the film and contrasts well with the darker bits. At the very least, the scene gets away with it due to the Rule of Cool.
Kiryu is still capable of at least some limited flight, as in the end of Tokyo SOS.
A robotic instance: The All-Terraintula, from the Dark Horse comics.
God Is Good: Mothra is worshiped by the natives on Infant Island and turns out to be one of few good monsters in the series. This is however not until halfway through Mothra vs. Godzilla, where she promises to keep the collateral damage to a minimum. Before that she killed a fair amount of people in her debut movie, not because of evilness, but because the humans were insignificant to her, and all that mattered was to save the Fairies.
A God Is You: In the games. Unleashed lets you play as up to five, seven if you count worshipped monsters.
Some of the original titles for the Showa movies qualify: Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster is Three Giant Monsters: The Greatest Battle on Earth, Ebirah, Horror of the Deep is, Godzilla, Ebirah, Mothra: Big Duel in the South Seas, Earth Destruction Directive: Godzilla vs. Gigan, Monster Island's Decisive Battle: Godzilla's Son, etc etc.
Hong Kong Dub: These dubs were originally commissioned by Toho themselves for overseas export in Asian countries with a large English speaking populace (Singapore, Malaysia, etc). Commonly referred to as "International Dubs" by fans.
Hook Hand: Gigan, normally. As noted above, he did trade them in his second battle with Godzilla in Final Wars for chainsaws.
Hot Scientist: Final Wars has Miyuki Otanashi; a biologist assigned by the U.N., played by Rei Kikukawa.
Ozaki even lampshades this for the audience, saying "Are you really a biologist? You look more like a model."
How We Got Here: The American version of Gojira opens with Tokyo destroyed and Steve Martin injured.
Human Aliens: The Mysterians, The Kilaaks from Destroy All Monsters, Black Hole Aliens from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla and Terror of Mechagodzilla, the Xillians from Invasion of Astro-Monster and Godzilla: Final Wars and the Nebulans from Godzilla vs. Gigan.
Technically, the Black Hole Aliens are Killer Space Monkeys in disguise while the Nebulans are giant roaches. The Final Wars Xilians also simply use the human look as a disguise.
The Kilaaks were in disguise, too. Their true forms were weird little snake/slug/rock things. The Monster Zero Xilians are the only Godzilla aliens that didn't have alternate, non-human forms.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: Want to watch Godzilla vs. Megalon, The Return of Godzilla, or Godzilla vs. Biollante? Then good luck finding the close to 20 years old out-of-print VHS tapes they were released on. See also No Export for You further down.
Godzilla vs. Biollante can be scratched as well, having recently enjoyed its first DVD release ever.
Kick the Dog: Destoroyah had several of these moments in goring Godzilla Junior in the chest, killing him by dropping him from up high just as Godzilla arrives in Tokyo to meet him, and dragging Godzilla by the throat while he's mourning his son.
The college Students in GMK try to drown a dog until Mothra comes and kills the students.
SpaceGodzilla being the Complete Monster he is imprisoning Little Godzilla
Godzilla flinging the Mothra larva off his tail in Battle for Earth. Causing a scene in which Masako Tezuka's mouth hangs open.
The disguised MechaGodzilla ripping Anguirus's jaw.
Kill Sat: The Dimension Tide in Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. Hilariously, despite being touted as the ultimate weapon against Godzilla, it fails utterly. ' TWICE''.
The Klutz: During his rampages and monster fights, particularly during the Showa era, Godzilla frequently loses his footing and tumbles to the ground (often knocking over a building or two in the process).
This was all too common in the actual filming of such scenes, particularly in the first movie; stunt actors would often topple over due to the awkwardness of the toe spread.
Large Ham: Mr. Tako, head of Pacific Pharmaceuticals.
The Xilian leader in Final Wars.
So VERY much. He was the cherry on top of the sundae for a film that is completely Ham and Cheese and embraces it.
Laser-Guided Karma: Teenagers rob a store and try to drown the owner's dog in GMK. Cue Mothra rising out of the lake and killing them. Then a newsreport shows the the rescued dog being pet by two people.
Lost World: Infant Island, Faro Island, Monster Island and Mondo Island.
Lowered Monster Difficulty: Hedorah is the worst offender of this trope. In his first appearance (Godzilla vs. Hedorah), he was one of Godzilla's most powerful foes. His next appearance? Final Wars in which he makes a ten-second cameo before being instantly killed by Godzilla.
To be fair, Godzilla was swatting down kaiju like flies the whole time he was in the movie.
Ghidorah suffers from this as well. In Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, he proves to be a challenge for Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra. In Destroy All Monsters, it takes the combined efforts of all the Monster Island monsters to kill him. But then in Godzilla vs. Gigan, he's easily dealt with by just Godzilla and Anguirus, and he's teamed up with Gigan. In more recent movies, he goes from Rebirth of Mothra III, in which Mothra has to turn into Armor Mothra to defeat him, to GMK: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, in which Godzilla easily thrashes him and Mothra at the same time.
At least he managed to regain a bit of his former glory in Godzilla Final Wars, where he not only was beating, but was absolutely trouncing what is arguably the most powerful Godzilla ever (who, as mentioned above, was swatting down other kaiju like flies throughout the movie). It took the Gotengo's intervention to finally defeat Ghidorah.
Mechagodzilla in Terror of Mechagodzilla. In the previous movie Mechagodzilla was a beast in both melee and ranged fighting and thoroughly thrashed Godzilla and King Caesar before Godzilla gained New Powers as the Plot Demands. In Terror, Mechagodzilla hangs back and lets Titanosaurus do the melee fighting, only fires on Godzilla a few times, and when Godzilla does get into melee range Mechagodzilla is helpless (though he was prepared for the head-ripping-off trick).
Also, the Mega Monsters (Rhiahn, Triax and Krollar) in the Marvel comics.
Mama Bear: Do NOT try to harm Mothra's children. You will regret it.
From the Dark Horse Comics series we have Burtannus who happens to be a Expy of Anguirus but can shoot lightning from her horn. In her fight with Godzilla, she manages to fight him long enough all the while protecting her children.
Militaries Are Useless: The army in pretty much any movie. The first time can be excused, but in every sequel Godzilla shows up and the army attacks doing nothing to him and actually causing just as much, if not more, collateral damage. Even the damage caused by Godzilla himself can be blamed largely on the army as the films have pointed out shooting Godzilla just makes him mad and causes him to advance and attack.
Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Mechagodzilla and SpaceGodzilla. Fire Rodan and Mecha-King Ghidorah also fit. Super Mechagodzilla is the worst offender of the series. But then in Mothra's spin-off trilogy, there are Rainbow Mothra, Armor Mothra, Aqua Mothra, Death Ghidorah, Grand King Ghidorah (a.k.a. Super Dragon King Ghidorah)...
Final Wars is essentially this trope in movie form, combining almost every monster that has ever appeared in Godzilla's movies with a storyline involving, among other things, alien invasion (again) mutants, and special-effects laden gun battles and martial arts sequences that almost seem to have been pulled directly out of The Matrix.
No Export for You: Hey, where are America's DVDs of Godzilla vs. Megalon, The Return of Godzilla and Godzilla vs. Biollante? Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, Sweden, Thailand, Spain, Italy and France got them!
Ghidorah, the Three Headed Monster and All Monsters Attack have the notability of being the only two Showa films not theatrically released in Germany.
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster was recently released on DVD in Germany, with a new dub made for it.
The Japanese version of King Kong vs. Godzilla has not been released on DVD outside of Japan.
Non-Indicative Name: Frankenstein Conquers The World. Dr. Frankenstein's not in it, and there's no conquering of any kind. Also Godzilla vs. The Thing, though you can be forgiven for expecting to hear "IT'S CLOBBERIN' TIME!" at some point.
Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Borderline Anvilicious sometimes, the earlier movies especially would bring up atomic bombs as a way to destroy Godzilla and the other monsters, but would always get shot down because no one was anxious to destroy Tokyo and a large chunk of Japan in the process. Some films speculated that the bomb would just make the creatures stronger.
Only Sane Kaiju: Mothra. While the other giant monsters prefer to destroy things and being pissed at the human race, she and her children (all of whom, even the males, share her name in whole or in part depending on the era.) prefer to save things and the human race from monsters like Godzilla and King Ghidorah.
In GMK Ghidorah is explicitly referred to as an Orochi who was woken before all his heads had developed
And of course, the actual Orochi, in Yamato Takeru.
Or Was It a Dream?: Happens to Godzilla in a Dark Horse comic, where he fights a dragon-like monster in the distant past.
Our Dragons Are Different: King Ghidorah, who is loosely based on the Yamata No Orochi. There's also Manda, who is essentially a Chinese Dragon. And Orochi itself, in Yamato Takeru.
Our Ghosts Are Different: GMK Godzilla is essentially a zombie version of the 1954 Godzilla possessed by the souls of those who died in WWII.
Our Monsters Are Weird: A lot of the stranger Kaiju fall under this, including Biollante, Hedorah, Gigan and even freaking Mothra.
Godzilla has had a few moments where he does some very weird things in the early films, but these tended to be more moments where we would see flavors of his personality. His ability to fly and turn himself into a living super-electromagnet on the other hand, while being examples of New Powers as the Plot Demands, still falls under this trope as well because of how completely out of left field they are, even for him.
Out of Focus: In the first movie, Hagiwara is very important in the first half, but has a lot less to do toward the end. The American dub almost cuts him out altogether.
Also, Iwanaga (the security officer that escorts Steve Martin around) disappears completely once he informs Steve of the power line defense surrounding Tokyo. Perhaps the intention was he died in Godzilla's attack?
Didn't Iwanaga die in the building Steve was in? I thought Steve noticed him under some rubble at the start of the film.
Inverted in Godzilla Raids Again, when the cameraman accidentally undercranked some of the monster footage. Director Motoyoshi Oda actually loved the ensuing effect, and ordered the rest of the movie's creature scenes filmed thusly. He did not direct any more Godzilla movies.
Person of Mass Destruction: Godzilla is a prime example of this, especially in the original movie when he levels Tokyo to the ground.
Pit Trap: In King Kong vs. Godzilla, Godzilla is lured to a giant pit filled with a large amount of explosives as way of killing him. Naturally, it doesn't work and he simply climbs out of it. What were you expecting from a Fifty-Meter Monster anyway!
Playing Against Type: King Ghidorah, usually a villain, is The Hero in GMK. That's not the only occasion where a monster has switchedmoralities, but given that he otherwise varies between being a force of nature and outright evil, it's very notable.
P.O.V. Sequel: Godzilla: The Half-Century War starts out in the events of the first film but seen through the eyes of the main character Ota. It's confirmed when Godzilla is mentioned to be killed by the Oxygen Destroyer (which isn't explicitly mentioned by name).
Power Crystal: SpaceGodzilla has two huge ones, one on each shoulder, and can raise many more out of the ground. Giant "Power Surge Crystals" are also a main plot point in Godzilla: Unleashed, which also has a new monster named Krystalak, a creature born from evil crystals.
Prop Recycling: Older Godzilla suits were often used in the latest movie for certain scenes to keep the current suit as undamaged as possible. This was often done for scenes featuring Godzilla in/under the water.
Godzilla vs. Hedorah used the Monster Zero suit for the scene where Hedorah drenches Godzilla in muck. The flying Godzilla prop was the same prop used when Godzilla was held in the Xilians' energy bubble, also from Monster Zero.
The Son of Godzilla suit was used in Godzilla vs. Gigan for the scenes where Godzilla and Anguirus race through the ocean. Unfortunately, the Son suit looks absolutely nothing like the main suit used for Gigan.
And the suit used in Gigan had also been used in the three previous films and was in pretty dire shape. You can see it falling to pieces during the second half of the film.
The laser cannon used on Planet X to bring Godzilla and Rodan out of stasis in Invasion of Astro-Monster was one of the atomic heat ray cannons from the 1961 Mothra.
Psychic Powers: Miki Saegusa in the entire Heisei series, save for The Return of Godzilla. Also, Mothra's fairies.
To a lesser degree, Meru from Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.
SpaceGodzilla showed off some telekinetic powers, using them to toss around Godzilla and Little Godzilla.
Princess Salno from Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster.
Psycho for Hire: Gigan and Ghidorah in the Showa era. Both are often under the control of various evil aliens and both seem to really enjoy city destruction and attacking Godzilla and/or any of his allies.
In Godzilla vs. Megalon, the Seatopians actually call Nebula M and ask to borrow Gigan to help Megalon against Godzilla. No interaction between the two races, no evidence that they are allies, no reason for them to help except maybe because they don't like Godzilla on general principles. They just phone up and ask to borrow their Kaiju, like he's a cup of sugar. At least give the Nebulans credit for being helpful.
Red Sky, Take Warning: Happens in Godzilla 1985/Return of Godzilla when a nuke goes off in the atmosphere. Also happens in the Super Godzilla game with Bagan's appearance and, though none of them are red except Seattle in the latter, the film Godzilla Final Wars and the game Godzilla:Unleashed has several cities with strange colored skies.
Retool: The reason why Ishiro Honda opposed the Lighter and Softer approach in the series. The original film is his way of showing what would happen when a nuclear weapon is used: with disasterious results. He even opposed directing Return Of Godzilla because he wanted the series to rest when that film is everything he wanted to point out due to the use of nuclear weapons and the debate of the subject.
Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: The franchise started off depicting the horrors of a nuclear holocaust. The first movie was very dark and even by today's standards, frightening. The series gradually went from a horror series to a children's movie series best known for goofy rubber suits and ridiculous plots. The title monster turned into a proud national icon and the source for cartoons, toys, video games, etc.
The Rival: In a meta sense Godzilla's top rivals are King Kong, America's greatest monster vs. Japan's, and Gamera, top kaiju.
Rule of Funny: Obviously the only reason for Godzilla and King Caesar to use Anguirus as a soccer ball in Final Wars.
Sadly Mythtaken: in GMK, Ghidorah is said to be a baby Orochi...even though Orochi has eight heads and Ghidorah only has three. Justified in that, in the film, Ghidorah hasn't matured enough to grow back all his heads yet.
Averted with the 1974 film Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla. The character of King Caesar is very accurate to the portrayal of the Shisa of Okinawa folkore.
In fact, the song used to summon King Ceasar basically translates into "Kill The Dragon! King Shisa!", which is what one Shisa does in a famous story of Okinawa myth and (basically) what King Ceasar tries to do when he battles Mechagodzilla. Though, Mechagodzilla is a giant robotic dinosaur rather than a dragon.
The Scourge of God: A few kaiju (Varan, Mothra, King Kong, Manda, Megalon, King Caesar) are actually worshiped as Gods.
As is Godzilla, in the original.
Sea Monster / Kraken and Leviathan: Godzilla, Manda, Ebirah, Titanosaurus, Maguma from Gorath, the Yog trio (Gezora, Ganime and Kamoeba) and Dagahra from Rebirth of Mothra II.
Shock and Awe: King Kong, Gabara, Megalon, Heisei Mechagodzilla's Shock Anchors.
Kiryu also electrocutes Godzilla with a wrist blade at one point.
Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Dr. Serizawa sacrificed himself to make sure the Oxygen Destroyer was only used to kill Godzilla in the first film because he didn't want it to become a weapon like the hydrogen bomb that helped bring about Godzilla. Disregarding the fact Dr. Yamane was right when he said There Is Another and more Godzillas came for their turn to smash Tokyo, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah features a monster that is arguably worse than almost all the Godzillas and was created by the Oxygen Detroyer, just like how the hydrogen bomb created Godzilla.
Shooting Superman: This trope could just as easily be called "Shooting Godzilla" with all the times the military kept trying to shoot at Godzilla or other monsters (even in the Millennium series which are all set in different continuities, they tend to keep trying), even though it never worked. The worst cases are Godzilla vs Gigan, when the army tries stopping Gigan and King Ghidorah, even Ghidorah on his own has wiped the floor with them, and Godzilla vs Megaguirus, when they try using the dimensional tide on Godzilla a 2nd time, even though it didn't work the first time and only brought in Megaguruis from the past. Occasionally subverted and they don't even bother trying
Small Annoying Creature: Minya. The Heisei series replaced him with the less obnoxious Baby Godzilla, but then he grows into just-as-obnoxious-as-Minya Little Godzilla. Once he becomes Godzilla Junior, it gets better, though.
And don't forget the little horror that appears, in several different guises, in many of the movies that Stomp Tokyo has dubbed "Kenny." Its most common form is that of a young Japanese boy in shorts...
There's also the Dorats, the little flying rat things from Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah that end up transforming into Godzilla's greatest foe.
Let's not forget Fairy Mothra and Garu-Garu from the Rebirth of Mothra trilogy and Ghogo from Rebirth of Mothra II. Or, actually, let's.
The Smurfette Principle: There's only a handful of female monsters: often Mothra, Biollante, the female Rodan, Megaguirus, and there's bound to have been one female Kamacurus. Sometimes fans lean towards making Destroyah female and mistaking Hedorah for female, due to Godzilla pulling its eyes out and looking like eggs. In terms of cast and crew Yukiko Takayama, writer of Terror of Mechagodzilla, is the only female writer. The first film to have a female protagonist was Kiriko Tsujimori in Godzilla X Megaguirus (Miki Saegusa from G Vs. Biollantte through Vs. Destroyah could also count if you were feeling generous).
More often than not averted, as Toho NEVER tries to make Godzilla an actual dinosaur except for in the 1991 Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.
However, the first (1954) Godzilla movie contained this gem, from a character who was supposedly a paleontologist himself:
"It can be safely assumed that two million years ago, this Brontosaurus and other ancient reptiles roamed the earth. It was known as the Jurassic Age. During this period, there was another species which we may call the intermediary animal — a cross between the land-living animals and the sea-living animals."
The second film, Godzilla Raids Again, introduces Anguirus, who is stated to be an Ankylosaurus, despite only vaguely resembling one. The character that announces this also reads out a (fictional) report from a Polish scientist claiming that Ankylosaurs were carnivores, when they were in fact herbivores.
The Soulless: In one of the films Godzilla comes back as an undead white eyed monster possessed by evil spirits of dead WW 2 soldiers. Kananko explicitly said in interviews that the pure white eyes means either Godzilla had his soul exorcized by the evil spirits or he never had one to begin with.
Space Whale Aesop: Nuclear weapons cause GIANT MONSTERS! Pollution causes GIANT SMOG MONSTERS!
Special Guest: Godzilla, King Ghidorah, and Gigan all showed up in the show Zone Fighter at one point and have fought him. Godzilla even teamed up with Zone Fighter several times and Gigan was even killed by Zone Fighter!
Throughout the Heisei era, one of the dub actors (The legendary Rik Thomas) repeatedly pronounces it "Godziller."
This was also a common problem in some of the Showa dubs.
Deathghidorah being misspelled/mispronounced as "Desghidorah" (understandable due to Japanese pronunciation vagaries); the various different renderings of Destoroyah/Destroyer/Destroyah/Desutoroyah...
Spikes of Villainy: Used and averted, depending on whether Godzilla and the even spikier Anguirus are good guys at the moment.
In the subverted department, there's King Ghidorah, who's not so spiky but is a villain most of the time. In the played straight department, there's Gigan (Hooks for hands, a buzzsaw on his stomachand replaces the hooks with chainsaws in his second battle with Godzilla in Final Wars, spiky wings, spiky heads, and a beak with mandibles) and Destoroyah (who has spikes all over his body and claws on his feets, hands, and tail).
Stable Time Loop: This SciFi Japan article suggests this is what happened in Godzilla VS. King Ghidorah was that insteading of removing Godzilla, the time travel instead created the Heisi-era Godzilla. As the article mentions, there is evidence in the move to back this up: Miki still senses Godzilla, not the unmutated dinosaur; everyone remembering Godzilla despite the time travel; a nuclear submarine accident that happened where they put the dinosaur; and lastly, when the JSSF send a nuclear sub to power the dinosaur—and the dinosaur already being Godzilla before the sub gets there.
Stock Footage: Some of the older movies used a few old shots here and there, but it gets really bad and noticeable in All Monsters Attack and Godzilla vs. Megalon.
Stop Motion: Occasionally used for long shots in some of the earlier Showa films. The results can greatly vary from slightly noticeable (Long shots from Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster) to extremely jarring (Godzilla's drop-kick from King Kong vs. Godzilla).
Suddenly Voiced: Godzilla and Anguirus actually talk in the dubbed version of Godzilla vs. Gigan. Seriously.
Godzilla: "Hey Angilas!"
Anguirus: "What do you want?"
Godzilla: "Something funny going on! You better check!"
Godzilla: "Hurry up!"
The Japanese version had manga-style speech bubbles.
Take That: Toho's decision to pit the American and Japanese Godzilla against one another. The fight lasts about fifteen seconds. Guess who won.
Also in Final Wars, a kid is seen playing with various kaiju action figures. He looks at his Gamera figure, shouts "YOU LOSER!" at it, then throws it into the nearby fireplace. It seems subtlety is not one of Toho's strong points.
In GMK (2001), a character asks "Didn't Godzilla attack America a few years ago?" Someone responds with "That's what all the American scientists said, but our scientists here have doubts."
Zilla's very name is an example of Take That. Toho named him "Zilla" because, in their own words, the American film "Took the 'God' out of Godzilla."
In Godzilla 2000, one of the forms Orga takes is very reminiscent of the aliens from Devlin and Emmerich's Independence Day. It promptly gets its ass kicked by Godzilla.
Not only that, but in Orga's final form his head vaguely resembles Zilla's.
Tonight Someone Dies: Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. Godzilla dies of nuclear meltdown. And, the JSDF manages to freeze Destoroyah to death.
Took a Level in Badass: Probably the best examples would be the young Godzillas. Minya begins Son of Godzilla as a helpless baby, but by the end of the film, he aids Godzilla in battle against Kumonga and even helps to burn the giant spider along with Godzilla. Similarly, in Godzilla's Revenge, Minya is at first tormented by Gabara, but by the end of the film, and with some help from Ichiro, Minya is finally able to overcome Gabara.
Likewise, in the Heisei series, Baby Godzilla/Little Godzilla is at first quite helpless as seen in both Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla II and Godzilla vs Spacegodzilla, but by Godzilla vs Destoroyah, Godzilla Junior is able to hold his own in battle against some of the earlier forms of Destoroyah.
The Unfettered: Malmess in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. To him, a giant, golden, lightning-spewing space dragon is a negligible inconvenience to his mission to kill a princess.
Unstoppable Rage: Godzilla is the king of this. If he's angry, it's safe to assume that at least one major city is going to be destroyed.
Urban Legends: Quite a few people still believe the completely false rumor about King Kong vs. Godzilla having an alternate ending for both versions of the movie (IE: Godzilla winning in the Japanese version and King Kong winning in the American vesion). In all actuality, the ending for both versions of the film is ambiguous (Though, Toho Studios has stated that Kong technically won in both versions)
Another urban legend states that the name "Gojira" was supposedly the nickname of an employee working for Toho.
However, it should be noted that nobody working for Toho (at any point in the studio's history) has ever come out and stated that he is the person who originally had that nickname. Likewise, the real reason Godzilla is known as "Gojira" in Japan is that the word "Gojira" roughly translates into "Whale-Ape" (It's a Portmanteau of "Kujira" (Japanese for "Whale") and "Gorilla") and that the name is simply left-over from Toho's original plan for Godzilla to be a giant fire-breathing ape. The filmmakers simply liked the name...and the rest is history.
Vanilla Edition: Most U.S. Godzilla DVD releases are pretty bland. The first set of Classic Media's discs had two "special features" to speak of: an ad for Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee on the Gamecube and a supposedly 5.1 surround sound track that's really just the mono track turned up with an echo effect added to it. Even worse is the ADV Destroy All Monsters disc, which doesn't have menus. You put it in and the movie plays, just like a VHS cassette. Tristar's discs usually have a handful of trailers nobody wants to watch for movies nobody wants to watch. The second wave of Classic Media discs finally added some actual features.
Though they sadly returned to their old ways on their Rodan / War of the Gargantuas set. While it comes with a neat documentary called Bringing Godzilla Down To Size, the movies themselves don't get any actual features.
Which is rather bizarre anyway, since neither of those films are even actual Godzilla movies.
Sony released a three disc set a couple years back titled "Icons of Sci-Fi", containing the original 1961 Mothra, Battle In Outer Space, and The H-Man, which is nicely done at least with the Japanese and American versions of all films, and feature length commentaries for both Mothra and Battle In Outer Space.
This has gotten slightly better in recent years as DVD companies have finally caught on that Godzilla fans are demanding higher quality releases, and are happy to buy them. Criterion released a wonderful DVD and Blu Ray for the 1954 original Godzilla, in 2012, with a number of very nice bonus features and a gorgeous picture restoration.
Villain Decay: King Ghidorah and the big lizard himself. The former has probably the biggest of any movie villain, going from being the Big Bad that lays waist to entire world to being a mind-controlled slave to aliens.
Invasion of Astro-Monster: Xilians from Planet X ask Earth for help in driving King Ghidorah off their planet by sending them Godzilla and Rodan, and in return they'll give us a drug that will cure all known Earth diseases. We send them Godzilla and Rodan, and everything seems just dandy... until the Xilians reveal that they have all three monsters under their control and unleash them on Tokyo.
Godzilla vs. Gigan: An awesome new amusement park called Children's Land opens in Japan, promoting peace for all mankind... until it's revealed that the staff of the park are really giant intergalactic cockroaches that want to rebuild their own civilization which was destroyed by the human-like species on their own planet, and they unleash Gigan and King Ghidorah on Tokyo.
Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah: A trio of humans arrive from the future and declare that, very soon, Godzilla will destroy all of Japan (even worse than he usually does), and that they must go back in time and make it so he is never created to make sure this never happens. Along with the main characters, they go back in time and prevent Godzilla's creation... only to secretly leave behind the Dorats, who end up merging and turning into King Ghidorah from the same radiation that created Godzilla. And the future people control Ghidorah.
Godzilla: Final Wars: When every monster ever starts attacking major cities around the globe at once, the Xilians (again) show up and teleport them all away, saying they only want peace between Earth and Planet X. But then it turns out they were planning on conquering the Earth (albeit through peaceful means). With their cover blown and the rash hot-head taking over command, all the monsters are released back on Earth, this time backed up by Gigan and the Xilians' numerous warships.
Audrey Timmonds: If he's the first of his kind, how can he be pregnant? Doesn't he need a mate?
Dr. Niko Tatopoulus: Not if he reproduces asexually.
Audrey Timmonds: Where's the fun in that?
Whole Plot Reference: Final Wars' story was pretty much the deformed love child of Destroy All Monsters and Invasion of Astro-Monster.
The Worf Effect: With one exception, maser cannons have never harmed Godzilla or any other kaiju in the franchise, ever. A maser in this universe is supposed to be an intimidating, gigantic Ray Gun, but its repeated ineffectiveness makes you wonder why the Defense Force ever bothers with them.
That one exception was The War of the Gargantuas There, masers actually hurt Gaira, driving him back; but in Godzilla vs. Gigan they still only serve annoy King Ghidorah.
The Worm That Walks: Destoroyah, in all its forms, is composed of vast swarms of bizarre anaerobic microbes.
Would Hit a Girl: Captain Gordon in Final Wars. At one point he fights two Xiliens, one male, one female. He dispatches the male, then has a fight with the female. After he gets the upper hand, he has his fist pulled back ready to deck her, when she asks "you wouldn't hit a woman would you?". He then hesitates, opens his hand, smiles...then says "Yeah." and knocks her out with a karate chop to the neck!
Written Roar: "SKREEEOOONK!", or "EEEAAAAARRGGGGH!"? You decide!
Year X: Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965) takes place in 196X.
Godzilla: Final Wars is generally accepted to take place in the near future, though a year is not specified.
alternative title(s): Godzilla; Godzilla Unleashed; Godzilla Save The Earth; Super Godzilla; Godzilla Generations; Godzilla Domination; Godzilla Monster Of Monsters; Godzilla 2 War Of The Monsters; Godzilla Monster War; Godzilla