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“Nature has an order. A power to restore balance. I believe he is that power.”

"You're not fooling anybody when you say that what happened 15 years ago was a 'natural disaster,' alright? It was not an earthquake, it wasn't a typhoon, okay?... You're lying! Because what's really happening is that you're hiding something out there. [...] And it is going to send us back to the Stone Age! You have no idea what's coming..."
Joe Brody
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Godzilla is a 2014 Kaiju Action Adventure film which also serves as Legendary Pictures' and Warner Bros. 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.

Directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters), 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.

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The narrative picks up in 1999, when the Brody family (no relation), Americans contracted to work at the Janjira nuclear plant in Japan, drop off their son at school and head to work, only to be torn apart when a sudden earthquake causes the plant to collapse. Fifteen years later, Joe Brody convinces his son Ford, now a US Navy lieutenant, to help him 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 Taylor-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. Graham, and Ken Watanabe as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, inspired by the character from the 1954 film.

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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.

Legendary had since decided to expand Godzilla into a trilogy, having announced plans at Comic-Con to incorporate classic Toho characters Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah into Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which released in 2019. Furthermore, Legendary confirmed that the prequel film Kong: Skull Island, released at March 10, 2017, is in the same universe as this movie and Godzilla: King of the Monsters lead up to a climactic confrontation in Godzilla vs. Kong. This Cinematic Universe is being called the MonsterVerse. Taking note of the renewed interest in the long-dormant property, Toho followed up on the film's success by initiating a new era of Japanese-made Godzilla movies, starting with the release of Shin Godzilla in July 2016 and continuing with an anime movie trilogy with Polygon Pictures titled Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters Released in November 2017 and May 2018 on Netflix.

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."

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     A-M 
  • The '50s: The prologue, where humans first try to kill Godzilla, takes place in 1954.
  • Acoustic License:
    • Subverted in the bridge scene. A police officer tries to say something to one of the bus drivers, but the driver cannot hear him from where he's sitting. The shouting of kids on the bus doesn't help.
    • Played straight in helicopter scenes, where for some reason people can often hear others without using headsets even though they're in a military helicopter.
  • 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.
    Gareth Edwards: 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 also a moment in San Francisco where, amid all the chaos and panic, Elle looks 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.
  • Adaptational Explanation: There's quite a bit in the novelization.
    • The reason the soldiers sent to the Yucca Nuclear Waste Depository don't know exactly which vault contains the MUTO egg is because it's buried under layers of secrecy, plausible deniability, misdirection and redacted text.
    • To a passive viewer who doesn't really consider all the Fridge Horror of the military's plan going wrong, Serizawa and Graham invoking the Nuclear Weapons Taboo against the military's plan to use nukes on the Kaiju can seem somewhat Anvilicious. In the novelization, Graham explicitly spells out for the reader that the core problem of the military's plan: what if the nuke blasts these monsters which grow strong by eating radiation, and the concussive force doesn't kill them before they can eat the radiation?
    • In the film, the three kaiju arriving at San Francisco Bay before the military are anywhere near ready merely seems like incompetence on the military's part. The novelization explains the reason the military aren't ready is because they were severely delayed by dealing with the unexpected train attack, which forced them to expend extra time retrieving a viable nuke while navigating around the female MUTO's sphere of influence.
    • In the film, it seems like a plothole or a case of Fridge Horror when you realize that there's no way Ford got the nuke anywhere near a safe distance from San Francisco before it went off (with both how much time the countdown had left and the speed the boat transporting the nuke was going at). According to the novelization, the wind direction was on San Fran's side and prevented the radiation fallout from being carried back towards the city.
  • Adaptation Inspiration: It tells a markedly different story than previous Godzilla movies; by having the titular beast be an ancient creature, older than the earliest dinosaurs, the theme shifts from a direct allegory of nuclear destruction to primal, unstoppable forces of nature keeping the world in check, with the MUTO being the threat to humanity and Godzilla himself the inevitable response. The bombing of Hiroshima is mentioned, and gives context to Dr. Serizawa's concern over a nuclear strike (his father was killed in the blast), but the continuous American atomic testing in the Pacific, then current in 1954, is also quantified in-story — it was a cover for the Navy's repeated efforts to kill it. The plot and ending, in turn, reflect the modern conception of Godzilla and his Character Development into a heroic figure; rather than being killed and crumbling into dust before he can destroy again, he defeats his ancient enemies and walks triumphantly back into the ocean, with press outlets heralding him as the savior of the city.
  • 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 MUTOs, 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. This however isn't the case in an earlier screenplay from 2012 where Joe was called "Nathan Brody" and he was Ford's stepfather.
    • 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.
  • Adult Fear:
    • Your child is on an evacuating vehicle when a giant monster suddenly rises from the ocean, and the Navy starts attacking it. Stenz is understandably worried when he realizes Godzilla's current location is nearing the Golden Gate Bridge.
    • Ford gets to watch his father descend into madness in denial over his wife's death. And then learns his dad was right all along, which means he spent 14 years estranged from his dad for no good reason. And then is forced to watch his dad die in front him, meaning he never gets the chance to mend the rift between them. He also spends a good deal of the film torn between duty and family, just like his dad did.
    • Elle gets progressively more worried as the film goes on, for obvious reasons. Her actions can seem very familiar to anyone who has a SO in the military, or knows someone who does. Ford evokes the idea of being unable to be with your family during a natural disaster... which the situation arguably is.
  • All There in the Manual: The Novelization gives the characters more development and provides insight into them, as well as additional backstories and some Adaptational Explanation.
  • Alternate History: Subtle example. While the Pacific nuke tests being covert attempts to kill Godzilla falls under Beethoven Was an Alien Spy, 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.
  • Androcles' Lion: It's hinted that Godzilla stopped the female MUTO just before it could kill Ford to repay him for saving him earlier.
  • 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 How: Being a Kaiju movie where The Unmasqued World first occurs, naturally a Class 0 occurs with Hawaii, San Francisco and other U.S. cities devastated at the end of the film (to say nothing of the Chernobyl-style disaster that occurs in Japan in the Distant Prologue); with the MUTOs' EMP apparently causing even more national disruption than would otherwise occur. The MUTOs seemingly threaten to cause a Class 2 if they win due to them being Explosive Breeders; but the Godzilla: Aftershock tie-in comic suggests the species would've actually likely caused a Class 4 in the form of a new extinction event, due to them destroying or reshaping entire ecosystems.
  • 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.
    • It's amusing to consider what possible need a creature from millions of years ago would have had to evolve an EMP as a defense mechanism, or how it would know to use it against attacking helicopters. Especially since this weapon seems to be completely useless against their only known predator, Godzilla.
      • The film's novelization and an earlier script suggest that the MUTO's EMP interferes with Godzilla's atomic breath.
      • Possibly just a side-effect of eating a ton of nuclear material, seeing as it produces EMP just by moving about, then it learns that the assholes hurting it fall out of the sky when it stomps.
    • The HALO drop has the men sitting in the cargo hold of the aircraft waiting, then strapping on air masks and hopping out of the back of the plane. In truth, they would have needed to be pre-breathing a particular gas mix for at least an hour to get the nitrogen out of their blood or they'd wind up with the bends, and the plane would need to ascend gradually.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • There are plenty of radiation sources in China and Japan far closer to the Philippines than the Kanto region (bonus content on the DVD suggested that the MUTO just went there by swimming around in the ocean), Yucca mountain was never operational nor that close to Las Vegas (it is actually 100 miles closer to San Francisco than Las Vegas is), 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 boards the train hauling the warhead at Independence, California. The scene was filmed in a Canadian town that bears exactly zero resemblance to Independence. Independence is located in Inyo County, in Owens Valley at the eastern foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and straddles Old Highway 395. Owens Valley is distinctly arid (it used to be quite fertile until William Mulholland stole the water rights at gunpoint to feed his new pet city, Los Angeles, but that's another story), the 11,000-foot White Mountains can be clearly seen just a few miles to the east, while the dominating 14,000-foot Sierras (including Mount Whitney) make up the entire southern, western, and northwestern horizons, and are even closer. It is literally impossible not to see this enormous wall of snow-capped granite from anywhere in Independence. The movie's version features an empty horizon. Also, there is no railroad line in or around Independence. The closest rail line that crosses the Sierras is 200 miles north, through Donner Pass.
    • 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 to the east. To get there via the Golden Gate Bridge would take far longer. It would make more 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.
      • All true, though traffic across the Oakland Bay Bridge is notoriously bad given that it carries three times the daily traffic that the Golden Gate Bridge does, and there are many times when a route from Oakland->Richmond Bridge->Golden Gate Bridge->SF is quicker than the Oakland->Bay Bridge->SF. If Sam had to be evacuated from western San Francisco, it will almost always be faster to go north first, especially if the goal is to leave the city as soon as possible rather than drive from the western side to the eastern side where the Bay Bridge is.
    • Honolulu International Airport doesn't have a people mover, but damn if it wouldn't be more useful. It also lacks the O'Hare/SFO-style glass facade the airport goers see Godzilla through.
  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics:
    • The radiation detection capability of the MUTO is quite extraordinary, and radiation is not nutritive, except to certain fungi.note  But this is a Godzilla film after all.
    • A geiger counter would never read zero unless in a highly shielded vault, there is some degree of background radiation in everything that surrounds us and even in human beings, as well as coming down from space.
      • In theory, the geiger counter could have been calibrated to ignore the background radiation; in other words, "zero" means "zero above normal".
    • 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).
    • Captain Hampton argues that the nuclear weapons used to try to kill Godzilla in the 1950s were "firecrackers" in the kiloton range compared to modern variable-yield nukes. However, the nuclear detonation shown at the beginning of the film is strongly implied to be (and outright stated to be in Kong: Skull Island) the Castle Bravo explosion on Bikini Atoll, which was a 15-megaton explosion that was the largest ever performed by the US.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • Special effects artists still haven't figured out what really happens if you sever a suspension bridge's cables.
    • While Godzilla is rather large, he can't create an ocean withdrawing, two story tsunami propagating for blocks inland just by stepping onto the beach. Tsunamis are caused by water displacement and Godzilla is just over two Olympic swimming pools in main body length/height. Whatever his density he cannot displace more than his physical volume of water as water cannot have its density increased beyond 1.0 in normal circumstances. He also a relatively small point rather than an ocean-wide wave, so water displaced by him can and will propagate in all directions (including passing him as he is broadly streamlined under water) rather than all pushed forward like a bulldozer.
    • Until they detonate, modern thermonuclear warheads are just the teensy little bit of nuclear isotope (uranium or plutonium) to start the explosion. Most of the energy released is the result of a subsequent nuclear fusion reaction betwen two different hydrogen isotopes. Whatever good the MUTOs get from eating them is minimal.
    • While the USS Saratoga is fictional, it is "played" by several nuclear-powered aircraft carriers (see below), so it would be safe to assume it would have a tasty, tasty nuclear reactor for the MUTO to feed on.
    • 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 occurred since the 1970s.
  • Artistic License – Ships:
    • Three aircraft carriers were used shooting the film and none of them is the USS Saratoga, 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.
    • Besides being useless at point-blank range (see Hollywood Tactics below), the Arleigh Burke class in real life are large ships with a length of 154-155m (505-509 feet). Godzilla is supposed to "only" be 108m (~354 feet) tall in his main body so he shouldn't be tossing them like toy boats as one rises from the bathtub.
      • Appearing at points to be much of the length and breadth of the CVN Saratoga that is "escorting" him is the same issue. Those ships are over 1,000 feet long with flight deck widths of 77-78m, making them over 3/4s as wide as Godzilla is supposed to be tall.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Used on the MUTO 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 MUTOs' 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 gets so worried he 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.
  • Badass Driver: The film features a One-Scene Wonder bus driver who manages to drive his vehicle full of kids through police and military barricades in the middle of an explosive skirmish between Godzilla and the Navy. He gets 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 Amongst the Flames: Mostly downplayed, fitting with the film's grim and slow-paced tone. Parts of San Francisco are visibly smoldering and the battling Kaiju are wreathed in smoke during the HALO jump. Probably the closest to dynamically playing with this trope is the chain of airport explosions which occur just as Godzilla arrives and engages in a (mostly offscreen) battle against the male MUTO.
  • 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 MUTO only to suddenly have to dodge Godzilla's dorsal spikes. Said MUTO 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.
    • No longer true. In accordance with TOHO's habit of one-upsmanship, the Godzilla in Shin Godzilla, from 2016, is 118.3 metres tall over Legendary Godzilla's 108 metres. Then TOHO decided to one up THEMSELVES in their anime Godzilla trilogy on Netflix in 2017 by introducing Godzilla Earth, a gargantuan plant-based Godzilla who hits a whopping 330 metres tall.
  • 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 eggs, 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.
  • Big Red Button: The kill switch at the Janjira containment site which electrocutes the MUTO's cocoon.
  • 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 firefighters look on in horror, Elvis Presley's Devil in Disguise plays cheerfully in the background.
    • The fight in Honolulu.
    Sam: Look, Mommy! Dinosaurs!
  • Black Site: Monarch has built one on the site of the ruined nuclear power plant in the heart of the Janjira exclusion zone, to contain the cocooned MUTO. The facility is heavily fortified despite being surrounded on all sides by ruins that are believed by the public to be irradiated, but the hero manages to sneak in just in time to see the containment fail.
  • Breath Weapon: Par for the course for this trope's image holder. You know awesome is about to ensue when Godzilla's spinal spikes start glowing blue while shrouded by the dust cloud...
    • Also, he visibly inhales before using it the first time. He is quite literally breathing atomic fire.
  • Broad Strokes: Has Godzilla first awakening in 1954, but remained publicly unknown for another sixty years and never having the chance to attack Tokyo before he was nuked back into dormancy.
  • Broken Masquerade: The military attempts to keep a lid on Godzilla and the MUTOs, but quickly writes that off when it becomes clear they can't stop them from reaching population centers.
  • 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: A meta-textual one for the franchise as a whole: Dr. Serizawa, a character not seen since the first film, is back, being portrayed by Ken Watanabe. However, the character is for Godzilla instead of against him.
  • Bystander Action-Horror Dissonance: It goes a bit overboard with this trope — most of the sequences involving the Kaiju are shot with a focus on the people in the vicinity of their rampages trying to not get killed (and not always succeeding) or marching through the devastation they leave behind. Up until the climactic battle, all that is given of the monsters is fleeting glimpses at best. One of the biggest complaints regarding this film, as a result, is that there is not enough Godzilla.
  • The Cameo: Gary Chalk makes a brief appearance as one of the administrators at the Japanese power plant at the beginning.
  • 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: Stealthily played straight and outright subverted.
    • During the MUTO's emergence at Janjira, Ford is able to grab and don a gas mask in only a few seconds - something the average person would fumble for ten seconds or more to do. However, the Marines are drilled hard on rapid deployment of masks, so for Ford that action is ingrained in him as deeply as breathing.
    • Subverted in that despite repeatedly establishing Ford's EOD tech abilities, the bomb is too damaged to be defused and goes off, though out of range.
  • Citywide Evacuation: A city in Japan is evacuated when the first M.U.T.O hatches.
  • Classified Information: The Title Sequence uses redacted text for both credits and exposition on the history of the title monster.
  • 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 '50s 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.
    • Promotional videos for the home video release of the movie had one of these narrating over top secret footage from MONARCH files and photographs of the Universal Western Mining collapse sight, the remains of the Janjira plant, and the massive fossil skeleton, with him claiming that this is all part of a conspiracy to cover up the existence of giant monsters. The special features for the Blu-Ray, meant to have been made chronologically after the events of the movie, feature most of the same content, but edited to give an I Told You So tone.
  • Continuity Reboot: For both the original Toho films and the 1998 American film.
  • Correlation/Causation Gag: At the climax, Ford, with absolutely nothing else he can do, points his sidearm at the female MUTO as she's approaching him, clearly about to kill him. She suddenly stops and Ford looks puzzled for a second until the next shot shows that Big G has appeared out of nowhere and clamped down on the back of her neck.
  • Covert Group: Monarch, a top-secret government organization.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Inverted. The opening credits are shown alongside text that ends up redacted with black ink - i.e. "Reliability of these sightings is still questionable BASED ON THE CHARACTER witnesses. One must ask, is GODZILLA OWNED AND CREATED BY TOHO COMPANY, LTD." Sequel Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) goes the same way ("Footage DIRECTED BY MICHAEL DOUGHERTY from U.S. Submarine Scorpion revealed").
  • 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.
  • Curse Cut Short: There's a humorous one for the most attentive viewers when the MUTO is attacking the soldiers at the dock.
  • 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.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: The film initially plays off as a darker twist of the kaiju genre, showing horrific real-life consequences of giant monster attacks. We see the main character tragically lose his father when the Male MUTO escapes. Later we see Godzilla cause a massive tsunami in Hawaii which drowns thousands of terrified civilians, and later the main character's wife, a nurse, is seen tending to a crowded hospital filled with hundreds of wounded patients. Then comes the grand finale, where Godzilla battles the MUTO pair, and it's right back to the good old goofy-yet-awesome monster fights that we know and love.
    • It also initially deconstructs the Gentle Giant trope. Godzilla is relatively benign compared to other incarnations. However, his massive size still makes him a danger to people such as when he first arrives in Hawaii and accidentally causes a massive tsunami simply by getting out of the water. It's later reconstructed when he learns to take his time around the tiny creatures he lives with and goes out of his way to create as little damage as possible.
  • 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.
  • Dead to Begin With: Adam, the Godzilla fossil in the mines that was host to the MUTO spores.
  • Determinator:
    • 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 with their small arms. They quickly realize the pointlessness and give a face that says this trope. Godzilla doesn't seem to notice.
    • The military send fighter jets to Honolulu to combat the MUTO, but fail to account for the MUTO's EMP blasts (which it previously demonstrated when escaping Monarch's containment) causing the jets to shut down mid-flight and violently crash. They repeat this mistake when they have jets in the San Francisco airspace during the MUTOs' arrival.
      • The military overall seem to have a problem bordering on Perception Filter of disregarding the male MUTO's EMP attacks until things go From Bad to Worse. Notably, their nuclear plan seemingly doesn't account for the obvious fact that the MUTOs' EMP can deactivate the boat transporting the nuke before it's far enough away from the city to be safe.
    • The female cocoon is taken to a nuclear waste depository. 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 three Kaiju; Godzilla makes it to San Francisco while the evacuation efforts are still in-progress, and the male MUTO makes it to the nuke well before it can be transported to a safe distance and long before its timer is about to go off.
  • 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.
  • Digital Destruction: The home video prints of the movie are noticeably darker and very murky compared to what was presented in theaters. Made even more confusing when the making of in the special features use clips that look brighter and better than the film.
    • The 2021 4K UHD Blu-ray release averts this, bringing the colors to near 1:1 to the theatrical release. This print has also replaced the previous digital prints.
  • 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 his son Ford realizes Joe wasn't an obsessed crazyhead, and they reconcile.
  • Disaster Dominoes: A crashing helicopter takes out no less than three passenger jets.
  • Distant Prologue: The film starts in Japan in 1999, where Joe Brody tragically loses his wife at the power plant before cutting to the main plot fifteen years later.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Quite literally. Joe Brody is set up as major protagonist with an integral role in the story. Minutes after the male MUTO gets released at the beginning of the second act, he is mortally wounded in a bridge collapse.
  • Dull Surprise:
    • Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ford Brody, with military training to remain calm no matter what (and his job disarming bombs for them) helping matters.
    • 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 MUTO 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 '50s with nuclear "tests" in the Pacific. When the MUTOs 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 MUTOs 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.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    Navy Tech: Godzilla's still following the MUTO.
    Serizawa: He's hunting!
    Stenz: Doctor, what do you mean, 'hunting'? Is he chasing the MUTO?
    Graham: But if the MUTO is his prey, the signal shows a call, why call up a predator?
    Serizawa: No, he was only listening. The MUTO was calling something else. (Pause) Nevada!
  • 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.
    • In the airport attack, no one, not even the male Muto noticed Godzilla at all. The pilot engaging the male Muto apparently saw bumping into him as an inconvenience. The Muto didn't even see him right in front or next to him.
    • 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. Anyone who's ever worked in a casino can tell you that this is a 100% accurate portrayal.
  • 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. Also Played With by Sergeant Tre Morales in the novelization.
  • Feed It a Bomb:
    • The Male M.U.T.O. is found by the army in the jungle near Honolulu casually munching on a Russian nuclear submarine.
    • 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.
  • Final Battle: The only fight between Godzilla and the MUTOs that's seen up-close by the audience; taking place in an apocalyptic San Francisco.
  • 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.
  • Foreboding Fleeing Flock: In the Golden Gate Bridge scene, a huge flock of sea gulls flying past the bridge signals that Godzilla is approaching.
  • 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.
  • Forgot Their Own Birthday: At the beginning of the film, Joe Brody has to be reminded by his wife that it is his birthday.
  • 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.
  • From Bad to Worse: The MUTOs rampaging, pursued by Godzilla, and the kaiju causing destruction to humanity where they go with little more than their presence is bad. But when Admiral Stenz and the military attempt luring the MUTOs with a nuclear warhead, the MUTOs instead steal the armed nuke and set up nest in the middle of San Francisco, with the nuke counting down and hundreds to thousands of people still trapped in the city.
  • 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 '70s, The '80s, and The '90s 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 '10s that instead try to show off as many CGI-laden shots as possible without bothering to savor individual scenes.
  • Gentle Giant: Strangely appears to apply to Godzilla himself. After waking up and being subjected to multiple nuclear attacks in an attempt to kill him, he spent half a century swimming in the deep oceans and avoiding contact with humans. He only emerges to combat the MUTOs and ignores humans even when they attack him- the only time in the entire film that he harms any humans it's completely by accident.
  • 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 floods a sizeable amount of Honolulu, just from rising out of the ocean.
  • Gilligan Cut: The news reporters urge viewers to "stay indoors and stay off the roads." Cut to an aerial view of a traffic jam. Mood Whiplash when we see it's caused partly by a crashed airliner.
  • Godzilla Threshold:
    • Attempting to kill the male MUTO in its cocoon seems to be this for Monarch, based on Serizawa's contemplation before he gives the order and based on Vivienne Graham's silent reaction. During the kill attempt, Serizawa and every other Monarch operative in the control room except for Whalen turns their head away in dismay.
    • 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, and he waits until it's clear that nothing short of a nuke has even a shot at doing so.
    • 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.
  • Going Critical: The male MUTO played a major role in the Janjira disaster.
  • Hazmat Suit: The film shows Dr. Serizawa, Dr. Wates and the other MUTO 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.
  • Heroic Lineage: Besides the fact Ford and Joe both end up playing a role in combatting the kaiju over the film; the novelization reveals another common pattern between them is that they've both served in the military (Joe was in the Navy). Also Played With in the novelization in regards to Admiral Stenz, as the novel states (albeit when discussing his and the military's plan to use nukes) that Stenz's father served aboard the USS Indianapolis.
  • Historical In-Joke: The various nuclear tests conducted in the Pacific Proving Grounds during The '50s. 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.
  • 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.
  • Human-Focused Adaptation: The film puts nearly all its focus on the human cast and their battle with the MUTOs, leaving the titular King of the Monsters with roughly 8 minutes of screentime. Those 8 minutes will blow you clear across the room and the rest of the movie itself is very well done and entertaining, but was a major letdown to a large portion of fans who were really hoping for it to be about Godzilla. That said the ratio of Godzilla to not-Godzilla run-time is more or less equal with the original film, so this is Older Than They Think. Still, the creators clearly listened to the criticism; the sequel gives vastly more screen time and development to the kaiju, none of whom are Canon Foreigners like the MUTOs, to the delight of many.
  • Idiot Ball: Ford and his team on the railroad bridge in the dark and foggy Sierras radio ahead to their advance scouts to ask if the tracks are clear. The scouts reply with frantic full-automatic fire and screaming. What do Ford and his team make of this? "Let's move up on foot and check it out." They start to take a hint when the MUTO throws a flaming M1 Abrams tank at them.
  • 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 Vegas 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.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The fate of the male MUTO after Big G gave him a tail whip.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: 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 buses filled with kids evacuating San Francisco also make it across the bridge before Godzilla smashes it.
  • In Space, Everyone Can See Your Face: In the Distant Prologue, Drs. Serizawa, Graham and Wates are all wearing Hazmat Suits with lights that illuminate their faces when they enter the irradiated cave holding Adam/Dagon's bones.
  • Irony:
    • The Male MUTO does all the things Godzilla does in Blue Öyster Cult's song Godzilla from Spectres: 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.
    • Expecting a success, Godzilla 1998 had a blatant Sequel Hook, but it 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.
    • Toho created Godzilla 2000 out of negative response to Godzilla 1998, especially to its crew and suit actors hating the film. This film? Toho released Shin Godzilla in July 2016, out of positive response to this film, especially to the suit actors loving the film. Haruo Nakajima, Godzilla's original suit actor, voiced his approval of the film, and fellow suitmation veteran Kenpachiro Satsuma (who portrayed Hedorah and Gigan in the Showa era, and Godzilla himself throughout the Heisei era) said Zilla did not have the spirit of Godzilla, but loved this remake.
  • 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 soldiers). When she sees Ford crawling away by himself after the nest is destroyed, Femuto instantly deduces he's the one responsible, and begins hunting him mercilessly.
  • 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.
  • Japanese Delinquents: Before Joe is brought out to Ford at a Japanese jail, Ford sees a delinquent teen being brought into the lobby, whereupon the teen gets fussed at by his parents.
  • 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.
  • Just Think of the Potential: Rather than simply destroying the MUTO's cocoon when it was young and vulnerable, the scientists elected to study it instead, thus granting it a chanch to mature. They still almost avert this tripe when they flip the kill switch within seconds of it becoming active, and then demand immediate confirmation that it's dead, but by then it's too little too late.
  • Kaiju: This time there's three of 'em.
  • Karmic Jackpot: 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.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • Ford kills the MUTO egg clutch by knocking the valves off a wrecked fuel truck in the nest, and then running like hell before the fuel hits any of the burning wreckage piles also in the nest.
    • 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 MUTO 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 MUTO represents Land, being (as far as we know) entirely land-bound and the monster that is seen furthest inland (namely, the Nevada desert).
  • 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.
  • Lighter and Softer: Yes, it's a dark film. But compared to this film to the horrifying original 1954 film, just be glad this film isn't depressingly cynical.
  • 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.
  • Magic Countdown: A soldier sets a nuke's timer to about an hour and a half in what appears to be midday. The active bomb gets stolen and has to be taken out of the city before it detonates. The soldiers assigned to retrieve it enter the city at sunset and find the nuke with 30 minutes left on the clock. By the time it reads five minutes (and it's nighttime), the nuke manages to be put on a boat and driven out of range from the city. A one megaton bomb is capable of a blast 7 miles wide. Meaning that boat must have been traveling 140 miles per hour at least.
  • Male Might, Female Finesse: Inverted with the MUTOs: the male is an agile Giant Flyer, while the female is larger, land-based and relatively slower-moving (which is also Truth in Television for many insect species that inspired these creatures).
  • Mama Bear: Upon figuring out that it was Ford who destroyed her nest, the female MUTO relentlessly and mercilessly chases after him.
  • Masquerade: Monarch has been covering up the existence of Kaiju for some time now, at least as far back as 1954, including Godzilla and the MUTOs (later films reveal they were aware of even more than that).
  • Meaningful Look: Between Joe and Ford during the male MUTO's attack on the Janjira Power Plant, and at the end between Ford and Godzilla.
  • 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.
  • 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, the Transamerica Pyramid being an exceptionnote . In the novelization, Godzilla also causes some damage to Alcatraz Island in the Golden Gate Bridge scene.
  • 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.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: Implied and then averted with the MUTOs. Whilst the female MUTO is far larger and stronger than the male, the male can fly, and is far more agile. They are both able to put up a good fight against Godzilla (and nearly take him down working together) and the film treats them both as equally dangerous.
  • 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.
  • Mutual Kill: Subverted in the Final Battle. Godzilla collapses from exhaustion after killing both the MUTOs, and he's presumed dead in the final scene, until he growls and his eyes open.
  • 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 words for gorilla and whale ("gorira" and "kujira", respectively).
    • 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 Gojira 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. 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 spines 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 Ghidorah.
    • Ford's killing of the nest that summons Mama Bear into a chase scene evokes Godzilla (1998).
    • 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.
    • Godzilla's pan up Reveal Shot references his entry in The Return of Godzilla.

    N-W 
  • 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). As a minor example, a Statue of Liberty is shown missing part of its face. New York is never visited, but the statue shown is a replica in Las Vegas, which is part of the film.
    • 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.
  • The New '10s: The film's primary time frame.
  • 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.
    • Since the MUTOs get to the nuke ship a good hour before the timer is set to go off, the only thing it accomplishes is to provide them with a radiation source to incubate their nest with.
    • 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.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: After the destruction of her nest, the female MUTOs persistence in trying to kill Ford left her vulnerable to an attack from Godzilla, the only living thing in the world capable of killing her. And thus nature's balance was restored.
  • The '90s: The Janjira incident takes place in 1999.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The MUTOs 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? He also dives under a ship while approaching Honolulu rather than just going through it without a care.
    • The MUTOs 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. Notably, the female doesn't stop to wreck anything in Las Vegas, the destruction she causes is entirely incidental as she just walks through the city in a straight line, ignoring everything else.
  • 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 MUTOs 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.
  • Not Drawn to Scale: As is usually the case in the franchise, Godzilla's size is... flexible. He's officially listed in marketing materials as around 350 feet tall. In the film he is frequently 2-3x that against known objects and in some shots and other marketing material including the poster more resembles a mountain.
  • 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. Many scenes have significant moments of silence before the monsters reveal their extremely terrifying presence. All in all, the movie is seen more through human perception than the monsters'.
    • Notably, we never see at all what the MUTOs' larval forms look like, but we do see the Worm Sign left by Hokmuto's escape from the cavern leading into the sea, which gives us a hint about how large it was, and his presence is still felt during the meltdown.
  • Not-So-Abandoned Building: A variation. The whole of Janjira is believed to be an irradiated quarantine zone, and with no civilians approaching for miles, Monarch has constructed a containment site where the destroyed Janjira power plant once stood, to monitor the MUTO cocoon.
  • Not So Different: For much of the film humans are shown caring about their offspring, Joe and Sandra for Ford, Ford and Elle for Sam, Akio's parents for him and Ford being his guardian. Then the MUTO show complete alarm and terror when there is an explosion where their nest is. The sounds of anguish made by the mother border on a Tear Jerker.
  • A Nuclear Error: In real life, the yield of the 1954 Castle Bravo bomb was 'megatons, not kilotons' (specifically 15 megatons), so there is no way a Minuteman warhead would make it look like a firecracker.
  • Nuclear Option: Overlapping with Nuke 'em. Whilst Admiral Stenz does eventually decide to authorize an attempt killing the Kaiju, to the military's credit the plan is only proposed once Monarch and the military realize that the MUTOs are looking to reproduce and become Explosive Breeders roughly halfway through the film. The military also aren't oblivious to the fact they already tried nuking Godzilla before and failed to kill even that one Kaiju, with Captain Hampton believing modern nukes will overwhelm the Kaiju due to producing a greater blast.
  • Nuke 'em:
    • Overlapping with Nuclear Option. Despite the aforementioned sympathetic points which the film addresses, it's made clear enough that the military's plan is liable to go wrong. Drs. Graham and Serizawa object to the plan, as besides Godzilla's survival of the 50s bombs being a cause for concern that the Kaiju will survive the blast, they also point out that if one or all three of the Kaiju survive then they will likely feed on the excess radioactive fallout and become even more dangerous; but they both end up Ignored Experts when Admiral Stenz decides to approve the plan anyway. The nuclear plan ends up backfiring horribly when the female MUTO steals two of the nukes from a train, and the male steals the third one after it has been armed and takes it to the center of San Fransisco, putting all the un-evacuated civilians at risk with the nuke's timer counting down, whilst also giving the female MUTO the radiation source she needed to fertilize her young.
    • Serizawa explains that at least some Pacific nuclear tests were not tests, but attempts to kill Godzilla after the giant ancient creature had been discovered due to the potential threat his mere existence posed. Played With and Zig-Zagged in this instance, since it doesn't become clear until later in the film whether this incarnation of Godzilla is a savior or a straight-up destroyer to humanity.
  • 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.
    • Also in Honolulu, several bystanders at the beach get a moment like this when they notice that the tide has suddenly gone out, and clearly realise exactly what that heralds. Or would, if there weren't monsters involved in this particular instance.
    • Shortly after the power comes back on at Honolulu Airport, the train passengers start to scream when the lights reveal the male MUTO on it's rampage...and scream even louder when the train starts moving towards it.
    • 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 principal moment of this is When the FemMuto is mourning her lost babies...then sees Ford.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: Godzilla is millions of years old, while the MUTOs are only fifteen years oldnote  — only a few days old if we only count the MUTOs' adult forms.
  • 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.
  • 1-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. Then double subverted when Ford jumps off the bridge into the river. . . the fall might kill him, but being hit by a burning runaway train will kill him.
  • 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.
    • Monarch might've been able to avoid or mitigate what was coming if they had talked to Joe instead of sticking him in a room for interrogation.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Traffic Jam: Played With, and more like Mid-Apocalyptic Traffic Jam. Naturally, once the MUTOs' rampage becomes a public-known national disaster, roads become packed with a Big Honking Traffic Jam; with legions of cars packed bumper-to-bumper, and several trying to navigate around the traffic jams through roadside fields.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: After killing both MUTOs, Godzilla exhaustedly flops to the ground, spending the next few days taking a nap before he finally wakes up and leaves San Francisco.
  • Pragmatic Hero: Interestingly, Godzilla qualifies. He doesn't go out of his way to cause destruction and chaos or attract attention from the humans or MUTOs, and in fact he never attacks the humans until they open fire on him first.
  • 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.
  • Pupating Peril: The male MUTO hatches from a huge, glowing, crescent-shaped chrysalis after feeding on the radiation of a nuclear reactor from within for fifteen years. While the larval form is never seen, the imago is a winged insectoid which immediately begins a trail of destruction across the Pacific.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: When the female Muto attacks the USM train carrying nukes, the train is set on fire and nearly crushes Ford.
  • Reality Ensues: When Ford blows up the MUTO'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.
    • 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.
    • Although Monarch has gone to great lengths to uphold the Masquerade for decades, they quickly realize that there is no way to keep a 200ft tall monster a secret and immediately abandon all attempts at secrecy.
    • When the female MUTO's EMP springs Joe from Monach's cell, he's too curious, and then shocked, to run with everyone else. And then the walkway he's on collapses, because he doesn't have Plot Armor. There's no scene where Ford finds him in the debris, digs him out, and tearfully clutches Joe's hand as he expires; Joe dies while he's being moved, with full emergency medical treatment ongoing. Also, Ford is an experienced EOD tech who knows how to hold back his emotions when necessary, and he's still visibly upset in the successive scene where Serizawa reads him in.
    • When Ford finally gets to the bomb on the boat, it's too damaged to even access, much less disarm. All he can do is aim the boat far out to sea, collapse from exhaustion, and watch it tick down. Luckily a Navy chopper arrives to save him, but he's still near-comatose on the way out.
  • 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:
    • Joe Brody, before the death of his wife at least. He pushes for an emergency meeting because he's concerned about unexplained seismic reading near the nuclear power plant's vicinity, and before the meeting can happen, when supposed quakes start striking the plant, he rightfully orders that the entire plant be taken offline without hesitation. Lastly there's his tragic Shoot the Dog.
    • 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 Brodys 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 Godzilla may not be quite the bad guy as he's seen as.
    • Admiral Stenz aims to be this trope perpetually, but it's arguably Zig-Zagged by his narrow mindset affecting his decisions. He treats the Kaiju as a threat for a good reason, but he persistently displays enough respect for the Monarch experts he's provided to not just brush them off without first hearing what they have to say, and he can honestly be credited with considering the safety of civilians' lives first and foremost. He also seems to have serious second thoughts about his nuclear plan after he authorizes it, although he doesn't back down, and after this plan horribly backfires and leaves the military with their hands tied, he concedes to holding out hope that Serizawa is right that Godzilla will destroy the threat of the MUT Os for them.
  • Reclaimed by Nature: The ruins of Janjira fifteen years after the Distant Prologue's events. This is actually a relevant plot point, as not only is vegetation overwhelming the buildings and murky water flooding in, but the presence of wild dogs in the ruins makes Joe realize that the ruins are not really irradiated at all.
  • Reconstruction:
    • 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.
  • Recycled Title: It's a Continuity Reboot and the third film in the franchise with this title — the fourth film if we count The Return of Godzilla (released in Japan as Gojira).
  • 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 MUTOs 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.
    • In the Japanese dub, Shiro Sano (who appeared in some of the Millenium era Godzilla films) plays a military analyst.
  • Retraux: Scenes taking place in The '50s 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 '60s.
  • 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.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Because the MUTOs can give off EMP bursts, the Navy arranges for the nuke they plan to use against them to have an ancient analog detonator that runs off of clockwork.
  • 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 Ghidorah so that they can appear in sequels.
  • Scenery Gorn: Any area/city in the paths that Godzilla and the MUTOs have rampaged through.
  • Scientist vs. Soldier: Played Straight during Monarch and the US Navy's cooperation. Monarch didn't try killing the MUTO in its cocoon during the years they were studying it (allegedly with a reasonable explanation that they feared trying to kill it might release the absorbed radiation, although it's also implied they kept it alive so they could study it and out of admiration while they believed it was no threat), but they still play Admiring the Abomination straight when they cooperate with the military to see the MUTOs destroyed to save humanity. When it comes to Godzilla, Drs. Graham and Serizawa clearly admire him as a Physical God a great deal, whilst the US military operation led by Admiral Stenz has no such attitude towards Godzilla and prefers to attempt killing him with the MUTOs. True to its Green Aesop and how Godzilla fits into it as a force of nature, the film ultimately leans towards the Scientist side of the conflict, but despite the recklessness of the military's nuclear plan which could make the kaiju problem worse, the military are not portrayed in an unsympathetic light.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out:
    • 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 — 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.
    • In the novelization, the captain leading the team who head into the Nuclear Waste Depository is named Roger Pyle. The actor in the film does kinda look like Private Pyle...
    • 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.
    • MONARCH's (completely ineffective) plan for dispatching Hokmuto in the ruins of the Janjira reactor is called "Wildfire Protocol".
  • 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 a real life sign of an incoming tsunami.
    • Males offering food to females is a common aspect of animal (and human, for that matter) courtship rituals.
    • When Godzilla confronts the MUTO in Hawaii, it immediately flares out its wings and roars. This is exactly what certain birds and insects will do when confronted by a predator, to appear larger and intimidating.
  • 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 than how most people remember the eponymous 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 the 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.
  • Spreading Disaster Map Graphic: When Serizawa is discussing the nuclear plan with Stenz and Hampton, a screen uses colorful graphic to depict the considerably large-looking blast zone. It's used to further effect in the novelization where, after the nuke is stolen by the MUTOs], a map indicates to Monarch and the military the blast zone shifting as the nuke is being moved by Ford (how the nuke can be tracked is never explained, given how it had to be fitted with clockwork to stop the MUTOs' EMP deactivating the mechanism).
  • Standard Snippet: Requiem (György Ligeti) used in the trailers to indicate how this film was Darker and Edgier than other Godzilla movies.
  • Starring Special Effects: Subverted. The monsters look amazing, but aren't seen all that much or focused on. The story sticks with the poor humans who are just unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity of the Kaiju as they go about their business.
  • Steel Ear Drums: Implied. Though we don't see Ford's reaction, he doesn't seem to have had his ears injured by hearing Godzilla roaring at the top of his lungs from less than 1.5 miles away in Chinatown. Bear in mind, the production team deliberately aimed to design the roar of this film's Godzilla incarnation to be as realistic as possible for a creature of his size.
  • 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 MUTO Research Viral Marketing website uses a Geiger Counter Crackling as one of its background sounds.
  • Stunned Silence: At the airport in Honolulu as the MUTOs 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 knows 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 MUTO 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.
  • Swallowed Whole: The female MUTO does this to a group of soldiers on a pier, and would have done so to Ford as well had Godzilla not force-fed her his Atomic Breath.
  • 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." Subverted in that she tells him he'll only be away for a few days, then come back to his family. That's pretty much exactly what happens, though in a way none of them could have expected.
  • 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 lay dormant in a massive skeleton for millions of years.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Can't be a Godzilla movie without military stupidity.
    • Whilst the majority of the Honolulu beach-goers did the sensible thing and ran for high-rise buildings once they saw the tsunami warning signs, in the camera shot of the barking dog on the beach a few moments before the tsunami hits, several people are visible on the ground staring dumbly.
    • 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.
    • As Godzilla enters the San Francisco Bay, the Navy pelt him with gunfire on Admiral Stenz' ordersnote . Not only does this not work, but if anything it provokes Godzilla into acting in self-defense when his gills are wounded.
    • 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.
  • Truer to the Text: This film is much more faithful to the original Japanese films than the first American remake of the franchise, Godzilla (1998), in regards to both the character himself and the overall tone of the story. So much so, later Japanese designs borrowed heavily from this one.
  • 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 MUTOs, 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.
  • Two-Keyed Lock: The Navy's nuclear warhead is armed via this trope, relying on a clockwork arming mechanism to resist the MUTOs' EMP.
  • The Unmasqued World: Monarch's been upholding the Masquerade and keeping the existence of Godzilla and other Kaiju secret since at least 1954. Needless to say, three of them appearing all at once and destroying several major cities has broken it.
  • 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. Word of God says he's an anti-hero.
  • Waist-Deep Ocean: The 108-meter-tall Godzilla stands upright and towers over the Golden Gate Bridge — despite the bridge having a clearance of 67 meters and the water beneath the bridge having a depth of 115 meters.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye:
    • Sandra Brody and the technicians 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 MUTO 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 MUTO'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 MUTO crashes through the roof.
  • Wham Shot: As the soldiers hide from the female MUTO on the bridge, she steps over them, revealing her pregnant belly.
  • 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.
    • Elle's coworker Laura is entrusted with Sam when the latter is put on a bus evacuating the city, but she's completely absent from the bus in the next scene featuring Sam.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Played With by Drs. Serizawa and Graham, who are regarded by Admiral Stenz as naive because of their strong admiration of Godzilla, although they — particularly Serizawa — are implied to be more The Idealist. In the novelization, Monarch chief scientist Dr. Whelan receives an Adaptation Personality Change which portrays him as this.
  • 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 MUTOs. 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.
  • 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.

 
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