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You may be looking for Godzilla: King of the Monsters!, the 1956 Americanized adaptation of Godzilla.

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"Our world is changing. The mass extinction we feared has already begun, and we are the cause. We are the infection. But like all living organisms, the earth unleashed a fever to fight this infection: its original and rightful rulers, the Titans. For thousands of years, these creatures have remained in hiding around the world. And unless all the Titans are found, our planet will perish, and so will we. They are the only guarantee that life will carry on."
Dr. Emma Russell
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Godzilla: King of the Monsters is a Kaiju Action Adventure film by Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. It is the sequel to Godzilla (2014) and Kong: Skull Island and is the third film in the MonsterVerse. Written and directed by Michael Dougherty (Trick 'r Treat, Krampus), it is the first American Godzilla film to feature monsters from the original Japanese Toho films besides Godzilla himself (the monsters in question being Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah), and was released on May 31, 2019.

It stars Kyle Chandler as Dr. Mark Russell, Vera Farmiga as Dr. Emma Russell, Millie Bobby Brown as Madison Russell, Bradley Whitford as Dr. Stanton, Sally Hawkins as Dr. Vivienne Graham, Charles Dance as Alan Jonah, Thomas Middleditch as Sam Coleman, Aisha Hinds, O'Shea Jackson Jr. as Barnes, with David Strathairn as Admiral William Stenz, Ken Watanabe as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, and Zhang Ziyi as Dr. Chen.

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Five years after the San Francisco battle, Monarch is put on trial after the damages caused by Godzilla's battle with the MUTOs, who hasn't appeared since. Meanwhile Emma Russell, haunted by the loss of her son Andrew, develops a machine to communicate with the Titans. However, she is kidnapped along with her daughter, Madison, by eco-terrorist Alan Jonah and takes them to the Monarch base in Antarctica.

Meanwhile, Godzilla immediately senses something is wrong, and goes to Antarctica himself, where he faces his newly awakened nemesis, King Ghidorah.

A promotional timeline has been released for the film, detailing the history of Monarch.

Previews: Trailer 1, Trailer 2, Final Trailer.

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Spoilers for Godzilla (2014) will be unmarked


Godzilla: King of the Monsters contains examples of these tropes:

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    A-F 
  • Action Girl: Madison Russell among the humans due to receiving survival training from her mother, and Mothra among the kaiju.
  • Actionized Sequel: The previous movie had three kaiju who only truly fought onscreen towards the end (with one scuffle only briefly shown earlier). This movie ups the ante considerably, not only offering multiple Titan battles between the four main kaiju (three rounds of Godzilla vs. Ghidorah including the climactic battle, Ghidorah vs. Rodan and Mothra vs. Rodan at various stages) but having them start considerably earlier in the film's running time.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • After King Ghidorah dominates the other Titans, Charles Dance quotes, "Long live the King."
  • Adaptational Badass: All the leads get this treatment, harkening back to the Showa Era depictions.
    • Rodan is capable of lasting two minutes alone with Ghidorah, and has a long drag out fight with Mothra, making him considerably stronger than his Heisei and Millennium incarnations (who were largely manhandled by their opponents in short order) and the strongest incarnation since the Showa Era.
    • Mothra is also more in line with her Showa counterpart where she rivaled Godzilla in power, rather than later versions who often needed help to do the same. She's even referred to as the "Queen of the Monsters." Notably, advertising refers to her as an 'Alpha', a term also used to describe Ghidorah and Godzilla. She's capable of defeating Rodan one on one, finishing the fight by impaling him with her stinger.
    • King Ghidorah was a badass already, but this version is capable of generating a cataclysmic storm simply by being awake and is the largest Ghidorah in live action film. He has an incredible Healing Factor to the point it takes being completely atomized to kill him, and even that may not have been enough if the post-credits scene is any indication. Also, whereas every Ghidorah since the original except the Rebirth incarnation has been The Dragon to someone else, this Ghidorah is the one giving the orders to other monsters.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: The fishermen who shows Ghidorah's severed head to Jonah in The Stinger makes one in the novelization.
  • Adaptational Expansion: The accompanying novelization goes into greater detail about the surrounding events and the character/backstory of the Titans (including the background ones), includes references to both the Godzilla: Awakening and Godzilla: Aftershock comics, begins with a prologue from Godzilla's point of view, has a segment on Skull Island from Kong's point of view during the story, and appearances from Titans that were only briefly mentioned by name in the film. It also expands on the Rodan vs Mothra fight and shows more of it.
  • Adaptational Explanation: The novelization provides quite a bit:
    • The film doesn't really explains how the rumors that more Titans besides Godzilla and the dead MUTOs are being secretly housed by Monarch sprung up, but the novelization states investigative reporters and intel agencies are responsible.
    • In the novelization, Jonah obtains up-to-date information on the locations of the other Monarch outposts from Outpost 61's computer before headed to Outpost 32.
    • It's explained in the novelization that Godzilla chooses to focus on threatening Castle Bravo when he's intimidated by sensing the ORCA's signal in Antarctica because he sensed Castle Bravo drawing their maser cannons on him.
    • In the film, the soldiers in Antarctica stopping and firing on Ghidorah seems like a real case of Too Dumb to Live. But in the novelization, it's made clear it's actually a Heroic Sacrifice where the soldiers are trying to keep Ghidorah's attention on them so that the Monarch brass, Mark and the rest of the G-Team in the Osprey have a chance of escaping.
    • Depending on how long Mark was out cold after Antarctica (implied by the conversation on the Argo's bridge to be not that long), Emma and Jonah seem to proceed to awakening Rodan next surprisingly quickly after they've only just awakened Ghidorah, against their intent to release the Titans somewhat gradually. The novelization indicates Emma is speeding up her plans because after Ghidorah's escape in Antarctica, the government will quickly mobilize to take control from Monarch and enact their kill-all-Titans plan.
    • In the film, it seems pretty implausible after the audience sees the devastation Rodan's sonic winds cause to Isla de Mara that once Rodan has passed, the G-Team who were on the island have a (semi-)functional Osprey with which to leave the island. The novelization describes how the Osprey survived the winds.
    • Madison staying put at Fenway Park after activating the ORCA despite knowing Ghidorah will be coming for the ORCA seems in the film like a real Idiot Ball. The novelization explains Madison's reasoning for not trying to leave the stadium.
    • For those viewers to whom it wasn't obvious when watching the film, the novelization explicitly spells out that the reason Emma pulls her Heroic Sacrifice instead of just leaving the ORCA where it is and gets on the Osprey (something HISHE poked fun at) is because she rightfully realizes that if someone doesn't draw out Ghidorah's pursuit for as long as possible while the Osprey carrying Madison and the others is taking off, then Ghidorah will chase the Osprey down effortlessly and kill everyone on it.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: The novelization describes Ghidorah's decapitated head at the end as being covered with barnacles, a detail which seems to be absent in the film. Wasn't the Oxygen Destroyer supposed to wipe out all life in the affected area of the sea?
  • Adaptational Intelligence: While King Ghidorah has never been exactly stupid, previous versions' plans amounted to 'kill everything by spamming it with gravity beams' (with the Rebirth version adding a mass kidnapping to that plan) or are the minion of alien invaders. This version is the mastermind leading the invasion, has a more complex plan (use Earth's Kaiju to terraform the planet in his own image), and shows more complex strategic thinking in combat than his previous counterparts (such as keeping Rodan close so he has back up if he needs it or absorbing the entirety of Boston's power supply to power himself up to get the upperhand on Godzilla).
  • Adaptational Mundanity:
    • The Shobihin are re-adapted into Drs. Ilene and Ling Chen respectively. Instead of explicitly being supernatural fairies, the Chens are notably human twin sisters who have an apparently-hereditary Psychic Link to Mothra, and a preternatural family history of producing identical twin sisters in every generation.
    • The Eco-Terrorists also appear to do this for the Xiliens and other such Human Aliens from the old Toho movies, serving the same role of attempting to control the Titans' actions for their own ends by using a bioacoustics device. However, true to the MonsterVerse's aesop change (adapting the Kaiju from an allegory for nuclear weapons as they were in the old movies, to an allegory for forces of nature in this film) and perhaps also as a Take That! at earlier King Ghidorah incarnations' Villain Decay, the Eco-Terrorists are ultimately a Big Bad Wannabe at most who suffer Evil Is Not a Toy in regards to the Titans (particularly Ghidorah).
    • Downplayed with Mothra, who is still very much a powerful kaiju, but some of her seemingly-supernatural abilities here get Doing In the Wizard explanation which changes her status as a supernatural goddess to a case of Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane. Her magical energy rays are re-interpreted as bioluminescence, her connection with Godzilla is explained as a "symbiotic relationship", and the iconic Shobijin are instead the Chens, who are presented as humans with an uncanny family history of identical twin girls.
  • Admiring the Abomination: The Titans generally evoke this reaction in humans, and the trope has a bigger influence on the human characters' actions and the story than in the 2014 film. Monarch operatives notably go out of their way (against their own protocols) to avoid making termination attempts against the captive Titans. Seemingly averted with King Ghidorah, who seemingly induces nothing but fear and later hatred in the humans. During the senate hearing scene, Senator Williams questions Serizawa's apparent admiration for the Titans, and he replies "I admire all forms of life."
  • Adult Fear: Fantastic elements aside, losing track of your only child in a city currently being smashed to pieces, with virtually everything exploding around you, then finding her unmoving and not breathing in the wreckage of your old home - and this after losing your son in a similar way. Luckily, she's alright.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: The MONARCH submarine finds itself in one of these beneath the ocean in the Hollow Earth, with frescos and carvings depicting its populace worshiping Titans like Godzilla and having architectural styles older than most of the other civilizations that have similar architecture. This is also where Godzilla has made his nest.
  • Advanced Ancient Humans: The Advanced Ancient Acropolis suggests the civilization who built it was this, and Mike Dougherty confirmed it on his Instagram account. The Titans were once worshiped by a widespread semi-subterranian civilization that existed roughly 20 000 years ago and possessed technology comparable to the Romans; implied to have been annihilated when the Titans lashed out against tribes who sought to use them for war. It's also indicated this civilization is the precursor of all other civilizations and cultures due to containing elements of other prehistoric cultures — Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Mayan, etc. While this is only briefly discussed in the film, the novelization and redacted text in the end credits go into more detail about it.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The USS Argo, a massive delta-wing aircraft which serves as a mobile base of operations and a helipad for smaller, VTOL aircraft.
  • Alien Blood: Ghidorah's blood is a deep purplish-black, while Rodan's has the appearance of molten lava.
  • Alien Invasion: It turns out that King Ghidorah is an alien who arrived on Earth and is attempting to perform Hostile Terraforming to convert it to his liking.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: Admit it, you wouldn't expect that frickin' Boston, of all places, would be the final battleground of the four legendary Japanese kaijus, would you?
  • All Flyers Are Birds: Rodan has many features more akin to birds of prey than to pterosaurs (at one point in the concept art he was even supposed to have feathers note ).
  • All Myths Are True: All but stated, and it's explored a lot more in the novelization. It's also implied that Ghidorah in particular and possibly other Titans are cases this trope overlapping with One Myth to Explain Them All. Several of the Titans are named after, or might actually be the basis of, legendary deities. Of particular note are Leviathan, an unseen Titan which emerges from the Loch Ness, the Mokele-Mbembe (described in the novelization as having a mammoth-like trunk, glowing horn, and very large tail), and elephant-like Behemoth (which may or may not be the actual Behemoth). In the tie-in comic prequel Godzilla: Aftershock, the dead member of Godzilla's species in the previous film was known as Dagon by ancient Phoenicians (although the interpretation of Dagon as a sea god is questioned nowadays). It's also hinted in the novelization that the Hollow Earth influenced the lore of the Popul Vuh and Olympus in Greek myth. Chen says this almost word-for-word after seeing the ancient, underwater reliefs depicting Godzilla, Ghidorah, and other kaiju.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us:
    • Alan Jonah stages an assault on the Monarch outpost 61 that contains Mothra. He succeeds in killing every outpost guard and conquers the base, before taking Madison and Emma hostage.
    • King Ghidorah takes over Washington D.C. (the capital of United States) and reforms the area as his own base of operations. His Titan army is mentioned as attacking capitals all over the world as well.
  • Alpha and Beta Wolves: Mark Russell perpetuates the outdated theory that wolf packs in the wild are dominated by an Alpha, who earns the position through fighting and physical intimidation. As it turns out, Titans follow that same dynamic. Godzilla is the Titan pack's rightful Alpha (with Mothra as another Alpha in a symbiotic relationship with him). Ghidorah is a rival Alpha, who does command the other Titans' loyalty after Godzilla is apparently killed.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: "Pray" by the Japanese rock band [ALEXANDROS] will serve as the main theme of the movie in Japan.
  • Always Identical Twins: Dr. Ilene Chen and her twin sister Ling are descendants of a lineage of twin priestesses who worshipped Mothra as a goddess and may have possessed telepathic powers, if the redacted text from the credits is any indication.
  • Anachronism Stew: It may be minor, but the Katakana characters written on the wall of the ancient megalithic city looks out of place. The said writing did not come to the world until 794 - 1185 A.D. nor did the Japanese people in ancient history ever travel to the Atlantic Ocean and build a city there. Then again, an advanced civilization "much older" than Egypt on the other side of the world in and of itself is already an extreme example of deliberate anachronism, so the writing on the walls of the city are the least of its issues.
  • Ancient Evil: King Ghidorah. As hinted at in Kong: Skull Island, he's been around a long time - enough that his existence is noted in the mythologies of all the world's oldest civilizations, but in hushed terms, as if they were actively trying to forget him. He's also genuinely evil and malevolent.
  • Antagonist Title: Part way through the film, Ghidorah usurps Godzilla's throne, and thus the title also refers to him.
  • Anyone Can Die: In order to show how high the stakes have been considerably ramped up by the presence of Ghidorah, Dr. Graham is eaten alive by Ghidorah and later both Dr. Serizawa and Mothra sacrifices themselves to save Godzilla. This also applies to Godzilla himself, as Serizawa out and out states that Godzilla did indeed die, but the movie also shows that the big guy has managed to resurrect due to the radiation in his temple, which he apparently made it to in enough time for a resucitation.
  • Apocalypse How:
    • Upon taking over control of the Earth's Titans, King Ghidorah (who is described as a "living extinction event") actively attempts to inflict a Class 4-6 via a Natural Disaster Cascade, which Dr. Stanton speculates might be a form of Hostile Terraforming on the three-headed alien monster's part. In the novelization, the characters strongly suggest that it would actually be at least a Class 5: Emma observes that Ghidorah is forcing the Titans to alter global conditions too rapidly and drastically for anything more advanced than bacteria to have any chance at adapting, and Serizawa speculates that once Ghidorah has finished destroying the Earth's surface, he'll turn his attention to doing the same to the lifeforms inhabiting the Hollow Earth and that perhaps even the other Titans will eventually die.
    • Although the above Apocalypse How is ultimately derailed, it does cause multiple Class 0's around the world (likely reaching Class 1). Cities around the world such as Washington D.C. and Boston are damaged or completely destroyed, the death toll is likely at least in the millions, and the Titans remain permanently awakened but are coexisting with humans in the Dawn of an Era.
  • Arch-Enemy: Godzilla and Ghidorah, as ever. The film explains that this is because Godzilla is the rightful Alpha of the Titans, with Ghidorah being an alien outside their natural order challenging him for the role. This shows heavily in their body language and interactions: the two loathe one another and every scene the two are in together is spent trying to murder each other as brutally as they possibly can.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When things escalate out of control after Ghidorah wakens the other Titans, Emma tries to claim to Madison she can fix this. In response, Madison queries that she thought she was doing it all for Andrew's memory—would he have wanted any of this? It renders Emma totally silent as her daughter storms off.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: When Emma calls up Monarch to explain why she's doing what she's doing, she and Mark exchange two armor-piercing responses with each-other:
    Emma: And there's some things that you [Mark] can't run from!
    Mark: This won't bring him [Andrew] back.
  • Art Evolution: Godzilla's dorsal fins have been slightly redesigned to resemble the classic maple leaf shape from previous incarnations. His tail tip also shortened, and his feet now have larger claws.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • The concept of "Alpha of the Titans" relies on the theory of "Alphas" in wolf packs, with the Monarch scientists explicitly referencing said theory, despite it being debunked about 20 years before the film's release (by the same scientist that originally proposed it, no less!). That said, the idea could still work in terms of the Titans, since the old idea of "Alphas" can form amongst unrelated individuals forced into a pack, which is basically what is happening here (although a scientist referencing this idea straight still falls under artistic license).
    • Social animals rarely, if ever, form packs with members of other species (in the case of wolves, packs are pretty much exclusively members of the same family), so the idea that all the wildly different Kaiju are forming a pack is a pretty big stretch. It's implied Ghidorah has some unique ability to make the Kaiju obey him, but the human characters are still using faulty logic when they unironically use the "pack" analogy.
    • The idea that radiation can generate new growth in barren landscapes or lead to a resurgence in the populations of endangered species. While it is true that radiation can spur the evolutionary process by increasing DNA mutation rates, this is only feasible at fairly low rates of continuous exposure (such as a small percentage increase in UV rays due to ozone depletion). The kind of radiation that Godzilla and the other Titans pump out would only serve to give most ecosystems harmful acute radiation exposure. (That said, given that biological processes that run on radiation is dubious at best, it makes more sense to Hand Wave it as the Titans absorbing "bad" radiation, processing it in their systems and excreting it as "helpful" waste radiation). It's also specifically stated that their radiation helps the growth of prehistoric vegetation, so maybe these happen to be flora species that were adapted to the activities and radiation of the Titans.
    • Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and the other Titans are classified under the genus "Titanus". In reality, the genus is reserved for a group of very closely related species (think lions, tigers and leopards), so seeing arthropods, reptiles, mammals and cephalopods all lumped together into such a specific group makes no sense. Even stranger is King Ghidorah is also classified under Titanus, despite being an alien from another planet with completely different biology. You could possibly choose to interpret it as a codename and not as a strict scientific name to make sense of it.
      • Alternately, since all the Titans are functionally a Single Specimen Species, one could postulate "Titanus" is a Phylum, and Godzilla's "proper" scientific name is "Titanus gojira gojira gojira gojira gojira," being the single extant specimen of his Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species. This still requires some extreme massaging of scientific nomenclature to work.
    • Mothra is able to grow up and lay an egg within the span of two days. While one could argue she had grown within the egg due to how long she was in it, this doesn't excuse how long it took her to create an egg within a day. Potentially justified by Mothra being implied to be an actual supernatural goddess rather than a giant animal.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Although the film keeps very good continuity in general during the climactic battle in Boston, it did take a few liberties for the sake of spectacle:
    • As shown in his grand entrance and in several aerial and long-distance shots, Godzilla makes landfall from the Charles River. But one in-between shot shows him stepping out of the Boston Bay at the Financial District, several miles East, with the Monarch fleet in tow. (There's also the issue of Godzilla having to take a circuitous route to navigate the Charles, which is too shallow to accommodate a creature of his girth, instead of just stomping into town directly from the ocean.)
    • At one point, Maddie runs from Fenway all the way to the northeast end of the Boston Common in less time than it would take a professional marathoner.
    • Additionally, the fictional Isla de Mara, geographically placed at the border between Texas and Tamaulipas, is too far North to exhibit the kind of tightly-packed, colonial Spanish architecture shown in the film. This type of urban layout and construction is more appropriate to colonial towns in Central and Southern Mexico. (To wit, street-level scenes were in fact shot in the preserved historical district of Santo Domingo in Mexico City.)
    • The oil derrick-covered dusty plains that Scylla emerges from are stated as being in Sedona, Arizona, despite, more closely resembling west Texas than the oil-free red rock mountains actually found there.
    • The location of Skull Island shown on MONARCH's big map (somewhere far south and somewhat east of Hawaii) makes absolutely no sense considering a dogfight happened there between an American and a Japanese pilot in 1944.
  • As You Know: Invoked by Sam when he starts explaining to Mark what the ORCA is. Mark immediately lampshades it.
    Mark: I know what it does, I helped build the prototype!
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: A big part of the rivalry between Godzilla and Ghidorah: the other Titans bow down to whoever is the strongest at the time, and will obey the Alpha's will regardless of how benign (Godzilla) or destructive (Ghidorah) it is. Ghidorah claims the title by beating Rodan into submission (with an unwitting assist from the military, who accidentally take out Godzilla with the Oxygen Destroyer missile) while Godzilla later gets it back by incinerating his three-headed rival.
  • The Atoner: Honestly, this should be the Russells' family motto...
  • Authority in Name Only: Notably subverted: while Godzilla has always been called King of the Monsters, it's normally only a symbolic title. In this movie, he's the Alpha of the Titans and thus literally their King. Mothra's title of Queen of the Monsters likewise signifies her status as his symbiotic counterpart and another Alpha. Likewise, King Ghidorah's title signifies he's also an Alpha Titan and becomes the King of the Monsters after defeating Godzilla.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: The final scene is of the newly awakened Titans, Rodan included, surrounding Godzilla and bowing before him, as he roars triumphantly into the sky.
  • Ax-Crazy: Ghidorah, mixed with a good dose of Sadist. He tries to destroy the retreating Argo with an entire city's population on board unprovoked, is happy to cause humanity's extinction with the other Titans and later would have blasted the tiny, defenseless Madison to ashes with all three of his gravity beams despite her not having the Orca any more. The novelization explicitly states that unlike any other animal Mark has encountered, Ghidorah lives for killing, and at another point speculates on Ghidorah's nature thusly:
    Maybe he was a god - but there was nothing that said a god had to be sane.
  • Badass in Charge: As the Alpha Titan, Godzilla is this pretty much by default as the most powerful kaiju in the movie - as is King Ghidorah when he usurps the title. On the human side of things, Colonel Foster has no hesistation personally leading her men into battle during the Antarctic battle, and also pilots the Argo well enough to (just) stay ahead of Rodan while leading him to Monster Zero.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: During the Final Battle, most of the city's ruins are gradually and increasingly set alight by the battling Titans' fallout, creating together with the storm-blackened sky a very effective, hellish-apocalyptic landscape for Godzilla and Ghidorah's final showdown for the fate of the world.
  • Battle in the Rain: Every battle with King Ghidorah is this. Though this is justified as he can manipulate storms.
  • Bald Women: One of Jonah's most visible goons is a shaven-headed woman. On the heroic side of things, Colonel Foster is also this.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Mark spends most of the early part of the film repeatedly advocating that Godzilla be killed due to his continuing rage over his son's death. Thanks to the military and the Oxygen Destroyer he (seemingly) gets his wish - and soon discovers that life without Godzilla, with Ghidorah taking his place as the Titans' Alpha and their ensuing attempted annihilation of human life, is a far, far worse alternative. Serizawa even lampshades it for him.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Guilty over countless deaths, second-guessed and belittled by a second-in-command who wants to go further than simply restoring balance to the Earth, and called a monster by her own daughter, Dr. Russell doesn't have a swell time for much of the movie. When Maddie escapes the bunker, she catches a glimpse of her mother sitting by herself and crying in an empty cafeteria.
  • Berserk Button: Ghidorah's regarding the ORCA signal as this becomes a major plot point by the end; every time it's used on him, Ghidorah hears it as the cry of another Alpha and immediately goes ballistic, intent on wiping out the threat to his control of the other Titans. It's not only used to lure him to Boston and break his hold over the other Titans, but Emma uses it at the end to distract him when he's moments away from killing Godzilla, giving him time to recover and leading to Ghidorah's demise.
  • Big Bad: While he initially shares the role, upon his introduction King Ghidorah immediately proceeds to outclass Jonah and Emmah in every regard, taking control of the other Kaiju and trying to terraform Earth. Emma quickly has a Heel–Face Turn, while Jonah is content to sit back and let him wipe out humanity.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: A pair of them (see Big Bad Ensemble). Alan Jonah is the Big Bad of the human antagonists, with Emma Russel as his reluctant Evil Genius. For the bulk of the film, Ghidorah is the Big Bad on the monster side of things (and the film's overall Big Bad) with Rodan as The Dragon.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The film initially has Alan Jonah and Emma Russel who free King Ghidorah to serve as their agent in bringing balance back to the world's ecosystem. But then Ghidorah turns out to have his own plans, and wakes all the Titans at once to wipe out humanity - by the end of the film he's the only active threat (aside from Rodan who serves as his The Dragon), with Emma having a Heel Realization and Jonah content to passively let Ghidorah annihilate everything without doing anything by himself.
  • Big Damn Heroes: There are multiple instances in the movie where someone is in danger, whether that be the humans or even Godzilla himself from Ghidorah, only for the latter to have his plans foiled from someone else's interventions.
  • Big Red Button: Outpost 61 which contains Mothra at the start of the film has one for use in an attempt to kill her in an emergency. Dr. Mancini almost uses it when she gets provoked into attacking, but Emma narrowly stops him pressing it so she can try calming Mothra with the ORCA. The novelization explains that most if not all Monarch containment sites have a "kill switch" for use in the event the contained Titans attempt to breach containment, but there's no guarantee that the Titan-killing mechanisms at any of these outposts will do anything more than piss the Titans off.
  • Bioluminescence Is Cool: Godzilla's glowing fins and Mothra's glowing wings are used in multiple scenes to demonstrate their majesty and power.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The films ends with Ghidorah dead, Godzilla as Alpha once more and the other Titans submitting to him, helping the Earth rebuild its ecosystems. However, both Serizawa and Mothra sacrificed themselves to save Godzilla, many people died during Ghidorah's rampages, numerous cities were devastated by monster attacks/Ghidorah's natural disasters, and the Russell family is now further shattered by Emma's death. Worse still, Jonah is still at large and has claimed one of Ghidorah's severed heads for use later.
  • Body Horror: Ghidorah regenerating his severed head is not a pretty sight. The stump of the neck basically sprouts a cancerous-looking mass at its end, and while the other two heads tear off the membranous sac enclosing it the first organ to develop in the growing mass is its tongue. Then jaws form around it, followed by a skull, and finally fleshy tendrils wrap all around it to fully reconstruct the head. Oh, and the head starts regenerating upside-down before snapping around into place.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: Jonah's organization, overlapping with Western Terrorists. They're ultra-radical eco-terrorists who want to commit acts of mass genocide and destruction in order to alleviate the strain that humanity is putting on the environment; releasing the Titans is their plan to achieve this end.
  • Book-Ends:
    • The film begins with a flashback to 2014 with the Russells standing in the ruins of San Francisco as Mark screams out the name of one of his children that he's trying to find among the chaos. Close to the end he finds himself in a similar situation, screaming for Madison as Ghidorah and Godzilla battle in the background.
    • During Ghidorah and Godzilla's first battle, Maddie is in a helicopter with her mother, flying away from her father who is on the ground. In their last battle, she is yet again on a chopper, this time flying with her father and watching her mother.
    • The ending credits for the movie mimic the the opening credits for the previous movie, including the white-out of various words that obscure the credits and scientific journal articles with photographs and headlines about the Kaiju.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Serizawa and Emma butting heads over the latter's radical scheme proves to be this over the course of the film. Emma royally screws up by freeing a rival Alpha Titan she didn't fully understand (a danger Serizawa warned her of), who subsequently turns out to be a hostile Alien Invader who does the opposite of restoring balance to the planet, and of course she wasn't expecting things to go out of her control like Serizawa forewarned. Serizawa continues advocating non-interference in the face of Emma's plot, despite the potential risks involved if the government who clearly don't feel the same way succeed in shutting down Monarch to try euthanizing the Titans (see Broken Aesop) — and ultimately, the military go ahead with utilizing the Oxygen Destroyer on Godzilla, and Serizawa and his colleagues are forced to personally intervene to heal Godzilla so he can stop Ghidorah.
    Serizawa: This is a dangerous path! You are meddling with forces beyond our comprehension, gambling with the lives of billions!
    Emma: And what are you gambling with, Serizawa? Monarch is broken. It's on the verge of being shut down by a government who's only objective is to eradicate the creatures; and if that happens, what will our chances be?!
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Played With when Ghidorah takes over Godzilla's position as Alpha Titan and directs the other Titans to aid him in destroying the very planet they're meant to protect.
  • Broken Aesop: The intended message is that humans are not meant to tamper with nature (namely the Titans) for good or for ill intentions, as doing so always leads to calamitous consequences. However, at the end of the film, the awakened Titans' presence on the planet is healing dying ecosystems, causing endangered species to bounce back and providing humanity with new resources — and the Titans are awake because Ghidorah, a hostile alien who explicitly exists outside of nature as terrestrial lifeforms know it, forcefully woke all the Titans up at once whereas before their awakenings were slow and gradual. Ghidorah in turn was awakened by a Well-Intentioned Eco-Terrorist who wanted the Titans awakened precisely to achieve the end results that occur at the film's end. This is somewhat downplayed, in that while the ending implies the future is now brighter for humans and the planet alike after the Titans' awakening, in the present, humanity specifically have suffered massive devastation and loss of life due to Ghidorah's actions.
    • What really breaks the aesop is that at the film's start, Monarch is inching towards being taken over by the government and military, who either don't see or don't care for the Titans' ecological value, and only want the monsters all killed off while they're sleeping. And based on the military's rude response to the Mexico crisis which made it clear how little faith they had in Monarch's intervention, the takeover of Monarch would've probably become a certainty after Rodan's awakening if not for Ghidorah's rampage. It's unknown how the military would've achieved their aim of exterminating the Titans, but if they'd succeeded, it would've likely had devastating future ecological consequences, on top of flouting Genocide Dilemma and ridding the world of numerous admittedly majestic creatures forever. And if the military's extermination attempts failed or didn't get every waking Titan (like how Monarch's attempt to kill the male MUTO in its cocoon in the first film spectacularly failed), it could very well lead to the Titans retaliating against humanity, and most of them retaining negative or at least neutral relations with the surviving humans afterward (this last point is especially relevant if you're among the viewers who believe Godzilla is keeping Titans away from human cities at the end precisely because of Serizawa's sacrifice). So in summary, the Well-Intentioned Extremist meddling with nature set off a chain of events that brought about the best possible future for everyone overall, after nearly causing The End of the World as We Know It (it's this messy).
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Played With. It's implied the military designed the Oxygen Destroyer specifically so they'd have a method of killing any Titans. Them firing it at Godzilla and Ghidorah in an attempt to kill the latter and Rodan manages to cripple Godzilla (though it doesn't kill him), but Ghidorah is completely unaffected due to his literal Bizarre Alien Biology, and Ghidorah immediately proves that without a benevolent Alpha Titan like Godzilla to keep him in check, there's absolutely nothing defending humanity and the world from the likes of Ghidorah inflicting an extinction event (especially bad in Ghidorah's case, since he's distinctly the worst of the worst among malevolent Titans and he's an invasive alien who's liable to wipe out all non-Titan multicellular life). As for Godzilla, the human race are lucky once he's healed that he seems to be letting the military's act with the Oxygen Destroyer go for the time being, and that Mothra has no interest in vengeance.
  • Call-Back: The scene where Ghidorah awakens in Antarctica is filmed very similarly to the male MUTO's awakening in Janjira in the previous film. Both feature a wide shot of fleeing people in the foreground while the monster climbs out of its prison in the background, and both scenes end with a primary human character fading into unconsciousness as the monster takes flight.
    • During the senate hearing, Dr. Graham references the fable of "The Lion and the Mouse" as an example of man living in peace with the Titans. In Kong: Skull Island, the fable is also mentioned, by Cole who was told the story wrong and thought the mouse kills the lion with the thorn.
    • Just before the final battle:
      Dr Stanton: I love it. A little Serizawa "let them fight" action. I used to love it when he said that.
    • Joe Brody's studies in bio-acoustics from the first film get taken to the logical next level in this film with Dr. Emma Russel creating the Orca, which communicates with the Titans by mimicking their communication frequencies. Predictably,it works a little too well for humanity's comfort.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Madison does this with Emma, after the latter's plan goes horribly wrong but she STILL thinks it will all work out. Combined with an Armor-Piercing Question, this is what finally gets Emma to realize just how far she's fallen
  • Came from the Sky: It's eventually revealed that King Ghidorah is an alien, with myths stating that he 'fell from the stars.'
  • The Cameo: Word of God confirms that what looks in the finished film like normal-sized birds flying amid the freshly-blasted ruins of Boston at the film's end are actually the Leafwings from Kong: Skull Island. Kong also makes a cameo in video footage, as do the MUTOs.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Downplayed, but according to a dossier on the Monarch Sciences website, and posters seen in Ford Brody's childhood bedroom in the last movie, monster movies are a real film genre in this universe that predates public knowledge of kaiju. Of course Kong and Godzilla, undisputed two of the most influential characters of the genre in real life, actually exist in this universe, so it really makes you wonder what the genre is like in this universe if many of the most iconic monster movies don't exist.
  • Central Theme:
    • Bearing grudges can carry long-term effects. Mark Russell has a very personal vendetta against Godzilla after his son's death in the San Francisco battle, and his inability to see the Titans as anything other than bringers of death has driven Emma away by the start of the film. Mark eventually lets it go upon realizing Godzilla is humanity's only hope of standing a chance against King Ghidorah. Serizawa says it best when they go to locate Godzilla:
      Serizawa: Sometimes, in order to heal our wounds, we must make peace with the demons who created them.
    • An old theme makes its return: Tragedy bears consequences, and consequences bear tragedy. Emma Russel is stricken with grief with the death of Andrew that she makes a deal with Alan Jonah to wake every dormant Titan on Earth. The consequence? A murderous three-headed monster plans to terraform the Earth to his liking, and does not give a damn if humans die.
  • Character as Himself: The credits listed Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Rodan, and Mothra as "him/herself".
  • Chekhov's Gun: Godzilla rips off one of Ghidorah's heads during their fight in Mexico, The Stinger reveals that the head was fished out of the water and purchased by Jonah.
  • The Chosen One: Godzilla. The film makes clear that he's the rightful Alpha of Earth's Titans, and that Ghidorah only challenges that Alpha status because (as an alien) he stands totally separate from the natural order Godzilla represents.
  • Citywide Evacuation:
    • More of an Islandwide Evacuation, but Monarch attempt this at Isla de Mara when they realize Emma is going to likely awaken the local Titan. The evacuation is only completed after Rodan breaks free and razes the island with many people still there.
    • After things go From Bad to Worse, with the whole world turned into a Death World as Ghidorah begins wreaking his Apocalypse How, the US President imposes martial law and the US Army direct a mass exodus of everyone in Boston. Which means the city is fortunately empty except for the main cast once the Final Battle razes it to the ground.
  • Close on Title: The title appears right before its Creative Closing Credits.
  • The Cloud Cuckoolander Was Right: Despite the rather sketchy nature of Dr. Serizawa's claims, it turns out that he was actually right that awakening the Titans would be good for the world; the epilogue credits depicts a number of news articles explaining how the radioactive emanations of the Titans has had massive ecological restorative effects on the world - ranging from deforested and depopulated areas bouncing back with endangered species, the Saharan desert turning into a lush jungle, and extremely durable and plentiful 'superfoods' appearing in areas where monsters passed through.
  • Color-Coded Elements: The headliner kaiju form a Four-Element Ensemble explained here, and each is associated with a specific color in the movie's pallet (as well as on some of the posters): Godzilla is blue/water, Ghidorah is gold/air, Rodan is orange/fire, and Mothra is teal/earth.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: All four monsters appear to be associated with certain colors.
    • Godzilla is associated with blue. Thanks in large part of living in the ocean and his atomic breath being blue.
    • Rodan is associated with red. Being a creature of fire and was living in a volcano.
    • Mothra’s varies a bit, but the bioluminescent green seems to define her the most. This color showcases how much of a spectacle she is and gives a very warm presence.
    • King Ghidorah’s main color is golden yellow. But he is also fittingly associated with the darkness/black to suit his status as the dreaded Big Bad.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The Titans display this variously: Godzilla jumps Ghidorah while he's distracted going for the Argo and drags him into an underwater fight the larger Titan (a massive flyer) has serious trouble with. Mothra attacks Ghidorah from behind while he's distracted by Godzilla when she's making her big entrance - and Rodan later attacks her this way. And however powerful he may be, Ghidorah has no trouble calling in other Titans for a numbers advantage when he's in trouble. Ghidorah's middle head shows shades of this, using a power generator as an Improvised Weapon to charge up a powerful lightning attack, and it's also implied this trope might be why San didn't attack Godzilla with the other heads in Antarctica.
  • Composite Character:
    • While Scylla has arachnid like legs resembling Kumonga, her body and head resemble Ebirah — though it's actually a nautilus-like shell with crab-legs.
    • Both Rodan and Methuselah contain traits of the monster Obsidius, a living bipedal volcano, from the game Godzilla Unleashed: Rodan has the "internal system is molten magma with glowing fissures on his body" aspect, while Methuselah has the "living moving mountain" aspect.
    • King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan are all composites of various aspects of their versions throughout the franchise, explained in detail in their character pages.
  • Contempt Crossfire: Emma gets it from both sides when she's still hesitating to activate the ORCA, Maddie trying to get her to not kill billions of humans and Alan ripping into her for letting Maddie think it would be a painless process resulting in human-Titan harmony. Both Sides Have a Point.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The first shot of the film is Ford Brody and the other Special Forces descending on San Francisco during the events of Godzilla (2014).
    • Monarch, and the world at large, is very aware of the possibility of Kaijus coming together for more... intimate purposes and this is discussed briefly several times throughout the movie.
    • In Kong: Skull Island, Randa complains that Monarch is ignored and riduculed like "those people trying to prove aliens exist". And they do, in the form of three-headed golden dragons.
    • The female MUTO's decapitated head is seen on display at the Monarch's oceanic base. In the ending, after Godzilla dethroned King Ghidorah as King of the Monsters, one of the Titans that are seen bowing to him is a MUTO.
    • Houston Brooks' "Hollow Earth" theory is proven true when the Monarch submarine finds an undersea trench that leads deep into the planet which is the route Godzilla used to travel across the globe and avoid human detection.
    • Godzilla once more finishes off his opponent by firing his atomic breath through their throat. Although this time it's going the other direction.
  • Continuity Snarl: The prequel comic Godzilla: Aftermath explained at least on why Godzilla's dorsal spines looked different, being heavily damaged by Muto Prime which causes the Big G to overload his radiation levels. It was surmised that his dorsal spines eventurally grew back but with a different shape. The film however ignores this by having Godzilla's dorsal spines already changed in 2014.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Unlike the MUTOs and Skull Crawlers, who were simply animals (if intelligent ones) acting on instinct, King Ghidorah is genuinely malevolent and sadistic, and ultimately acting on a plan with an actual endgame rather than simple instinct.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Zig-zagged. There's Rodan, whose internal temperature is so extreme he melts rock into lava and is therefore impervious to it. His heat does heavily injure Mothra during their fight, visibly burning her. Then there's Dr. Serizawa, who goes into the massive heat and radiation of Godzilla's home, protected only by a radiation suit of unspecified grade, but doesn't burn up when he removes his gloves or helmet. And then there's Burning Godzilla, whose core temperature is so high he melts buildings, metal scaffolding, and even the pavement from dozens of meters away.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: A clash between Godzilla and three other Kaiju, this time all named.
  • Cool Plane: Monarch's signature plane and secondary headquarters; Argo, continues the proud Heisei tradition of a Godzilla-centered organization using super-technology to create sci-fi planes. It's a massive flying wing capable of supersonic flight, vertical takeoff/landing, armed to the teeth, and also doubles as an Airborne Aircraft Carrier with other, smaller cool Osprey VTOL planes.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: The general premise which, compared to the last movie, is now more prominent than ever. Ancient, impossibly powerful monsters are awakening everywhere, with the living cataclysm King Ghidorah front and center. Humanity is so outclassed that their only recourse is to ally, hopefully, with the benevolent ones. The redacted text in the credits even outright refers to the Titans as "Old Ones" a la the Cthulhu Mythos. In the novelization, Mark speculates that the Titans are either alien in nature or the last remnants of a primordial form of life that evolved during the Hadean period, when Earth was a radiation-rich volcanic wasteland. Then it's revealed Ghidorah is a hostile alien horror with biology-defying science as we know it that seeks to terraform Earth to his own liking. Underlined at the senate hearing at the start of the movie.
    Senator: Are you suggesting that we make Godzilla our pet?
    Serizawa: No. We would be his.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Brought up early in the film instead of at the end by Dr. Mark Russell, who claims the entire plot could've been avoided if Emma never recreated the ORCA (which he and Emma destroyed several years ago), or if Monarch killed all the Titans whilst they were dormant (which Monarch have been actively avoiding). Ultimately averted, as killing the Titans would be extremely difficult (this fact has explicit attention drawn to it in the novelization) and attempts would likely only wake up and enrage them; and even without Monarch's losing battle to prevent the government taking over and trying to kill the Titans (which has a shitload of Fridge Horror attached), Ghidorah is imprisoned in ice in Antarctica. Which is, you know, already slowly melting precisely because of human activity and the absence of Ice Person Titans.
  • Creative Closing Credits: In a similar style to the 2014 film's opening credits.
  • Credits Gag: At one point of the main credits, after the newsreel, the four main kaiju are listed as playing themselves.
  • Creepy High-Pitched Voice: Ghidorah and Rodan's shrill roars are pretty terrifying.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: King Ghidorah possesses a biology that makes him nearly impossible to kill, regenerating rapidly from any damage and no-selling a weapon that almost one-shot Godzilla. His center head in particular seems as if it is nigh immortal, to the extent that even when Godzilla destroys the whole rest of his body, that head is still alive, intact and snarling. So what does Godzilla do when he at last has the opportunity to put an end to his ages old rival? Grab that still-living center head by the neck-stump in his mouth, and then incinerate it with a final blast of atomic fire fired through its neck, ensuring there will be nothing left of it to regenerate.
  • Cue the Sun:
    • Played With. At the film's Darkest Hour, when it seems Godzilla has died, and with him humanity's only hope against Ghidorah, a small shaft of sunlight pierces the clouds. It grows brighter and brighter, until the glow is revealed to be not the sun, but Mothra...who with a mighty flap of her wings dispels the storm clouds and brings the true rays of the sun shining on our human heroes.
    • After Godzilla finally annihilates King Ghidorah, his hurricane dissipates and the sun finally cuts through as the Titans bow to him and he roars triumphantly.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The U.S. Air Force vs. Rodan and Ghidorah. Rodan knocks his opponents out by rolling around swatting them all with his wings as while Ghidorah launches an electric storm flapping his wings to destroy all Air Force fighters.
    • After Rodan is lured into King Ghidorah by the humans, King Ghidorah quickly overpowers Rodan in battle, making the latter submit to his newfound tyrant and aid him in warding off Mothra.
    • Once Godzilla fully ascends to his atomic form, the final battle is basically already over. His first blast burns off Ghidorah's wings, preventing the space dragon from possibly escaping, he completely and utterly ignores a triple gravity blast to the chest from point-blank range, his second blast vaporises two of Ghidorah's heads, and the final blast disintegrates his body, leaving only his final head, which a cooled-down Godzilla then picks up in his mouth and annihilates with one last blast of atomic breath. Ghidorah had no chance at all against Godzilla and Mothra's full combined power unleashed.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    • Hendricks manages an "Oh, shi-" just before Ghidorah's gravity beams reduce him to ashes.
    • When they learn that Ghidorah is homing in on Rodan's location, Mark notes that in nature two solitary predators coming together usually only happens for one of three reasons: "for food, a fight or a f... Something more intimate."
  • Cutting the Knot: How Mark deals with a stuck cargo door on the Argo. It won't open, the alternative might not work and there's a shuttle full of civilians that needs to land ASAP. There happens to be a few docked shuttles above the door so Mark simply releases one that tears off the cargo doors.
  • The Cynic: Mark Russell is the wirst one in the film, and to a lesser extent Dr. Stanton. Both are skeptical of or outright rebuff the idea that Titans can coexist with humans (they also both lose this attitude over the film) and are rather jaded.
  • Darker and Edgier: The film one-ups the previous film's tone, and maybe even Shin Godzilla and the anime trilogy. Alan Jonah's endgame is to revive King Ghidorah, who is an alpha rival to Godzilla and his literal worst enemy compared to the MUTOs. Plus, there are far more casualties, and Anyone Can Die. Godzilla himself almost dies, and had to be resuscitated in order to save the world.
  • Darkest Hour: After the Mexico battle, Godzilla is believed dead, Ghidorah has usurped the title of King of the Monsters and is driving the Titans to rapidly destroy the planet. It's discovered Ghidorah is an alien invader, meaning even the human villains won't be getting the outcome they desired and the most powerful weapons the military has available are completely worthless against King Ghidorah and his army. It isn't until Mothra arrives at Castle Bravo that things begin to turn around.
  • David vs. Goliath: Relatively speaking, Godzilla, Mothra, and Rodan are all significantly smaller in size to King Ghidorah, and this especially seems to backfire against Rodan when he engages Ghidorah in aerial combat, with the latter of whom easily overpowering the former.
  • Dawn of an Era: At the end of the film, the formerly-hibernating Titans around the world remain awakened but are now being kept in check by Godzilla; they're restoring ecosystems decimated by human activity, and producing new, clean fuels for humans. A fisherman in the post-credits scene says, "It's a brave new world".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mark Russell, Alan Jonah and Rick Stanton all have moments.
  • Death Glare:
    • Ghidorah and Rodan both hand out at least one of these each, and Chen gives Mark Russell a more minor one for making another one of his angry anti-Titan snips which she doesn't have a retort for.
    • Godzilla levels one at the Monarch submarine crew after they nuke his lair to revive him from the Oxygen Destroyer, causing them all to flinch in fear; though he leaves after determining they're not a threat.
    • At the end of the film, Godzilla levels one at the other Titans once they arrive in Boston, as though daring them to challenge his reign. Rodan is initially defiant but bows first, followed by the others.
  • Death World:
    • A mild case, but the entire surface of the Earth is effectively turned into one when Ghidorah takes over as Alpha and commands the other Titans to begin destroying all other life on the planet, with Titans rampaging all around the globe and actively unleashing extinction-level natural disasters. The novelization notes that pretty much nowhere on the planet short of a reinforced shelter is truly safe for human habitation at this point, and that the global conditions are forcing Monarch and the military forces to be selective with finding safe places to regroup or refuel. Fortunately, it gets undone once Ghidorah is killed and the Titans submit to Godzilla.
    • Godzilla's temple in an air pocket in the Hollow Earth is so highly radioactive that even protective gear isn't enough to protect one from radiation poisoning, never mind the deathly-high volcanic heat. This poses a problem when Monarch head to the temple looking to revive Godzilla, forcing one of them to make a Heroic Suicide.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: This movie tries to portray the elements of the Toho Godzilla franchise through a realistic lens. Many of the Fridge Horror elements of the Japanese films are addressed and used to show what would happen if giant mythical beasts decided to fight over the fate of the world. That said it also tries to realistically incorporate the more positive aspects of the Japanese films show what giant monsters that aren't automatically Always Chaotic Evil but rather run a gamut of various emotions and dispositions would be like and humanities reaction to a fantastic new world beginning to dawn.
    • The Decon
      • In the original Toho films, while the audience did see buildings destroyed, cities leveled, and deaths of innocent bystanders, it is never shown (either through design or simply due to lacking the special effects needed) just how horrific it would be for the humans when giant monsters decide put on their dance shoes and hit the town. The results are terrifying with people being consumed by gale force winds, swallowed up by the earth splitting, and burned alive by nuclear fire.
      • Doesn't matter that Mothra and Godzilla are basically on our side and trying to protect the world, they are still giant monsters and manage to cause mass damage simply by moving nevemind when they start fighting. Their opponent is also an ancient alien three headed Draconic Abomination that wants to level the earth which means that they can't be caught up in limiting the damage by holding back when the entire fate of the world is at stake.
    • The Recon
      • Human weapons can do nothing to most if not all of the Kaiju. While Mothra and Godzilla may be destructive saviors humans are damn lucky to have them looking out for and protecting the world because if Ghidorah rose unchallenged, humanity would have been wiped out in the space of a month.
      • Just because the Kaiju are giant creatures that humans have never seen before and have the power to wipe out civilization, doesn't mean that they will. It also doesn't mean that they are automatically aggressive or hostile to humans either. Humans are so small to the Kaiju that they may as well be ants and tigers don't go around killing ants for fun. Going further with the tiger analogy, even dangerous beast won't attack people unless they have a reason to.
  • Derelict Graveyard: The Hollow Earth has one, consisting of various ships dating from various centuries, implied to have gotten there by being sucked into the same vortex that takes Monarch's submarine down there.
  • Destructive Savior: Godzilla, as usual - he's quite happy to use the surrounding property to his advantage in battle, smashing Ghidorah through a skyscraper at one point. Taken Up to Eleven when he hits his Fire stage - his mere presence is enough to cause the surrounding city to either melt or explode into fire. By the film's end Boston has been smashed on a scale that makes the last movie's San Francisco battle look small by comparison. However, this is by far preferable to what happens if King Ghidorah isn't stopped.
  • Destroy the Product Placement: King Ghidorah lands and knocks over a helpless Dunkin Donuts billboard.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Whilst The Extremist Was Right that releasing the Titans will bring balance to the world and create many more solutions than problems for humanity, the eco-terrorists release Ghidorah who is a Titan that Monarch still knows relatively little about, partly due to it being a new discovery; and they furthermore intend to indiscriminately release all the Titans without first verifying their respective temperaments and which ones might actually be hostile to humans and incapable of coexistence. As a result, they don't count on Ghidorah turning out to be an invasive extraterrestrial with no ties to maintaining Earth's ecosphere and an Omnicidal Maniac who actively seeks to bring much, much worse destruction to the planet than the terrorists intended.
      • Would-be "alpha" animals in many species do fight for dominance. The ORCA controls the Titans by assuming the role of an alpha. It is not a magic switch and doesn't follow that a Titan of the order of Gidorah even absent the malicious intelligence would submit to it. Turns out all it means to him is extreme hatred and he can't be given orders even if Jonah would like to. He isn't an "animal" in intelligence either.
    • The military launch their prototype Oxygen Destroyer in a seemingly rushed and panicked move in an attempt to kill Ghidorah and Rodan, without bothering to first hear from Monarch what precisely is going on or even consult them. As a result, their weapon ends up near-fatally injuring Godzilla while he was in the middle of subduing Ghidorah, and with Godzilla out of the fight, there's nothing on the planet able to stand against Ghidorah, who promptly begins enacting the Apocalypse How. Furthermore, The Stinger seems to indicate the military's untested prototype weapon has caused a lot more ecological damage in Isla de Mara's waters than just a two-mile radius.
    • This hits Madison when she uses the ORCA to disrupt Ghidorah's control over the Titans around the world and lure Ghidorah himself to Boston. Instead of getting the hell out of dodge with an Ax-Crazy, 500-foot Psycho Electro on his way, she actually stays put and looks out for any sign of him approaching, without unplugging the ORCA. As a result, she's trapped in the stadium when Ghidorah comes, hunting for the source of the ORCA signal. This gets some Adaptational Explanation in the novelization.
    • And then when Madison unplugs the ORCA from the stadium's speaker system, but doesn't turn the device itself off, Ghidorah is instantly able to zero in on her exact location and realize what she's done. She's only saved from being obliterated by Godzilla's timely arrival.
  • Digital Destruction: Thankfully averted. Warner Bros. learned from their past mistake on the 2014 film’s Blu-ray and gave this film a proper home video released with a bright color pallet and equal level contrast.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: Mark Russell and the Monarch operatives all react this way to Emma Russell's Motive Rant, deeming her plan reckless, insane and evil, and the Ranter in question cracks and reveals theirself as someone Not So Stoic under the pressure of Mark's accusations.
  • Disney Villain Death: Attempted but ultimately Subverted. During the climatic battle, King Ghidorah uses his heads to lift Godzilla thousands of feet in the air and drop him. He even catches fire from atmospheric re-entry! It would've killed Godzilla too, had a dying Mothra not stepped in to give him a power boost.
  • Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: Ghidorah's hurricane, even after it evolves into a Category 6 and produces offshoot tornadoes and water-spouts, is on its own pretty much harmless to humans on the ground, just hitting them with a lot of rain and only a small wind which batters their hair and clothes, and making some atmospheric fog. Even a Category 1 hurricane should threaten to blow people off their feet and tear buildings apart and send debris flying through the air. Worse, even flying inside the cloud is relatively harmless, to the point that thousands of aircraft can safely fly right under the hurricane with minimal turbulence, and even the crazy-high amounts of lightning in the clouds barely ever strike them.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Ghidorah and Godzilla are both the king of the monsters at different points of the film.
  • The Dragon: Rodan is the first Titan to bow to Ghidorah when he seemingly defeats Godzilla, and actively fights at his side against Godzilla and Mothra in the final battle of the film.
  • Dragon Their Feet: Ghidorah awakens all the titans and summons them to his location, but they don't actually arrive in Boston until after Ghidorah is killed.
  • The Dreaded: Ghidorah, naturally. Godzilla somehow senses something going on at the Antarctica site that immediately sends him into an intimidation display even with his nemesis thousands of miles away and not even awake yet. On Monarch's end, Mark's deduction Godzilla's heading to Antarctica immediately reduces the room to dead silence. Later in the film Dr. Chen notes she had trouble finding anything more than vague information on Ghidorah in myths and legends, as if humanity wanted to forget he ever existed.
  • Eco-Terrorist: Emma and Jonah and his mercs' mission is restoring the natural balance by forcibly awakening and releasing all the Titans, and they're fine with committing mass slaughter of Monarch personnel, to say nothing of the global human death toll their actions entail.
  • Elemental Powers: Rodan, Mothra, and Ghidorah are all cited as having at least one:
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Mothra's sacrifice allows Godzilla to become Burning Godzilla and use a supercharged version of his Nuclear Pulse to obliterate Ghidorah.
  • Epic Fail: The military desperately attempt to kill both Ghidorah and Rodan by firing their prototype Oxygen Destroyer at Isla de Mara. The missile hits after Ghidorah has subdued Rodan when Godzilla is in the middle of defeating Ghidorah. It not only fails to have any effect on Ghidorah due to his alien biology, but it cripples Godzilla to the point of near-death; and without Godzilla to keep Ghidorah in check, the latter monster promptly awakens all of the dormant Titans around the world and commands them to begin razing the human race and all other life on the planet into the ground.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Though it's only revealed through the credits, the soldier killed by Colonel Foster in Antarctica is named Asher Jonah. Based on Alan Jonah's reaction, it was likely his son. This may have influenced his speech on "human nature" later in the film, and his acceptance of Ghidorah's plan to destroy the world.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Despite their reverence for the Titans and belief that they're essential to the world, all of the Monarch key brass are universally horrified by Emma and Jonah's plan to forcibly awaken all of them and let them decimate humanity.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Rodan wipes out the remnants of Gold Squadron with an aileron roll that demolishes the tight formation of the fighters.
  • Eviler Than Thou:
    • Emma and Jonah awaken King Ghidorah to act as their agent to restore balance to the world. It's only a short time before Ghidorah completely flies Off the Rails and begins his own, far more cataclysmic plans.
    • Jonah proves this to Emma, as while she near instantly has a My God, What Have I Done? upon realizing King Ghidorah is far more destructive and dangerous than she ever expected, Jonah is perfectly fine letting the space dragon kill everyone.
    • King Ghidorah becomes this against Rodan, who is completely unstoppable until Ghidorah defeats him in about one minute.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Ghidorah is over 500 feet tall, weighs 141,000 tons and is the largest creature yet seen in the Monsterverse. He's also genuinely malevolent and an alien invader seeking to terraform Earth to his liking.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Emma Russell and Jonah awaken Ghidorah in hopes that he'll restore balance as part of their plans. Unfortunately, Ghidorah has far bigger and deadlier plans than they had in mind. Played With with Jonah, who is fine to let Ghidorah have his way.
  • Evil vs. Evil: This is what Monarch's plan is regarding luring Rodan into the path of Ghidorah in hopes of them just taking each other out. While they do engage in battle, Rodan doesn't die but does submit to Ghidorah as his Alpha.
  • Exact Time to Failure: Rick counting down how long before Godzilla explodes like an A-bomb, having been overdosed with radiation.
  • Expy: Dr. Rick Stanton, a snarky alcoholic Monarch scientist, is based on Rick Sanchez.
  • The Extremist Was Right: In the ending, Emma's argument that releasing the Titans would restore balance to the planet and repair the ecosystem, and that humans could peaceably coexist with the Titans, was proven right. However, the plan was incompletely correct: Waking Monster Zero was not a good idea, because King Ghidorah isn't one of the Earth's Titans and has no intention of restoring the balance in any way that Earth life can survive.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • Cornered by King Ghidorah, as the giant alien dragon charges up power in all three of its necks, Madison screams in sheer defiance at it... only to be echoed by Godzilla's own roar and a blast of Atomic Fire at Ghidorah's body, saving her.
    • Minutes later, faced with a similar situation, her mother Emma lies injured at Ghidorah's mercy and growls her own defiant "Long live the king" instants before Godzilla comes back in his Burning form. We do not see her actual death, but given she was at ground zero of successive nuclear pulses, those became her last words.
  • Famous Last Words:
  • Fantastic Nuke: The Oxygen Destroyer is a military prototype weapon for killing Titans which is designed to exterminate any and all terrestrial life within a two-mile radius. It gets used by the military in a Nuke 'em move.
  • Fantastic Racism: The government and the majority of the public want Monarch to kill all the Titans instead of containing them at the start of the film following the events of the first film, and the senators at the start of the film are notably devoid of Admiral Stenz's reasonableness. Mark Russell outright rebuffs the notion the Titans are anything other than rampaging monsters due to blaming them for his son's death.
  • Fatal Flaw: For Emma Russell, it's Pride: once she's committed to something and she's gotten it into her head that she's right about it, she can be very unmoving about it. For Mark, it's running away from his problems and letting them fester instead of confronting them head-on and dealing with them in a more healthy manner. The film also seems to have cast aside any doubt from the first film that small-mindedness is Admiral Stenz's Fatal Flaw. Even Ghidorah gets some of this trope, as his sadistic need to go out of his way to attack humans with overkill or just draw out their deaths by a few moments thrice enables Godzilla to take him by surprise.
  • Fearless Fool: Downplayed with Rodan when he charges into a fight against Ghidorah, Played Straight by one of Ghidorah's heads when Ni (the right head) attempts to strike at a charging Godzilla on its own while the other two heads are incapacitated.
  • Fisher King: In multiple ways, and it's often justified by how the Titans' Physical God powers affect the environment around them.
    • The climate of multiple places around the world reflects on the nature of the current Alpha Titan who, by holding dominance over the other Titans, is essentially king of the planet.
      • Ghidorah is constantly accompanied by a lightning-filled Perpetual Storm that his powers generate, but when King Ghidorah is the ruling Alpha and is actively enacting an Apocalypse How on the planet, almost every location on the planet's surface that's visited is being pelted by mighty storms, which are actually being spread over the planet by Ghidorah. It signifies Ghidorah's fundamental and radical upset of the global natural order and also his purely-destructive nature as an Omnicidal Maniac.
      • Later in the film, Mothra in her imago form disperses Ghidorah's spreading storms from the sky above the Yunnan Rainforest and at Castle Bravo, signifying both her refusal to accept King Ghidorah's rule and her active attempts to restore the natural balance which Ghidorah is trying to obliterate.
      • When Godzilla reclaims his dominance, he and the Titans are surrounded by destruction but the sky is clear and red with a dawning/setting sun, symbolizing Godzilla's nature as a Destructive Saviour who brings both destruction and renewal to the world, and also the Dawn of an Era.
    • Early in the film, the temple where Mothra's egg has waited for millennia is positively teeming with plant and insect life and is furthermore located deep in a rainforest; fitting with how Mothra is both the most benevolent Titan and the one who is most aligned with life.
    • Isla de Mara's sky is a hot reddish-orange when Rodan is about to rise, and Rodan's emergence furthermore triggers a massive volcanic eruption; hinting at Rodan's Hot-Blooded nature, that he's not the most benevolent Titan towards humans, and also how he's easily provoked to wrath.
  • Five Rounds Rapid: As expected, small arms fire isn't even felt by the Titans, but it's still the first response of any Monarch soldier that ends up in their path (as opposed to, say, running like hell). The only handheld arm to get a reaction was a high-powered taser against a relatively tiny Titan, and even that only pissed off the Mothra larva rather than have any real effect. However, while Titans do feel missile bombardment, it still annoys them more than actually hurt them in any way.
    • Most noticeable during Ghidorah's awakening, wherein one of his heads ducks down to peer at the soldiers below, allowing dozens of rifles to unload point-blank on his eyes, nose, and mouth with absolutely no reaction besides casual curiosity. One gets the distinct impression that the central head's decision to unleash their Breath Weapon was nothing more than making a point.
  • Flashback: The film opens by revisiting the devastation caused to San Francisco by Godzilla's battle with the MUTOs, this time from the perspective of the Russells, as they happened to be there and searched for their son Andrew.
  • Foreign Language Title: The Japanese version uses the title's characters as "キング・オブ・モンスターズ" (transliteration of King of the Monsters) instead of "怪獣王" (Monster King) to distance itself from the 1957 release of Godzilla: King of the Monsters! (1956), though both mean the same thing.
  • For the Evulz: While King Ghidorah does attack people who shoot at him or are challenging him with the Orca, he also repeatedly attacks and kills people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time such as gobbling up Vivienne and trying to destroy the Argo after defeating Rodan, even though it was running away from him. Tellingly, he also tries to atomize Madison after she's thrown the Orca away and much closer to him, damaging and shutting it off in the process. He also several times does a Slasher Smile when about to do so, implying he genuinely enjoys it. The novelization takes it a step further by explicitly stating he enjoys killing and practically lives for it.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The truth about Emma's plan and the fact Madison was already on board when we first meet her is hinted at several times in the opening act. Madison nervously asks her mother if her father will be safe, Emma seemingly nonchalantly asks her co-worker if he wants to take the morning off (on the day their Titan is being born). Subtle hints that with hindsight tie into her involvement in what's to come.
    • Furthermore, Madison's emails besides the one from her father are mostly environmental ones pertaining to fears of a mass extinction.
    • In a more subtle example, the opening logos are stylized to look like ancient stone carvings, and depict the unawakened Titans on either side of them.
    • After the prologue, Mark is first shown taking pictures of wolves eating a carcass. Later, he's the first to notice the Titans are moving "like a pack" in response to an Alpha.
    • Mothra arrives later to the Final Battle despite being last seen around Godzilla's location and being capable of flight. The credits reveal at some point she laid an egg before joining the final battle. This was confirmed by Dougherty on Twitter to be the case.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Alan, Emma and Mark form one towards Kaiju, with Mark pulling double duty as the Cynic and the Apathetic. Emma is the Optimist, viewing Kaiju with almost religious reverence believing them all to be protectors of earth. Alan is the Realist, as unlike Emma who deluded herself as to what releasing the Titans would entail, Jonah was under no such illusions.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • As a film with non-speaking sentient Kaiju, there's a few opportunities to decipher the Titans' thoughts and personalities from their actions and facial expressions. Ghidorah gets special attention for its Multiple Head Case, when two or all three of its heads are in the same shot and are responding differently to the same thing.
    • You'd literally need to hit the 'Pause' button to see it: in the shot where Serizawa falls to his knees on witnessing Graham's death, you can also see Coleman, Griffin and Ilene's reactions to it behind his shoulders.
    • The redacted text of the closing credits tells the story of the ancient civilization that existed in Hollow Earth and their relationship with the Titans.
    • A news article in the closing credits also states that Monarch may be building a "mechanized giant". Between this and the post-credits scene, it implies 2020's Godzilla vs Kong will feature Mecha-King Ghidorah.
    • When Mark is being shown the many Titans the Orca was built using samples of, the last one is of an familiar ape.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Ilene Chen and Rick seem to have the optimist-versus-pessimist variety.
  • From Bad to Worse: An even graver case than in the first film. After the incident in Antarctica, Godzilla's Kaiju rival Ghidorah (who turns out in his Establishing Character Moment to be nightmarishly Ax-Crazy and sadistic) is loose, and Jonah and Emma are set on releasing all the dormant Titans one-by-one so they'll inflict Gaia's Vengeance. Surely it can't get any worse? The military drop the Oxygen Destroyer on Godzilla and Ghidorah in an attempt to kill them, but it only cripples Godzilla, while Ghidorah is revealed to be an alien who has no ties to maintaining Earth's biosphere; and with Godzilla inert, Ghidorah promptly forcibly awakens and takes control of all the planet's kaiju and uses them to start inflicting a Class 4-6 Apocalypse How.

    G-M 
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Jonah and Emma think they're Gaia's Avenger, seeking to reawaken the Titans using the ORCA so that they can put a stop to humanity's ecologically destructive ways and retake their dominance of the planet as The Old Gods, restoring the natural balance. In practice it's not that simple, as they screw up royally by awakening Ghidorah first - an Alpha Titan not of Earth, whose rule turns out to be a total disruption of the natural balance that Godzilla normally maintains.
  • Gentle Giant: Played With by Godzilla, played very straight by Mothra, in their respective interactions with humans.
  • The Ghost: of the seventeen known Titans on Earth, eight are mentioned but never actually shown onscreen (Leviathan, Baphomet, Abaddon, Typhon, Tiamat, Mokele Mbembe, Sargon, and Bunyip). Mokele-Mbembe and Kraken however both make appearances in the novelization.
  • Giant Flyer: Other than Godzilla himself, all the other monsters are skyscraper-sized beasts that are somehow able to still soar through the sky.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Because it wouldn't be a proper Godzilla film if this didn't get crossed at least once, the film crosses it twice. First with the military's Nuke 'em move, and then with Monarch committing a Nuclear Option. All Trope Namer reference aside, the latter counts as this trope due to the film lampshading the possibility Godzilla might turn on the humans in anger for their actions.
  • Gone Horribly Right: In Sam Coleman's own words, the plan to jump-start Godzilla's Healing Factor by giving him an exploding nuke to absorb "Worked a little too well." Godzilla's now on a countdown to meltdown, and perhaps only Mothra's Heroic Sacrifice saved him from going the same way as Burning Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Emma and Jonah's plan is to bring balance back to the world by forcibly awakening the Titans and letting them essentially knock humanity off the top of the animal kingdom, and to wake the Titans one at a time so the destruction they cause isn't too severe. The problem being, they didn't account for Ghidorah being a hostile extraterrestrial whose goal is destroying the Earth and making it his own, so once Godzilla is taken out of the picture, Ghidorah takes events totally out of the Eco-Terrorists' control by awakening the Titans and begins its own Apocalypse How.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Of the flight capable Titans, the benevolent Mothra has pretty and glowing butterfly wings, the highly volatile but not outright evil Rodan has pterosaur-like Hot Wings, and the Omnicidal Maniac Ghidorah has bat-like dragon wings commonly associated with demons.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: The film makes clear that Eco-Terrorist Alan Jonah's views of humanity — with all the wars, death, and destruction people bring about — aren't entirely wrong, and that he can earnestly add stupidity (his and Emma's own as much as the military's) to the list of human flaws. In fact, It's his response to it all - letting the Ax-Crazy alien invader Ghidorah use the Titans to flatly obliterate humanity - that is presented as wrong, not the actions of humanity that left him so disillusioned in the first place.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Late in the film, Jonah's men who are guarding the ORCA all conveniently take a break all at once, leaving the device unguarded and allowing Madison to easily snatch it and waltz out the front door with nobody to stop her. Better yet, nobody discovers that the device was stolen until Jonah sees a news broadcast about the monsters ceasing their attacks, which alerts him that Madison stole the device and used it. Downplayed in the novelization, which reveals they do leave someone behind to guard the ORCA, but Madison dispatches said guard when she's caught.
  • Handshake Refusal: When they first meet, Dr. Sam Coleman offers a handshake to Mark Russell. Mark ignores him, so Sam puts his hand down.
  • Happy Ending Override: At the end of Godzilla (2014), the hostile MUTOs have been killed before they could reproduce and devastate humanity, San Francisco has been saved from being obliterated by a nuclear warhead, and Godzilla peacefully returns to the sea whilst being hailed by the survivors of San Francisco's destruction as their savior for his actions. Five years later; more Kaiju with varying moral alignments are discovered to exist in hibernation and are slowly waking up all over the world, public opinion has turned around since Godzilla's departure to demands that the hibernating Kaiju be killed off indiscriminately by the military, manmade efforts to track down Godzilla are causing mass die-offs in the ocean, San Francisco has been abandoned and is in overgrown ruins (implicitly due to Godzilla and the MUTOs' unique radiation), and Monarch is facing major government scrutiny and public backlash for not exterminating the Kaiju they found as was their original purpose.
  • Harmless Freezing: King Ghidorah was frozen in Antarctic ice sometime in the past, yet it appears to have done nothing to slow him down once he escapes. Justified, as he has an insane Healing Factor, as well as not needing oxygen to survive, being a space creature.
  • Hauled Before a Senate Subcommittee: Coleman and Dr. Serizawa are summoned for a Senate meeting on the issue of the Titans and where the creatures' loyalties lie. The head senator believes Coleman is suggesting that humanity should make Godzilla their pet. However, Serizawa corrects her and says humanity would be Godzilla's pet if such a concept existed in his head.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: Played With. The track which plays at Outpost 32 directly before the explosives detonate to free Ghidorah from the ice sound eerily like some vast heartbeat to indicate Monster Zero is waking up inside the glacier. A slower, more ominous one plays a couple minutes later when the ORCA completes Ghidorah's awakening in the pit.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Emma has this once Ghidorah takes over as the new Alpha. She realizes that while humanity has done a lot of damage to the Earth over the years, if Ghidorah remains in charge of the other Titans then it will do far worse to the planet than anything humanity has achieved in its existence.
    • Madison has her own realization when listening to Emma dismiss Mark and Serizawa's arguments with contempt and disdain for the fate of humanity, and specifically for the evacuees of Isla de Mara. Although she was aware of the potential damage of unleashing the Titans upon Earth, and was seemingly willing to go along with the plan, it's made clear she did not know the full extent of her mother's methods, a fact that Jonah mocks her for.
  • Hell Is That Noise:
    • Ghidorah's roar. It sounds like a mix of his Showa chirps, his Heisei screeches, and his Millenium roars rolled into one and made more sinister.
    • Rodan's cries are just as dissonant and terrifying, mixing his Showa roars with bird-like calls and some disturbingly human-sounding screams.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • According to the novelization, the G-Team's Too Dumb to Live move in Antarctica was actually this (see Adaptational Explanation).
    • Dr. Graham's death in Antarctica occurs due to them staying behind briefly to save Mark Russell's life, which made them vulnerable to Ghidorah who ate Dr. Graham alive.
    • On account of the submarine's weapons systems being offline, Dr. Serizawa volunteers to manually detonate a nuclear weapon close to Godzilla in order to speed up his healing process. This decision is especially notable in that Serizawa is a survivor of Little Boy's detonation over Hiroshima, and so is well aware of what he is getting into.
    • As a badly-injured Godzilla lies weakened after being dropped from the sky by Ghidorah, Mothra, herself severely wounded by Rodan, makes one final attempt to defend Godzilla before being vaporized by Ghidorah's gravity beams. However, as she dies, she releases a radioactive cloud that settles upon Godzilla, reviving him and granting him his Fire Form.
    • Emma pulls one off luring Ghidorah away from her family with the Orca which gets her killed.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity:
    • Although Godzilla has saved humanity from the MUTOs five years ago and is working to rid the world of King Ghidorah, he is still deemed a threat by the United States. Even Mark Russell, the human protagonist, wants Godzilla dead because his son was collateral damage during Godzilla's fight in San Francisco. Only Serizawa and Monarch appear to be on Godzilla's side. Thankfully by the end of the movie this seems to be going away, as multiple newspapers report about how Godzilla is keeping other Titans away from cities once the Titans accept and revere Godzilla as their king.
    • Monarch themselves are also getting this at the start of the film, due to the majority of the public blaming them for the San Francisco incident and the government subjecting them to intensifying scrutiny because they won't cooperate with their plan to kill every Titan. It's implied the backlash is further influenced by Monarch's refusal to reveal what they know about the Titans or how many more there are, are; but more than that, the government and most of the public just want to try killing all the Titans indiscriminately indiscriminately, and don't care for Monarch's arguments that that isn't a good idea.
  • Hollow World: More evidence of Houston Brooks' Hollow Earth theory from Kong: Skull Island comes up. Godzilla uses the extensive network of undersea caves to get places faster than should be possible. And the Monarch submarine follows Godzilla into one of these tunnels to find his nest.
  • Homefield Advantage: Godzilla and Ghidorah's second fight takes place underwater and Godzilla has a notable advantage until the humans fire the Oxygen Destroyer.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Mark finally gets to Antarctica to rescue his daughter from Alan Jonah and his eco-terrorist group. Madison walks to him...only for Emma to tell her to come back and she obliges.
    • Monarch makes it to Antarctica to stop Alan Jonah from freeing Monster Zero and manage to have him cornered with even Mark holding him up at gunpoint...and then Emma releases Ghidorah to the world, later revealing that she's been working for him all along.
  • Hostage Situation: Mother and daughter Emma and Madison Russell are kidnapped by a mysterious organization, and it's up to Emma's estranged husband Mark Russell to save them. Subverted on Emma's end, as being caught and brought to Ghidorah's can was part of her and Alan's plan all along.
  • Hot-Blooded: Both Rodan and Ghidorah's right head (Ni) seem to have this personality type, while Mark Russell is quite heated about his hatred for Godzilla and is a Leeroy Jenkins.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Runs two ways here.
    • First, according to Dr. Emma Russell, humans are an "infection" who have decimated the Earth's ecosphere and triggered their own extinction event, thus necessitating the (re)appearance of the Titans in order to set things back into balance...
    • ...and it's furthermore shown by the senate scene and the Oxygen Destroyer's launch that Admiral Stenz was basically the Only Sane Man among a government who only care about exterminating the Titans and are ignorant to arguments to the contrary.
    • On the other side of the fence, Emma and Alan Jonah decide to manually awaken the Titans, starting with the two most destructive ones on the list. Everything goes downhill from there and Madison rightly blames her mother for it, calling her a monster in doing so. This hits home hard.
    • In a more literal example of the trope, it turns out the hidden acoustic that is able to awaken the Titans is a human voice. The Titans apparently view mankind collectively as one of their own, to the point that Ghidorah immediately abandons his fight with Godzilla to destroy the ORCA when it's turned on in the middle of their battle.
  • Humans Are Special: The secret tone used to get the attention of Titans? It's a human voice. The Titans apparently consider humanity as a whole a single alpha predator comparable to themselves to the point that they will accept challenges from the voice.
  • Human Pet: Dr. Serizawa states that when this is over, the best fate humanity can hope for is to become Godzilla's pet. The worst fate would be both Godzilla and humankind perishing at the hands of a worse Kaiju.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Dr. Emma Russell claims one of her main motivations is ensuring her son's death didn't occur for nothing, yet she seems completely ignorant of the fact her plan calls for causing millions of families to go through the same pain of losing loved ones as she did instead of preventing it. Adding to this trope, she's not so willing to let someone die when that someone happens to be her child instead of someone else's (in contradiction to her previous claim that things are bigger than her and Madison). In another point, she gets rightfully called out by Jonah for telling him to leave Madison out of their argument when she's already pulled her daughter into an eco-terrorist paramilitary organization's radical plot some time ago.
    • Mark Russell at two points angrily scorns Serizawa for "kidding himself" with the belief Titans are capable of being benevolent, and Emma for putting something before her family and her own wellbeing; in ignorance of the fact he himself as an animal behavior expert is kidding himself with his Tragic Bigotry towards the Titans, and he descended into alcoholism and then distanced himself from his surviving family when they most needed him to be strong before the film.
    • Played With by Alan Jonah. He tries to shoot down Emma's attempt to go rescue Madison by stating humanity doesn't control the laws of nature — which is pretty rich coming from him, considering his mission is all about forcibly manipulating nature to achieve his Eco-Terrorist goals (although he's happy to let Ghidorah do what it wants when it takes things out of the eco-terrorists' control). He also says one human life doesn't matter, but submits to Emma's wishes when she aims a gun at him instead of risking his own life.
  • Identical Grandson: The Chen twins, their mother and her twin, and their twins grandmothers are all identical.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: Dr. Ilene Chen has a short pixie cut, whilst her twin Dr. Ling wears her hair in a Motherly Side Plait.
  • If It Swims, It Flies: Monarch has drones that can transition from submersible to aerial.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
    • Emma paints her plan as the only way to ensure life will continue on Earth, and that otherwise, everything will end within their lifetime. This ignores how even the most extreme of predictions regarding current human effects on the planet would lead to humans becoming extinct long before life, in general, is in trouble (humans could indeed cause a massive loss in biodiversity, but nothing worse than what life has handled in the past). Justified, as it's heavily implied Emma is not exactly thinking rationally, plus this is a world where numerous colossal super-species with some Artistic License – Biology once ruled the Earth during its prehistory so real-life climate change predictions may be defunct In-Universe.
    • Jonah's own justifications for letting King Ghidorah do what it wants to the planet basically descend into this when Emma realizes Ghidorah is destroying the planet's biosphere instead of healing it, and it's revealed that Jonah is a Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist who just wants to see humanity suffer.
  • In-Series Nickname: King Ghidorah is known by Monarch as Monster Zero. He's called this for the first half of the film until they find out his name from what few myths they can find.
  • Instant Fish Kill: Happens when the Oxygen Destroyer (which is designed to exterminate all life in a two-mile radius) detonates off the coast of Isla de Mara. The Stinger also has a local fisherman say that the O.D. exterminated all of the local fauna and fishing has become impossible.
  • Interspecies Romance: Joked about twice in the film, when Mark states that Ghidorah is going to Isla de Mara to eat, fight, or mate with Rodan; and when Barnes asks if Godzilla and Mothra are mates despite one being a giant reptile and the other being a giant insect.
  • Ironic Echo: "Long live the king." The first time it's said as a sarcastic quip by Alan Jonah, as they realize waking Ghidorah has upset their plans to wake the other Titans slowly, one at a time, since Ghidorah is waking them all up and summoning them (not that Jonah particularly minds). The second time, it's said as a "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner by Emma Russel before getting killed by Ghidorah, after she's bought enough time for Godzilla to get his Heroic Second Wind and activate his Super Mode, allowing him to destroy Ghidorah.
  • Irony: When justifying the release of Ghidorah, Emma compares humans to an infection, with the Earth being the body they're spreading through and harming, and the Titans acting as antibodies to maintain the planet's balance. It turns out that Ghidorah is a quite-literal infection to the Earth in the sense that he's an Alien Invader who actively tries to destroy the planet's biosphere by inflicting rapid mass extinction.
  • It Can Think:
    • As per usual, this is the case. This is especially played up with Ghidorah, who quickly establishes that he's genuinely evil and not only aware of humanity, but actively wants them dead. When Madison unplugs the ORCA from the speakers in Boston, he not only zeroes in on her in seconds, but Ichi's eyes narrowing as it looks through the window at her implies he's worked out he's being tricked by this tiny human - something reinforced by his preparing to obliterate her with all three of his gravity beams even after the ORCA is smashed.
    • In the novelization, a cephalopod-like Titan called the Kraken tricks Monarch into thinking it's died, then destroys the facility monitoring it with remarkable cunning and efficiency.
    • Mothra shows this by being the first Titan to flat out try to communicate with humans, alerting Monarch to the fact Godzilla's still alive and actively leading them to help him. The novelization seems to have her telepathically contact Madison and save her. This plays into the ambigiousity of whether she's just a huge prehistoric animal worshipped as a deity or a genuinely supernatural goddess.
  • It's All About Me: Unsurprisingly, Ghidorah could be seen as this. Whether as a form of Hostile Terraforming or out of sheer sadism, his aim is razing the entire planet to the ground to benefit no-one but himself. Emma and Mark Russell can also be accused of this: it's implied Emma's plan is ultimately her way of lashing out at the world over her son's death in her Sanity Slippage, and Mark Russell displays A Million Is a Statistic attitude in regards to finding Madison while the rest of Monarch are more concerned about the threat of Ghidorah and the other Titans to all life on the planet. Meanwhile, Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist Jonah has an extra moment in the film's novelization that explicitly confirms this about his misanthropic goals.
  • I Warned You: Monarch tries to warn Stenz that not allowing Godzilla to deal with the situation is going to end badly. He doesn't listen, and it causes things to go From Bad to Worse. At the meeting at Castle Bravo, while mentioning that Godzilla's the only Titan with any chance of meeting Ghidorah, Martinez emphasizes the point they (seemingly) killed the best and only chance they had of beating Ghidorah.
  • Jerk-to-Nice-Guy Plot: Probably semi-unintentional on the writers' part, but the human protagonist Mark Russell goes from a self-isolating Titan-hater who's obnoxious to his former colleagues, to getting his wish and wishing he hadn't, and he's more respectful for the later half of the film as well as succeeding in getting his daughter back.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Mark, though out of line in his rants that Monarch should kill all the Titans because Godzilla unintentionally killed his son, isn't wrong that even the benevolent Titans can unintentionally cause destruction to humans, and was completely right that recreating the ORCA would do more harm than good.
    • Jonah is very annoyed that Emma kinda omitted the "genocide against the human infection" part of the plan from whatever she explained to Maddie over the preceding years.
  • Jump Scare: Quite effectively, considering it's being pulled by Godzilla. Castle Bravo is watching Godzilla's threat display under water, his spines glowing rythmically before he apparently decides to stop. Beats go by, with just the dark water pressing around them... then Godzilla is right there in front of the window, swimming past at a truly alarming rate.
  • Kaiju: Very obviously, though in addition to creating original giant monsters for Godzilla to fight like its predecessor, this film also brings in kaiju from the Toho films. In-universe, they were initially dubbed MUTOs by Monarch, but are now called Titans (Sam's use of the MUTO term in the courtroom scene implies it's now used exclusively for the kaiju type seen in the first film).
  • Karma Houdini: Alan Jonah is still alive and well in the end, and is shown collecting one of Ghidorah's heads.
  • Kill All Humans: When King Ghidorah takes control of the Titans; while Ghidorah does lead them towards inflicting an extinction event on the planet's ecosystems, the Titans seem to rampage in major human cities specifically. Ghidorah himself meanwhile ravages Washington DC and makes it a roost for himself, and that's not even going into how much he loves killing humans.
  • Kill It with Fire: Godzilla in his superpowered Fire mode finishes off Ghidorah with his nuclear pulses, literally roasting his wings and two side heads off, before unleashing a concentrated blast to his chest that finally kills him.
  • Kirk Summation: All the semi-major characters from Monarch give one towards Emma Russell when the latter exposits about their Evil Plan, pointing out they're risking severe damage to the world, meddling with forces beyond comprehension or control, gambling with the lives of billions of people and most of all, even if the plan works, it won't bring her son back.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Ghidorah itself. Godzilla and the MUTOs were living natural disasters, but Ghidorah? Its a living extinction event. While not exactly light beforehand, the moment he appears onscreen everything takes a much darker turn and he kills a named character within minutes of being released. Whereas the MUTOs may have been capable of sending humanity back to the Stone Age, Ghidorah actively desires humanity's destruction and is definitely capable of carrying that desire out.
  • Last Note Nightmare: The Comic-Con reveal trailer uses a rendition of Claude Debussy's calm and majestic "Claire de Lune" that serves as Soundtrack Dissonance for the carnage it plays over. But it suddenly takes a more appropriately distorted and ominous turn when the freed Ghidorah is shown.
  • Leitmotif: The classic themes for Godzilla and Mothra have been brought back, with new themes being composed for Ghidorah and Rodan. Keeping with a "Monster Opera" theme, each theme has different vocal characteristics.
    • Godzilla has the Akira Ifukube theme accompanied by powerful kakegoe chanting provided by a taiko group from Tokyo
    • Mothra's Song is performed by an ethereal female choir.
    • Rodan's theme is brassy and loud, pushing the French horn section into piercing screams, emulating the monster's calls
    • Ghidorah's theme is built around three-note phrases and groups while featuring ominous chanting from Japanese Buddhist monks.
    • In addition to the four kaiju themes, there is a general "Ancients" theme heard throughout the film, with an Ancient Babylonian poem about the days when humans worshiped monsters being chanted throughout.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Serizawa, Monarch and even Titan-hater Mark Russell espouse this. This time around, when the military doesn't listen, the whole of humanity suffers the consequences in the form of Ghidorah leading the other Titans in rapidly decimating the planet. Ultimately, Monarch revive Godzilla so he can fight off King Ghidorah and restore balance, and when Ghidorah is Life Draining Godzilla during the Final Battle, the Russells use the ORCA to distract Ghidorah long enough for Godzilla to recover.
  • Light-Flicker Teleportation: Godzilla does this, slowly approaching the underwater window of an offshore platform deep enough that the only source of light is the intermittent flashing of his dorsal plates.
  • Light Liege, Dark Defender: Inverted by Godzilla and Mothra. Mothra is the wise but delicate High Queen who is literally associated with light and Godzilla is the Grumpy Old Man earth guardian, but Mothra consistently seems to be the one trying to protect Godzilla.
  • Like Father, Like Son: More like Like Father, Like Daughter, but Madison is a Nature Lover with a strong connection to the Titans like her father, yet she has none of Mark's faults.
  • Logo Joke: Both the Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures logos in the opening, which are stylized to have a more roughened texture like millennia-old excavated artefacts, and are imposed against a Mayincatec hieroglyph background depicting some of the film's Kaiju with a grim, dark-red apocalyptic palette.
  • Losing Your Head: Ghidorah's center head is still alive, even after Burning Godzilla had incinerated the other two heads and the rest of his body. Godzilla essentially has to light up the still-living head with his atomic breath to make sure that the space invader is gone for good.
  • Made of Iron: This trope ends up applying to Serizawa when he brings the warhead to a severely weakened Godzilla in his temple; even though it's basically a suicide mission and the extremely high radioactivity visibly affects him, Serizawa, in reality, should have been killed soon after he exited his mini-sub, even before he took off his glove and helmet.
  • Mainlining the Monster: Briefly mentioned. According to Dr. Graham, there's a new and dangerous market in trafficking Titans' DNA which Alan Jonah is invested in.
  • Male Might, Female Finesse: Zig-Zagged with Godzilla and Mothra. Mothra is actually a front-line combatant like Godzilla, but doesn't have the same level of Super Toughness as Godzilla when it comes to taking a lot of physical punishment from a fight with Rodan. Mothra consequently uses more Fragile Speedster tactics against Ghidorah or Rodan.
  • Mama Bear: Emma proves to be one when Madison escapes Jonah's custody with the ORCA and ends up at ground zero of the Titans' Final Battle. Played With by Mothra, who doesn't react kindly to Monarch's containment field killing the flying insects in her temple.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!":
    • The entire Monarch crew on the Argo has this reaction when they realize that Jonah and the ORCA are in Antarctica, and thus with the only other kaiju on Earth in Godzilla's weight class.
    • Everyone — Monarch and the soldiers who are at ground zero, even the very person who sets off Ghidorah's awakening, have this reaction when Ghidorah awakens.
    • Virtually everyone on the sub shits bricks when, after the newly supercharged Godzilla surfaces and blasts his atomic breath into the sky in a Pillar of Light, the big guy then notices them for the first time...
  • Mauve Shirt: Two of the Monarch soldiers, Barnes and Griffin, have quite a bit of screen time, a decent amount of lines between them, and actually survive the whole film despite being in the thick of virtually every single battle and disaster that happens. Griffin also averts being a Disposable Pilot while she's at it.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: There's a hint in the film that seems to suggest the Chen twins have some kind of telepathic connection to Mothra, and their family descended from ancient Mothra-worshipping priestesses has a peculiar history of identical twin sisters in every recent generation. The novelization hints that Madison also forms a Psychic Link to Mothra during a near-death experience. Whilst the film leaves it ambiguous whether or not Mothra is really a supernatural goddess, either way the director has confirmed she possesses Born-Again Immortality.
  • Mayincatec:
    • The map of the Monarch facilities around the world shows that the one in Peru is underneath Machu Picchu and that the Titan contained there is Quetzalcoatl. The only problem with this is that Machu Picchu is the most well known Inca ruin, while Quetzalcoatl is a deity from Aztec Mythology (although some other Titans with names of mythological entities are also in random places, such as the Greek Typhon in Cambodia, the Babylonian Tiamat in the state of Georgia, and the Hebrew Behemoth in Brazil).
    • The temple that enshrines Mothra's egg is a classical Mayan step-pyramid—it would be a picture-perfect example of Tikal architecture if it didn't lack the castle at the top of the structure. The fact that it's in the middle of China is the movie's first hint that an ancient, far-reaching civilization from antiquity once lived in symbiosis with the Titans.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Near the end of the movie, you'll know exactly why Godzilla means "God incarnate": After Mothra supercharges and balances Godzilla's internal radiation properties, he becomes Burning Godzilla and No-Sell Ghidorah's Gravity Beams and dominates the evil space dragon, and finally finishes him off by destroying his still-living head. Truly a god incarnate indeed.
    • According to the novelization, Mothra's species name, Mosura, means "giver of life" in the language on this universe's version of Infant Island. Given her benevolent and protective nature, she lives up to it.
    • King Ghidorah genuinely becomes the King of the Monsters after Godzilla's apparent death and thus makes his name fitting. His title, the One Who Is Many, is also meaningful, given his three heads and being an Alpha Titan, able to make the rest of the world's Titans act as extensions of his will.
    • Monarch's underwater HQ, Castle Bravo, is named after the codename for the first in the original series of atom bomb tests in the Bikini Atoll. In the film continuity, these tests were intended to kill Godzilla, but didn't even faze him.
  • Militaries Are Useless:
    • As with the last movie, when it comes to dealing with the Titans, the best that military can do is to annoy them with their weapons as both Ghidorah and Rodan shrug off their attacks. It gets even worse as the military eventually comes up with the Oxygen Destroyer, a weapon that could lethally damage the Titans, but then end up using it at the most inopportune time as they launch it at both Godzilla and Ghidorah during their second fight. The resulting fallout leaves Godzilla in a near death state, whereas Ghidorah was able to No-Sell it due to his alien origin. In other words, even if they didn't know about it until it was too late, the military basically assisted Ghidorah.
    • Subverted in the third act: once the plan becomes to resurrect Godzilla to defeat Ghidorah, the military keeps Rodan and Ghidorah busy to allow the operation to take place. During the final battle, they also back up Godzilla against Ghidorah, marking a rare moment in the franchise where the military and Godzilla are genuinely fighting on the same side.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Never explicitly stated, but based on his choices this seems to be Mark Russel's point of view. While everyone else in Monarch and his own ex-wife and daughter are more concerned with the Titans' revival's implications for humanity's survival, Mark only cares about getting his daughter back.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Mark blames Godzilla for the death of his son Andrew in the incidents of the last movie, even though the MUTOs were to blame for the destruction of San Francisco and Godzilla was actually the one who stopped them. It's also implied, particularly in the novelization, that whether or not they're aware of it, Emma Russell's motivation for deciding to unleash the Titans is wanting the whole human race to suffer because they blame humanity for triggering the Titans' awakening via Dug Too Deep in the first place which led to her son's death.
  • Missing Steps Plan: The government wants to have the Titans wiped out while sleeping, but, as made explicit in the novelization, has no real clue how that would be done. Most of the Titans would only be made stronger by nuclear weapons and any other weapon humans have would only serve to make them angry, meaning the most likely result would be waking the Titans and making them mad, as happened with the male MUTO. While the Oxygen Destroyer might work, at least on some of them, it's also shown to have catastrophic ecological effects that would probably do more damage than the Titans would.
  • Mistaken for Romance: When Mothra appears at Castle Bravo, Jackson Barnes asks if she is Godzilla's mate and is squicked out even after it's clarified that their relationship is likely symbiotic.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters:
    • Rather than resembling an actual moth, Mothra combines features of wasps and praying mantises, giving her a more intimidating appearance than previous incarnations.
    • Rodan also combines aspects of birds of prey to go with his pterosaur-based look.
    • Behavior-wise Ghidorah displays a mix of various animals as well: his twin tails rattle like a rattlesnake, his wing-spreading posture is a threat display of many birds of prey, and the dominant and submissive behavior of his three heads is similar to pack behavior in wolves.
    • One of the new Titans, named Behemoth, resembles a cross between a woolly mammoth, a sloth, and an ape.
    • Another of the new Titans, Scylla, resembles a cross between a spider and a crab with a squid-like face.
  • Monumental Damage:
    • According to the military, the Titans responding to King Ghidorah's call are explicitly attacking capital cities—Washington, Moscow, Berlin, etc. While the military believes these attacks to be random and wild, the pattern is not lost on Monarch's scientists.
    • Washington D.C. is completely wrecked, due to Ghidorah using it as a base of operations. One of the last wide shots we get to see of it shows only the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building standing as far as the eye can see, and the latter has chunks of it missing or on fire. Oh...and it's so completely flooded that battleships can run up close enough to fire on Ghidorah.
    • In the Final Battle in Boston, Fenway Park is instantly flattened as it becomes ground zero for the festivities. Then Mothra webs up Ghidorah to the 200 Clarendon skyscraper (formerly John Hancock Tower) and Godzilla tackles him through it, miraculously leaving the iconic Prudential Tower unscathed... at least until the entire city is leveled by Godzilla's final Nuclear Pulse. At one point, the city's famous Paul Revere statue is flung all the way from the North End to somewhere in the Theater District. It's also implied that, by making landfall in Boston via the Charles, all of the city's iconic bridges must have been torn to bits by Big G.
  • Multiple Head Case: As always, King Ghidorah is a three-headed dragon, as confirmed by the cave painting at the end of Kong: Skull Island and viral marketing with the Monarch profile implying that each of his heads have their own independent personalities. In the film itself the center head is the dominant one; the left one (Ghidorah's left) seems to be the most curious (judging by its coming down to lick the dead humans and having to be badgered back into reality by the center head), while the right head is the most Hot-Blooded. The center head is also seemingly the source of Ghidorah's life-force or Healing Factor, since not even disintegrating the body could kill it, whereas the left head that was severed earlier is dead as a doornail. (Presumably.)
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: At the start of the film, the government and most of the public are advocating that the military take over Monarch and try to kill the Titans, instead of following Monarch's arguments that the Titans are ecologically essential and that seeking coexistence with them is a better option. The world gets extra points for all the Fridge Horror (see here) that attempting to off the Titans would entail. The military seem to think the Godzilla Threshold has been crossed when Ghidorah and Rodan are released, but they have no idea.
  • Mysterious Antarctica: Monarch found King Ghidorah frozen in ice there.
  • Mythology Gag: Enough for its own page.

    N-Z 
  • Named by the Adaptation: Several characters and Rodan's volcano (El Nido del Demonio or The Demon's Nest) get this in the novelization.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Besides the above example with Rodan's volcano, this is lampshaded with Rodan's Red Baron, which he proves in the film is a name he earns:
    Ilene Chen: Local legends call it Rodan, the Fire Demon.
    Mark Russell: That's comforting(!)
  • Natural Disaster Cascade: When King Ghidorah usurps Godzilla's position as the ruling alpha of Earth's Titans, he leads the Titans to inflict this all around the world, threatening to cause an extinction event. We don't see much of the global destruction beyond brief glimpses on video feeds and Ghidorah's spreading Weather Manipulation causing stormy weather around the world, but Admiral Stenz reports the Titans are causing "earthquakes, wildfires, tsunamis, and disasters we don't even have names for yet." The novelization goes into further detail, explicitly noting that if Ghidorah remains unopposed, the global destruction is liable to wipe out all multicellular life except the Titans.
  • Near-Villain Victory: Rodan comes close to finishing off Mothra during their fight, and Ghidorah almost wins and dooms the Earth twice.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The trailer makes it seem Jonah's line "Long live the king" is referring to Godzilla and is some kind of badass one-liner or quip. He's actually referring to Ghidorah, and it's actually a moment of wistful realization that the Evil Plan is officially Off the Rails.
    • Several shots in the trailers also seem to set Rodan up as the hero we know from the Toho films. While he's not exactly an outright villain, he's also a destructive sadist who spends a decent chunk of the film as Ghidorah's Dragon.
    • The second trailer shows a scene of Emma contacting Monarch urging them to free Godzilla as it's their only chance, painting her in a heroic light. In the film itself, not only does she never once advocating freeing Godzilla to stop Ghidorah, as this happens after Godzilla is presumed dead due to the Oxygen Destroyer and Ghidorah awakening the Titans, this is where she fully reveals her Insane Troll Logic, her utter hypocrisy, and her increasingly feeble attempt to claim the moral high ground in front of Monarch and her husband, even it's already pretty clear at this point she's just full of it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • The heroes lead Rodan to King Ghidorah in hopes that they'll kill each other. After Ghidorah beats him up badly, Rodan ends up becoming The Dragon to Ghidorah as a result, which allows Ghidorah to summon him to counter Mothra's interference. Had they not done so, it's likely Mothra and Godzilla may have defeated Ghidorah in much quicker time during the Final Battle.
    • Admiral Stenz and the military, just like the last time that the former got involved. As Godzilla and Ghidorah are fighting off the coast of Mexico, the military deploys an Oxygen Destroyer in hopes that it'll kill both of them. Not only does Ghidorah completely No-Sell it (presumably because of his alien nature), but it severely weakens, and almost kills Godzilla, the only one capable of challenging Ghidorah. Even more so given Godzilla had the Homefield Advantage on Ghidorah underwater and potentially could have won then and there. Martinez lampshades the stupidity of this.
      • Not only that, but removing the sole threat to King Ghidorah's reign, even temporarily, results in him awakening the remaining Titans, the very thing everyone was trying their hardest to avoid. Sure, Godzilla wins in the end but it's not like they're all going to just go back underground.
      • Additionally, it's indicated the Oxygen Destroyer's fallout is responsible for crippling the island fishermen's livelihoods, which in turn leads them to selling Ghidorah's dredged-up severed head to Alan Jonah.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: After Ghidorah is completely destroyed, the numerous Titans he awoke remain awake, now answering to Godzilla as their new alpha, and are healing the damage to Earth's ecosystems not only caused by Ghidorah but also by humanity beforehand. Bare in mind, before this, Monarch was on its last legs short of being shut down by the anti-Titan military and government, and with all the Titans awake and ready to defend themselves, delusions of the military euthanizing the Titans in their sleep (and likely screwing the Earth's future overall) are now a pipe dream. One could argue that The Extremist Was Right and they just royally awoke the wrong Titan first.
  • The Night That Never Ends: The novelization confirms the film's suggestions that Ghidorah's spreading storms during the Apocalypse How threaten to cause a form of this. Specifically, the decreased daylight reaching the planet's surface due to the storms perpetually covering the skies would've on its own been enough to have the effect of a nuclear winter, causing the majority of plant and animal life to die off.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Averted. Ghidorah's nature as an extraterrestrial life form means that his biology defies all laws of known biology. Notably, being a space creature not requiring oxygen to survive and likely not even having any oxygen-containing compounds in his cells, he is rendered completely immune to the Oxygen Destroyer's effects.
  • No-Sell:
    • In the novelization, Kong senses King Ghidorah's call for the other Titans to join his army and ignores it. The Skullcrawlers, on the other hand, eagerly respond, so Kong fights them to stop them from leaving Skull Island.
    • The Oxygen Destroyer, while super-effective against Godzilla, has little to no effect whatsover on Ghidorah. In fact, it indirectly causes more harm than good, since it enables Ghidorah to start the film's Apocalypse How.
    • When Godzilla achieves his Fire form, he effortlessly shrugs off Ghidorah's blasts.
  • Not Enough to Bury: Naturally, this happens a lot with gigantic monsters, but special attention goes to Ghidorah who goes out of his way to blast humans to unrecognizable ashes with his heads' Gravity Beams instead of causing accidental collateral. Godzilla ultimately does this to Ghidorah as a requirement due to the latter's Healing Factor, vaporizing his entire body piece by piece, although The Stinger reveals there's still a (seemingly-)dead leftover head that was decapitated earlier in the film.
  • Not Quite Dead:
    • A heroic example occurs with Godzilla, who flatlines and is presumed dead after being crippled by the Oxygen Destroyer, until Mothra makes the human cast aware that Godzilla is still alive.
    • Humorously subverted in the final battle in Boston. Godzilla unleashes devastating nuclear pulses that vaporize most of Ghidorah's body. After the last pulse, the dust settles for a bit... and Ghidorah emerges from the ruins of a building, having apparently recovered already! Then more rubble falls away, revealing it's just Godzilla swinging Ghidorah's severed head around. That head is still alive somehow, but Godzilla finishes him off with no problem.
    • The end credits montage reveals that Mothra laid an egg sometime before her Heroic Sacrifice, and the in-universe newspapers speculate that the offspring could be Mothra's reincarnation or something elsenote .
  • Not the Intended Use: It's proven in the ending that the Titans serve the purpose of maintaining and aiding the Earth's ecological balance, but Ghidorah instead forces the Titans to aid it in destroying the very planet that they're meant to maintain.
  • Nuclear Option: Monarch deliver a nuclear warhead to Godzilla in the Hollow Earth and manually detonate it to massively speed up his Healing Factor so he can defeat King Ghidorah.
  • Nuke 'em: The military launching their prototype Oxygen Destroyer in an attempt to kill Ghidorah and Rodan (and only notifying Monarch once the weapon is on its way, making them unable to do anything about it but flee to a safe distance) crosses straight into this territory, given that they were firing an untested prototype a few miles away from a populated island, and seemingly didn't bother to get a status update from Monarch on the situation's details before acting. It backfires horribly, as Ghidorah is unaffected by the weapon due to his Bizarre Alien Biology, whilst Godzilla is severely crippled and rendered near-dead by the Oxygen Destroyer; and without Godzilla to fight him off, Ghidorah is able to hijack control of all the other Titans and promptly begin its Apocalypse How. The Stinger furthermore indicates that the weapon's use has wiped out all marine life around the island, which has furthermore destroyed the local fishermen's livelihoods. Martinez lampshades how horribly wrong this has gone.
  • Odd Friendship: The relationship between Godzilla's species and Mothra's species. Monarch scientists theorize that the two may have a symbiotic relationship, though judging by Mothra's willingness to sacrifice herself to protect Godzilla and Godzilla's Roaring Rampage of Revenge after Ghidorah kills her, it's visible how the two may actually genuinely care for each other beyond just mere biological symbiosis.
  • Off with His Head!: Ghidorah loses his left head to Godzilla in the Mexico battle. However, given his powers of regeneration, it later grows back. Burning Godzilla's Nuclear Pulse incinerates his side heads and then his entire body, leaving his still living center head to be incinerated by Godzilla's Atomic Breath.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Hendricks barely has time to get out "Oh shi-" before Ghidorah's lightning blasts reduce him to ashes.
    • Madison also has an "Oh shit!" moment as she realises Ghidorah is looking through the Fenway Stadium window right at her.
    • When Ghidorah's middle head spies a power station in the middle of their battle, Godzilla of all characters has this reaction as his nemesis supercharges himself and blasts Godzilla back.
    • Rodan has this reaction when Mothra impales him through the chest.
    • Look closely at Ghidorah's left head in the shot after Emma's Last Words, when Ghidorah senses Burning Godzilla's approach. Then when Godzilla obliterates both of Ghidorah's side heads, the middle head is becoming visibly terrified for the first time.
  • The Old Gods: The Titans are given this air to them, and several times outright called 'the First Gods.'
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Most of the themes have Japanese chants in the background, but primary note to Ghidorah's, with the chanting being an actual Buddhist sutra (the Heart Sutra specifically) to represent his theme of annihilation.note 
  • Omnicidal Maniac: King Ghidorah wants to destroy a big part of the Earth so that he can make it more fitting for his own biology. The novelization also offers the alternative motive that in truth he simply hates everything that's not him and wants to destroy it out of a love of killing for the sake of it.
  • One Myth to Explain Them All: Dr. Chen's notes in the novelization theorize that the Titans — particularly Godzilla and Ghidorah — are the originators of various mythological creatures.
    • Godzilla and other members of his species inspired Dagon from Semitic mythology, Ryujin from Japanese mythology, the Mimlos-whale of Pacific Northwest mythology, etc.
    • Ghidorah inspired the Lernaean Hydra from Greek mythology, the Zmey Gorynych from Slavic folklore, the Yamata-no-Orochi from Japanese mythology, the Thunderbird of indiginous North American cultures, etc.
  • One Steve Limit: In the novelization, there's another Rick besides Dr. Stanton working for Monarch, located at the outpost containing Scylla.
  • Only I Can Kill Him: Godzilla is stated to be the only thing capable of defeating King Ghidorah. This is because Godzilla is the only kaiju strong enough to beat him and humanity's strongest weapon amounts to a No-Sell on Ghidorah. This leads to the Darkest Hour when Godzilla is seemingly killed, leaving Ghidorah completely unopposed.
  • Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious: The MonsterVerse's trend continues. Bunyip and Mokele-Mbembe are among the seventeen known Titans, and the novelization links Behemoth to the South American cryptid Mapinguary.
  • Our Dragons Are Different:
    • Ghidorah, of course; a three-headed alien kaiju that crashed on Earth during the last Age of the Titans. He has three heads, two tails, Psycho Electro powers, the ability to generate enormous super-storms, and a Healing Factor more powerful than any earthly Titan's.
    • Discussed by Dr. Chen and Mark, the former mentioning that the iteration of dragons as destructive monstrosities was mainly a western concept, whereas in eastern cultures dragons were sacred and revered as much more benevolent entities — highlighting the contrast between Ghidorah and Godzilla.
      Mark Russel: I don't suppose your family has any tips on slaying dragons, do they?
      Ilene Chen: "Slaying dragons" is a western concept. In the East, they are sacred. Divine creatures who brought wisdom, strength, even redemption.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: The new titans are pretty bizarre-looking, namely Scylla, resembling a cross between a crustacean, a spider, and a squid, Behemoth, who combines features of mammoths, gorillas and sloths, and Methuselah, who is essentially a walking mountain.
  • Our Titans Are Different: The monsters are now referred to as Titans.
  • Outside-Context Problem: In-Universe, Monarch is puzzled by Ghidorah's uncharacteristic malice, and his unusual powers such as his Healing Factor, which they describe in-film as "biologically impossible". When they find legends that claim Ghidorah is a "great dragon who fell from the stars", they deduce he must be some kind of extraterrestrial lifeform, which is why he's so different to the other Titans on Earth. It's also what derails Emma's plan. Even though she's got a point about the Earth's Titans "restoring the balance," Ghidorah is not part of that balance, and his awakening is not a good thing for the Earth.
  • Overpopulation Crisis: Eco-Terrorist Emma Russell invokes this in their Motive Rant projecting the Earth's future if humanity remains dominant instead of the Titans, and explains their motive behind releasing all the Titans is so they'll restore the natural balance and force what humans aren't killed during the mass awakening back into an ecologically-sustainable coexistence with the Titans.
  • Parallel Conflict Sequence: A minor case during the Final Battle: whilst Godzilla and Ghidorah are duking it out, their respective sidekicks Rodan and Mothra engages in their own battle across Boston, although it's shorter-lived than the main battle.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Rodan and especially Ghidorah very much, and Godzilla still causes some unintentional or necessary mass destruction during his fights.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • As evil as he is, Jonah has a couple moments, such as attempting to amuse Madison in the elevator and possibly also (depending on Alternative Character Interpretation) when he lets Emma go with one of his people's Hummvees.
    • Emma has a subtle Rewatch Bonus one early in the film, where she attempts to convince a Monarch scientist to go take a break shortly before Jonah's assault arrives.
  • Pillar of Light: Godzilla makes one with his atomic breath as a "call to arms".
  • Plot Armor: The number of main character deaths that take place in this film can be counted on one hand, with fingers left over. This is despite the fact that every main character remains squarely in the center of whatever action is being depicted throughout the course of the story, while literally all of the others who are not main characters are being picked off like flies.
    • There's also King Ghidorah stopping to momentarily glare at Emma] and Madison respectively when he located either of them in Boston, in contrast to the way he killed Vivienne Graham in Antarctica. Probably justified by Ghidorah being personally pissed at either of them for using the ORCA against him.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: The entire plot of the movie begins with the death of Andrew Russell. Mark Russell divorces himself from his family and hates Godzilla for the death of his son, while Emma goes out of her way to communicate with monsters in order to keep them in line, but she also makes a deal with Alan Jonah to raid every Monarch facility to awaken every Titan on Earth, including King Ghidorah, to "cleanse the Earth". Madison points out unleashing the monsters is not something Andrew wanted.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Traffic Jam: Not in the film, but the novelization specifies Boston has one during Ghidorah's Apocalypse How.
  • Power Glows: A recurring theme with the Titans. When Godzilla charges his atomic breath, his back spines glow blue. When Mothra uses her "god rays," her wings glow with blinding white light. And, in a new twist, Ghidorah's necks visibly glow with yellow light as he charges up his gravity beams. Godzilla's blue glow gets more and more pronounced as the final fight with Ghidorah progresses, with Rick counting down Exact Time to Failure before Godzilla goes nuclear thanks to the excess energy of the nuke used to jump-start his regeneration. When this combined with Mothra's Heroic Sacrifice causes him to enter Fire mode, his whole body glows red with firey atomic heat.
  • Power Trio:
    • Subverted in that Rodan is loyal to Ghidorah until Godzilla kills him, so out of the original heroic trio from Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla and Mothra are the only ones fighting against Ghidorah. That being said, by the end of the movie Rodan has sworn his allegiance to Godzilla and a new Mothra egg has been discovered/created, so it's possible a future film will see the Power Trio together again.
    • Played Straight by Ghidorah's three independent-minded heads, who form a Terrible Trio and Freudian Trio.
  • Precision F-Strike: Barnes gets the film's single allotted F when he sees Ghidorah first emerge from the Antarctic Ice:
    You gotta be fucking kidding me.
  • Pride: "The arrogance of man" is still very much in play, from the Eco-Terrorists' plan to forcibly awaken all the Titans and belief they can control them with the ORCA, to the government and military's Suicidal Overconfidence about killing off the Titans, both of which enable Ghidorah to jump-start the Apocalypse How.
  • Properly Paranoid: Now that the world is aware that giant creatures exist among them, this serves as Paranoia Fuel for people to speculate whether there are more out there, whether there are Titans that aim to protect humans, and whether there are those that mean to threaten mankind. Cue King Ghidorah, Rodan, and several other kaiju. There's also the question of how many Titans there are, where they are sleeping, and what might wake them up. Imagine your city is built on the back of a giant monster, and what will happen to your house if said giant monster decides to start moving again. On the other side, the military's use of the Oxygen Destroyer makes the eco-terrorists look Properly Paranoid in their concerns that the military could actually succeed in killing the Titans if they tried.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: During the Final Battle, after his wings are incinerated, Ghidorah desperately attempts to fend an approaching Burning Godzilla off by blasting all three heads' Gravity Beams at him in close range. Burning Godzilla No-Sells it, and what's more he almost seems to give Ghidorah a Slasher Smile in response; before he delivers the next three phases of Ghidorah's Rasputinian Death.
  • Rasputinian Death: Burning Godzilla kills Ghidorah by blasting him with his Nuclear Pulse over and over, the first incinerating his wings, then his side heads, and then finally his entire body in an explosion that levels a huge radius. This still isn't enough, as his severed center head is still alive, so Godzilla bites down on its neck stump and fires his Atomic Breath point blank until he's nothing but atoms. Justified, as Ghidorah's Healing Factor practically requires his death to be this.
  • Readings Are Off the Scale: It's stated later in the film during a military briefing that Ghidorah's typhoon has evolved into a Category 6. In reality, there's no such thing as a Category 6 storm, since Category 5 encompasses all possible readings above Category 4.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Previously a top-secret government agency, Monarch has given up the game and gone fully public in the aftermath of Godzilla's fight with the two MUTOs, since it would be almost hilariously impossible to cover up the fact that three giant monsters half destroyed at least three cities and rampaged across two states, and there's now no reason for them to try. Their mission has now shifted from trying to keep the existence of Titans a secret to prevent a public panic, to trying to reassure a rightfully-terrified public that all possible action is being taken for a hypothetical resurgence.
      • However, Monarch's actual activities are still classified, and the public doesn't know exactly what they're up to. Just because everyone knows they (and the subjects of their study and efforts) exist doesn't mean they have access to everything Monarch is doing. And many are not happy they don't get a say in what Monarch does and how, precisely, they do it.
    • People are naturally terrified by the realization their world is actually populated by ancient, gigantic monsters so gigantic and powerful they can easily destroy a city just by strolling through it and are rightfully worried that more could awaken. People are also left to wonder if they are any out there even capable of peacefully co-existing with humans.
    • Not everyone shares the sentiment that Godzilla is a hero. Mark Russell openly blames Godzilla for his son Andrew's death, and really wants him dead. At the same time, he's well aware just because he hates Godzilla, he's the only reason monsters don't go out and start rampaging.
    • People are more than a little skeptical of Dr. Serizawa's claims that the Titans are ecologically necessary and should be reintroduced to the world... which you'd expect, given the destruction and death caused by Godzilla and the MUTOs five years previously.
    • Monarch is literally on-trial because the government originally founded the organization to find a way to kill the Titans before they woke up, and they've deliberately avoided doing that.
    • Because of his size, Rodan in particular can cause massive damage from the shockwave and wind he generates by simply flapping their wings or flying at high speed. In older movies, barring Rodan's film debut, flying monsters can only create a small gust of wind that couldn't even uproot trees unless they put some effort into it.
    • All of the flyers have gigantic wingspreads for their proportions. Anything as massive as they are would need an extremely large wingspread just to fly (even if in reality it'd be impossible for anything the size of kaiju to get off the ground by flapping no matter how large the wingspan).
    • Ghidorah, having three heads, has occasional disagreements between his heads, as would be expected of a creature with three separate minds controlling one body. This is most notable in the Antarctica scene when the left-hand head stoops down in seeming curiosity to examine the terrified Monarch soldiers as they shoot at it, with the centre head having to snap it back into focus before they start blasting.
    • The Oxygen Destroyer kills all the fish around Isla de Mara. The Stinger reveals that Isla de Mara's fishermen have lost their livelihood and are desperate enough to take any offer Jonah makes for the severed head of Ghidorah they dredged up.
    • Godzilla intercepts Ghidorah midway through the film and drags him underwater to continue their fight. He ends up curb stomping the dragon, ripping off its left head. Ghidorah's not meant for underwater fighting as his massive wings only get in the way, whereas Godzilla is fully amphibious.
    • While it's clear Godzilla doesn't have an issue with humans he isn't exactly the perfect defender of the Earth like he was in the 70s films. Right at the start we are reminded that Godzilla accidentally causes human collateral, such as Andrew Russell. Even when he comes to the rescue the good giant monsters are still dangerous. In Antarctica Godzilla steps over the downed Osprey and his dragging tail shoves it near a dangerous crevice which nearly kills much of the cast. Then during the finale after Madison smiles in relief as Godzilla arrives she realizes it's time to get out of the way of the two fighting giants or else she will suffer the same fate as her older brother. Even Mothra, as she duels Rodan, can't stop her enormous wings from accidentally knocking helicopters and jets out of the sky, or Rodan's as she grappling with him.
    • A creature's biology that telegraphs its long range move, Godzilla's scutes lights up, looks really cool but is a huge warning sign to dodge. Harder for humans on foot to dodge but for King Ghidorah it is easy unless he's completely distracted or is too close to effectively dodge. During the Antarctica battle Ni and Kevin are clearly watching Godzilla's tail start to light up and know what's coming.
    • Ghidorah might be Immune to Bullets, but they still distract him, much like a bugbite can distract a human. This allows humanity to meaningfully take part in the Final Battle by laying into Ghidorah and keeping him distracted during his battle with Godzilla, helping give Godzilla the upperhand.
  • Reclaimed by Nature: Due to the Titans' terraforming effect, it's revealed that this has happened at a rapid rate to the ruins of Las Vegas and San Francisco where Godzilla and the MUTOs rampaged after the first film's events. It can be safely presumed it'll probably also happen in Boston and perhaps other destroyed cities after this film's ending.
  • Recycled Title: The movie shares its name with the Americanized version of the original Godzilla from 1954.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Emma can't possibly atone for the treason, terrorism and megadeaths stemming from both the intended plan and the Ghidorah miscalculation. She does realize she needs to at least fix the latter though and also draws the dragon away from her family to her own certain death.
  • Red Is Violent: Rodan is a Titan with a violent temperament who's a red-colored Magma Man, and even his introductory scene has a Red Sky, Take Warning. And then there's Burning Godzilla, who levels Boston with thermonuclear pulses in the process of obliterating Ghidorah.
  • Red Shirt Army: Soldiers from all branches and nations drop like flies wherever the Titans show up, and sometimes even when there's just humans around. Fighter pilots seem to get the worst of it though, mainly because the two primary antagonistic kaiju are Giant Flyers that go through fighter wings like tissue paper.
  • Rescue Arc: After his estranged wife and daughter are kidnapped by a mysterious organization with its own plans for the giant monsters, Mark joins a rescue mission with Emma's Monarch colleagues, Drs. Graham and Serizawa.
  • Revision: The novelization does this for the first film's exposition about Godzilla and the MUTOs' origin; stating that Monarch's account that they were the surviving remnants of a Permian ecosystem is just the mainstream theory out of several for the Titans origins, and mentioning other theories which effectively give the Titans a Multiple-Choice Past.
  • Rewrite: Instead of a Polynesian island in the Pacific, in this continuity Mothra was found inside a temple hidden in the rainforest mountains of China's Yunnan Province (though Dr. Chen's talk with Mark about her family history with Monarch confirms Infant Island exists in this continuity and the novelization states Mothra is worshiped there).
  • Rewatch Bonus: Emma's plan and Madison being on board with it is neatly hinted at in the opening act, with Madison nervously asking if her father is going to be safe. When Mothra first hatches, Emma seemingly nonchalantly tells one of her coworkers if he wanted to take the morning off, as she knows Jonah and his terrorists will be arriving soon and will kill all the Monarch staff.
  • Rightful King Returns: After fighting with Godzilla a second time, Ghidorah usurps the position of King of the Monsters, with Serizawa even scornfully referring to him as a "false king". The humans then spend their energy trying to revive Godzilla so he can challenge Ghidorah again. It takes a few false starts, but eventually Godzilla incinerates Ghidorah for good and reclaims his crown.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Mothra's death and becoming Burning Godzilla thanks to her sacrifice, Godzilla confronts Ghidorah looking the most furious he's been the entire film and brutally attacks the space dragon until nothing remains but ashes. Taken literally, as Godzilla proceeds his onslaught with a massive roar.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: Godzilla's lair is an ancient city that was part of a prehistoric kaiju-worshiping civilization, now reduced to Underwater Ruins.
  • Rule of Symbolism: In order to firmly establish Ghidorah as synonymous with the Devil, one scene shows him rearing triumphantly on an erupting volcano under a burning sky while the cross atop a ruined steeple takes up the other half of the screen.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: The mythology-inspired names of the other Titans are quite fitting, but it's rather strange that the name "Scylla" would be given to a spider-like desert creature, since in mythology Scylla was a six-headed serpentine sea monster that was once a beautiful sea nymph cursed by a sorceress. That said, The Stinger has a newspaper headline stating that the Titan Scylla is Greek in origin.
  • Scenery Gorn: Washington D.C. gets flooded and generally trashed when Ghidorah decides to nest there. Boston later gets utterly demolished by the battle between Godzilla and King Ghidorah.
  • Scientist vs. Soldier: More minor or in the background than in the first film, but still very much present. This film very much leans more towards the Scientist side of the equation: the scientists are advocating coexistence with the Titans as they are ecologically essential to the planet, and while some Titans are hostile to humans others are indeed benevolent, and a benevolent Alpha Titans can potentially get all the others in line; the government and military meanwhile ignore and care little for Monarch's arguments, and are just trying to use any good excuse to take over and try killing all the Titans indiscriminately with a short-sighted lack of regard for the consequences or how that might backfire. The military even unleash an untested prototype weapon of mass destruction trying to accomplish their goal, and are arguably responsible for enabling Ghidorah's Near-Villain Victory that takes up the second half of the film when they try taking matters into their own hands.
  • Sealed Badass in a Can: Monarch have discovered and contained seventeen ("and counting") new Titans besides Godzilla since the first film's events.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: King Ghidorah is frozen in the ice Antarctica. The film makes clear that Monarch knows that, even frozen and dormant, Ghidorah is NOT anything good - just witness the way the whole room goes silent when Mark asks what's actually in Antarctica. Sure enough, once he's woken things go to hell very quickly.
  • Sequel Escalation: The first Godzilla film featured two types of kaiju, Godzilla himself as well as two MUTOs of the same species. This one has four main kaju, with four more making on-screen cameos. How many Kaiju are there total?
    Dr. Serizawa: Seventeen... and counting.
    • Furthermore, the death count in this film is implied by the end to be not just in the thousands but in the millions or possibly even billions, and King Ghidorah is a much more actively malicious antagonist that the MUTOs or even the Skullcrawlers were.
  • Sequel Hook: So nice, they did it twice.
    • A montage during the end credits discusses the possibilities of rivalries and grudge matches between the Titans, mentions that several Titans are moving towards Skull Island, and ends with cave paintings depicting a fated showdown between God and King.
    • Godzilla has defeated Ghidorah and is now the new King of the Monsters, but The Stinger reveals Jonah, having survived the events of the film, collecting Ghidorah's head from a fisherman for reasons unknown. The novelization even has a character posit that Ghidorah could regenerate a new body from dismembered pieces, leaving it possible that he could return.
    • The ending montage also, if one pays attention to the text being blocked out, reveals not all the slumbering Titans actually listened to Ghidorah and many more are still dormant, allowing for other kaiju to show up in the future besides the announced ones. Even without this, only a handful of the 17 Titans are actually shown.
    • One of the articles in the final montage mentions plans for an expedition into the Hollow Earth.
  • Shared Universe: Part of the MonsterVerse, preceded by Godzilla (2014) (chronologically) and Kong: Skull Island (in terms of release), and set to be followed by Godzilla vs. Kong.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Rodan simply flying releases devastating shockwaves on a city below, due to the raw force of having to keep such a monster airborne.
      • Rodan also has wings with rounded tips, unlike the common, implausible pointed tipped wings that most pterosaurs in media are depicted with.
    • Mothra's design is based on a mix of several different insects, with large eyespots like owl moths, a color scheme similar to a monarch butterfly, a body resembling a wasp and mantis-like forelimbs.
    • Both Rodan and Ghidorah use their winged forelimbs in to aid walking and running in a manner similar to vampire bats and pterosaurs.
  • Sickly Green Glow: The Oxygen Destroyer's blast produces a pale-green bright light, and it eradicates every lifeform except the alien Ghidorah, and Godzilla (who's grievously injured by it) within the blast radius.
  • Snow Means Death: Ghidorah, the single most malevolent Kaiju and the only one who actively threatens to destroy the entire Earth, has Antarctica as his Evil-Sealing Can and the site of his Big Entrance when he's freed. Word of God confirms Antarctica was chosen because its lifeless, barren environment reflects Ghidorah's Omnicidal Maniac true nature.
  • Solid Gold Poop: In the end credits, one newspaper article notes the possible use of kaiju excrement as a fertilizer.
  • South of the Border: Rodan wakens in Isla de Mara, Mexico thanks to Emma. Between that and the military hitting its coast with the oxygen destroyer missile, it's in pretty sorry shape by the end of the film.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The third TV spot plays "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" amidst the carnage and destruction inflicted by the various Titans.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Godzilla himself in regards to the Oxygen Destroyer, which in this version renders him Only Mostly Dead as opposed to the original Gojira, where it left him Deader Than Dead.
  • Spiritual Successor:
  • Spreading Disaster Map Graphic: The film makes frequent use of Monarch's digital global maps. After Ghidorah is freed in Antarctica and escapes, the hurricane he quickly forms around himself (which is shown on Monarch's maps to be roughly the size of Central America) which is represented with bright red-and-yellow color, stands out starkly against the map's blue colors. After Ghidorah awakens all the Titans and commands them to begin ravaging man and nature alike, Monarch's world maps are dotted with over a dozen red indicators all around the world indicating the Titans, and most of the maps are also now indicating fast-moving orange swell lines coating the oceans and continents (the official novelization confirms the swell lines represent Ghidorah's Weather Manipulation spreading storms all over the planet).
  • The Starscream: Subverted with Rodan. He shows no loyalties and basically switches sides based on whoever's winning, but he shows no direct attempt to turn on Ghidorah. According to the mo-cap actors, Ni is a Starscream who wishes he was Ghidorah's leader head instead of Ichi.
  • Stealth Pun: When Godzilla arrives at Fenway Stadium, he appears from the side of the left field wall, which means he's approaching from the Green Monster.
  • The Stinger: Alan Jonah is shown at the end collecting one of Ghidorah's heads, planning to use it for his own goals.
  • Stock Footage: Some of the B-roll used in various scenes such as Emma's Motive Rant, the Senate subcommittee meeting and the end credits is footage taken from the 2014 movie's Comic-Con teaser trailer, the 2014 movie itself (including a joke where the footage of the MUTOs’ courtship is pixellated) and even Kong: Skull Island (the brief visual of Kong’s face is taken from Randa seeing him through his camera lens).
  • Stock Sound Effect: Godzilla's roar now includes elements of his Showa roars, as do Mothra and Rodan's.
  • The Stoic: Jonah is constantly calm and collected despite whatever chaos is surrounding him. Emma Russell tries to be The Unfettered, but is repeatedly proven to be Not So Stoic.
  • A Storm Is Coming: King Ghidorah's powers allow him to generate a gigantic electrical storm via his mere presence.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Dr. Vivienne Graham is eaten by Ghidorah and later on, Serizawa sacrifices himself to fire up the nuclear warhead that can revive Godzilla from the effects of the Oxygen Destroyer.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: When Ghidorah poses a threat to all of humanity after usurping Godzilla as Alpha of the planet's Titans, the humans' solution is to revive a near-dead Godzilla, knowing he's the only Titan capable of defeating Ghidorah and restoring balance.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Dr. Vivienne Graham's death is so quick that even if you were paying attention you might not have been sure what happened or who it happened to. Ghidorah, seeing a group of less than a dozen humans running for their lives, arbitrarily targets her out of the crowd, and in a flash devours the ice upon which she was standing whole. A few minutes later Serizawa is shown sitting in front of a monitor listing her as deceased, just to make sure the audience knows it was her that died.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Ilene seems to take over Dr. Graham's role as the intelligent Ms. Exposition after Graham is killed by Ghidorah, while Mark and Emma both have similarities and contrasts to Joe Brody from the first film, and Mark has similarities and contrasts to Preston Packard and Haruo Sakaki.
  • Swallowed Whole: Dr. Graham is eaten this way by Ghidorah's middle head in Antarctica, and one of the Raptor pilots duelling Rodan is swallowed whole while ejecting.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Jonah's bunker outside of the Boston metro area. The security presence is so poor that Madison is able to snatch the ORCA from the control room, exit the bunker, hike all the way to the control room in Fenway Stadium, and set it running before Jonah and Emma even realize it's gone. In the novelization she is caught by one guard, but shocks him into unconsciousness with a stun gun before he can stop her.
  • Take That!:
    • Stone Mountain, a major Confederate monument, is briefly mentioned as one of the sites a Titan emerged from (and presumably leveled).
    • Jackson Barnes asks if Mothra and Godzilla "have a thing" and refers to the symbiotic relationship between them as being "messed up", perhaps a subtle jab at the "Mothzilla" shipping.
    • An organization of human-looking antagonists attempt to Mind Control the kaiju, including chiefly King Ghidorah, using technology — sound familiar? Except in this movie, King Ghidorah quickly proves to be Eviler Than Thou and is impossible to control from the get-go, and it usurps control of the other Kaiju from the humanoids for its own purposes.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Averted in the Humvee scene. If you listen closely when Barnes says he'd run away like Madison if he had parents like hers, Emma and Mark's voices are squabbling indistinctly in the background, and it's hilarious.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: While humanity and Godzilla have battled in the past, both instinctively realize their best chance to survive is to fight together against the hostile Titans. It's also confirmed in the novelization that Emma Russell feels this way about working with Alan Jonah.
  • Terraforming: It's revealed in this film that the Titans do this on a regional scale wherever they go, with Godzilla and the MUTOs' presence in the previous film having caused vegetation ecosystems to flourish in the ruined cities, and with the awakened Titans' global presence at the film's end causing a recovery in declining ecosystems and endangered species, reversing the ice caps' melting, and even causing a new rainforest to bloom in the Sahara. It's furthermore speculated by the human characters that Ghidorah — the exception to this rule as an alien not of Earth's biosphere — is attempting to destroy the planet as a form of Hostile Terraforming to make it more to his own liking.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Mothra's Heroic Sacrifice against King Ghidorah also gives Godzilla a necessary power-up. The dust from her destroyed body settles on Godzilla, awakening his Burning Godzilla form, which enables him to finally defeat Ghidorah.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The 'Rebirth' track that plays during Godzilla's rising from the depths in his powered up state contains a version of his theme.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Ghidorah makes a consistent habit of using his Gravity Beams, an attack that throws Godzilla around, to attack humans directly. Most of note is when he tries to use all three to atomize Madison, a tiny human girl, because he was pissed at her. Directly before that, he proceeds to level the stadium she's in and much of the surrounding area solely trying to get her.
  • Those Two Guys: Barnes and Martinez serve as this throughout the majority of the movie after the death of Hendricks.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: Joe Morton appears in the scene where Mothra comes out of her cocoon as the present day version of Houston Brooks.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The series' tradition continues:
    • After King Ghidorah awakens, the first thing the G-Force team does is open fire at a three-headed draconic monster that can easily annihilate them without trying. And proceeds to do so. This gets Adaptational Explanation in the novelization.
    • Monarch attempts to lure Rodan towards King Ghidorah's current position by drawing his attention to them. Their jet escort continues to open fire on him when it's clear their weapons are no match for him.
    • The military plans to kill both Godzilla and King Ghidorah with the Oxygen Destroyer. This renders Godzilla comatose and had to recharge while King Ghidorah rules the Earth's Titans unopposed, which in no doubt caused more substantial destruction and possible casualties than needed if they simply let Godzilla rid the world of King Ghidorah.
    • As the Argo is fleeing Rodan, one of the fighter pilots who's being threatened by him decides to eject. Rodan is right behind him, and when the pilot ejects he flies upward, right into Rodan's maw.
  • To Serve Man: Rodan and Ghidorah are fine with making snacks out of humans.
  • Tragic Bigot: Mark Russell, who for the first half of the film hates Godzilla and to a lesser extent all Titans because of his son's death. It's also hinted early in the film (and furthermore in the novelization) that Mark is far from the only one who feels this way and that this trope is a major source of Fantastic Racism towards the Titans: many people want the government to try indiscriminately exterminating the Titans because of the deaths of thousands of people who had loved ones during the first film's events.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Much like with the merchandise, the trailers have made little effort to hide that Godzilla will transform into Burning Godzilla during the final battle with Ghidorah, with him unleashing a Nuclear Pulse as he does so.
    • Plot-wise, the TV spots have done a terrible job at keeping any important things under wraps, notably Ghidorah missing a head as he flies from the ocean, Mothra being killed by Ghidorah's gravity beams in her Heroic Sacrifice, Emma dying as she’s says “Long live the king”, and finally, Godzilla's nuclear pulse that vaporizes Ghidorah.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Godzilla cuts down on a lot of traveling by taking shortcuts through the Hollow Earth tunnels. Making it much easier for him to come to the rescue several times.
    • Averted with the rest of the Titans summoned by Ghidorah, they take so long to travel to Boston that by the time they arrive Godzilla has already killed Ghidorah, and they submit to Godzilla willingly.
  • Triumphant Reprise: As the Argo encounters him in the storm, we see King Ghidorah forcefully flaring his wings while silhouetted in smoke and fog with lightning flashing behind him - and soon enough the film's Darkest Hour takes place, with Godzilla taken out by the military and Ghidorah in charge of the Titans. Later, once she emerges from her cocoon, we see Mothra elegantly unfurling her own wings with beautiful glowing patterns on them, symbolizing the return of hope.
  • Truer to the Text: This version of King Ghidorah is the most faithful to the original incarnation in his debut film, being a sadistic, nigh unstoppable killing machine of extraterrestrial origin who destroys the world not because he's ordered to, but because he enjoys doing so.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: King Ghidorah becomes the new King of the Monsters, replacing the Heroic Neutral Godzilla with an Ax-Crazy Omnicidal Maniac and alien invader as the Alpha of the Titans.
  • Underwater Ruins: Midway through the film it's revealed that Godzilla's lair is in a temple built inside an active volcano, next to the ruins of a sunken Cyclopean city in the Hollow Earth.
  • The Unmasqued World: After the relief that Godzilla was able to save what was left of San Fransisco came the global populace's horrified realization that there are more monsters as big as Godzilla is. As such, humanity has been on high-alert for the five years following Godzilla, even though no significant Titan activity has occurred between then and this movie. And Monarch, previously a secret organization that researched the Titans, has since gone public and publicized their mission, to the point that the viral marketing website for the movie involves them actively recruiting civilian operatives.
  • Unnecessarily Large Interior: The interior of the Argo was clearly shot inside a regular building set full of lavishly-sized corridors, rooms and ceilings. Its bridge alone is larger than your average apartment. It's unlikely that any Real Life utilitarian aircraft, and military ones in particular, would waste so much space on creature comforts.
  • Unplanned Manual Detonation: Monarch plans to shoot a nuclear torpedo at the resting Godzilla in order to speed up his recuperation. However, the submarine's torpedo tubes get damaged in transit, making it impossible to fire anything. So Dr. Serizawa volunteers to take the warhead to Godzilla and set it off himself.
  • Unreadably Fast Text: Saying where in the film it is would be potentially spoiling a deliberately-hidden Easter Egg.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Mothra's death sends Godzilla into one after he transforms into Burning Godzilla. He then proceeds to spend the rest of the movie brutally reducing Ghidorah to atoms in Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Played Straight by the U.S. Army when they unexpectedly intervene in the Kaiju battle at Isla de Mara by firing the Oxygen Destroyer. The weapon's use makes the military directly responsible for seemingly killing Godzilla, and enabling Ghidorah to start unleashing its Apocalypse How on the planet. Especially relevant when considering the director's suggestion that Godzilla would've beaten Ghidorah there and then if not for the military intervention.
  • Up to Eleven: The hurricane Ghidorah generates grows to the point it's classified as a Category 6.
  • The Usurper: Thanks to unintentional aid from the military, King Ghidorah defeats Godzilla and usurps his throne as King of the Monsters. This allows him to let loose all the Titans at once and command them to begin destroying all other life on the planet. Humanity has no choice but to help Godzilla regain his throne before Ghidorah kills everyone.
  • Viler New Villain: Ghidorah and Alan Jonah respectively are much more unsympathetically evil than the previous two films' Kaiju and human Big Bads, respectively.
  • Villain Ball: For some odd reason. Jonah allows Madison unsupervised free reign of his base. Which leads to Madison being able to steal the ORCA — the device Jonah and his cohorts have been using to awaken the Titans — when they leave it in a insecure room.
  • Villain Has a Point: Besides how The Extremist Was Right (see above), Emma also was not wrong that Monarch was in a pretty sorry state at the start of the film before she kicked off her plot, being in a losing legal battle against the not-so-reasonable government's and the public's calls for attempts to kill the Titans (which, had the government's plan been enacted, likely would not have had any positive outcomes, as described under Fridge Horror). She's also got a point about how, even if her plan is more reckless and radicalist than how Serizawa and Monarch are handling the Titans, they're both gambling with billions of people's lives whichever path they take.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React:
    • On the human side, Alan Jonah and Emma Russell plan to forcibly awaken all the Titans so they can inflict Gaia's Vengeance and restore ecological balance to the planet, before the government and military (who are pushing along with most of the public for a military takeover of Monarch) have a chance to attempt killing all the Titans off. Monarch, though they're aware of the Titans' ecological importance and are under worsening fire from the anti-Titan government, are more interested in maintaining the status quo, caging what Titans they find at containment sites and putting precautions in place to (attempt) killing them if they can't be contained, and Monarch take action to try and stop the human antagonists' plan once they become aware of it (specifically once the antagonists fire the first shot in the film with their attack on a Monarch outpost).
    • On the kaiju side, Godzilla acts to defend his position as the dominant Titan once Ghidorah is awakened by human intervention and challenges it again. When Ghidorah successfully takes over the planet's Titans from Godzilla and begins inflicting his Apocalypse How, that's when Mothra steps in to help stop Ghidorah.
  • The Villain Wins: Emma's plan brings about the deaths of millions worldwide. But her plan works. The Titans at the end restore the environment. Even though she is ultimately crushed under debris, she dies knowing that she left the world a "better" place for her daughter.
  • Waist-Deep Ocean: Midway through the film, the 119-meter-tall Godzilla stands upright next to a submarine in the open ocean — in water he was previously fully submerged in — before diving back underwater and swimming away.
  • Walking Wasteland: All the Titans have the potential to be Persons of Mass Destruction, but Rodan causes devastating supersonic winds that can pretty much annihilate whatever's beneath him just by flying over it, Ghidorah produces a lightning-filled typhoon around himself with evolves into a Category 6 hurricane, and Godzilla... Godzilla at the film's climax.
  • Weaponized Landmark: The 200 Clarendon building in Boston—the city's most prominent and distinctive tower—becomes a very handy wall for Mothra to ensnare two of Ghidorah's heads with her silk, and the alien dragon barely has time to react before Godzilla puts him through it.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Ghidorah is very agile for a creature his size both on the ground and in the air. Unfortunately for him, he can't swim, which becomes a problem when he fights the aquatic Godzilla in his home turf.
  • Weather Manipulation: Ghidorah, who generates a massive, lightning-filled typhoon around himself merely by being active, and it grows more and more powerful over time. Furthermore, upon taking over as the Alpha Titan, Ghidorah's Weather Manipulation begins spreading offshoot storm around the globe. Mothra also has this power in that once her metamorphosis is complete, she disperses Ghidorah's storms wherever she goes.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Emma goes along with the plan to awaken the Titans because she believes that they will 'just' cause enough destruction to let Earth rebuild afterwards... and more shockingly, if it hadn't been for the X-factor of Ghidorah operating outside the 'natural order', that plan might have worked out. Jonah meanwhile, proves to be a Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist who just wants to see humanity suffer.
  • Wham Line: One is dropped shortly after King Ghidorah survives the Oxygen Destroyer, revealing that he's an alien rather than another natural Titan.
    Dr. Chen: It tells of a great dragon who fell from the stars. A hydra whose storm swallowed both men and gods alike.
    Mark: You mean an alien?
  • Why We Can't Have Nice Things: The city in the Hollow Earth. It's the historical and archaeological find of the millennium, but Godzilla needs to be healed in order to fight King Ghidorah right now, and the only way to do that is to set off a nuke in his face. For mankind to survive, the city has to be destroyed.
  • Wonder Twin Powers: According to Mike Dougherty, Godzilla's Fire Form is part of his and Mothra's symbiotic relationship, and thus requires both of them to do. It's unknown if it can happen without Mothra dying, however.
  • The Worf Barrage: The Oxygen Destroyer is this. It's fired on Ghidorah in an attempt to kill him and Godzilla. Its impact leaves an Instant Fish Kill, and after several seconds of waiting on baited breath to see the aftermath, Ghidorah emerges completely unscathed by the blast. Ghidorah's No-Sell of it is part of what promptly makes the humans realize that Ghidorah is actually an alien, and not a creature native to Earth like the other Titans are.
  • The Worf Effect: The four main Titans in this film are implied to be more intelligent than the MUTOs in the 2014 film, and this film features "a rival Alpha to Godzilla" for the first time.
  • Wreathed in Flames:
    • Rodan's internal temperature runs so hot, the natural "cracks" in his skin (and wounds incurred in battle) seep out a bright red glow that makes him look like he's on fire, particularly when he takes to the sky.
    • In the final battle, Mothra empowers Godzilla, causing him to enter his Burning Godzilla Super Mode — which as the name suggests has magmatic-looking scales and radiates such intense heat that Godzilla ignites and melts everything around him.
  • Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning: During the final battle, the lightning bolts around Godzilla and Ghidorah have the color associated with them and their breath weapons. Three guesses for who fits in each category.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: A little downplayed, given the implications about how much worse things would've gotten if Ghidorah won in the end. Despite Monarch's efforts to stop them, the Eco-Terrorists' plot to see all the Titans around the world awakened and released on the planet actually succeeds; when Monarch's efforts to stop them releasing Ghidorah fail, and later when Ghidorah proves itself Eviler Than Thou and seizes control of all the Titans for its own agenda. (With the exception of Ghidorah who is an Omnicidal Maniac, it turns out The Extremist Was Right here.) And despite Godzilla's initial efforts to put Ghidorah down again, Ghidorah actually succeeds in usurping Godzilla as King of the Monsters and starting his own Apocalypse How, leading to the Final Battle in Boston where Godzilla and Mothra seek to end Ghidorah and his control over the other Titans.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Barnes gets the movie's only Precision F-Strike when he first sees Ghidorah in Antarctica while saying this.
  • You Monster!: After Emma makes the call to awake Rodan in spite of Madison's protests, which escalates into Ghidorah forcing Rodan into submission, Godzilla accidentally being taken out by the military's Oxygen Destroyer missile and the other Titans awakening to go on the rampage at Ghidorah's command, she gets hit with this from her daughter Madison, deeply affecting her.

"Long live the King."
 
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Alternative Title(s): Godzilla 2

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Mothra

Out of all the Titans in the series, Mothra is the most unambiguously good, appearing almost angelic in its own light.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

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