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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 film by Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. It is the sequel to 2014's Godzilla and the third film to be set 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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For the 1956 American recut of the original Godzilla film, see Godzilla: King of the Monsters!. For the Italian re-edit, see Cozzilla.

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

Previews: Trailer 1, Trailer 2, Final Trailer.


Spoilers for Godzilla (2014) will be unmarked

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

  • 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:
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    • This won't be the first time Millie Bobby Brown has had to deal with giant monsters.
    • After King Ghidorah dominates the other Titans, Charles Dance quotes, "Long live the King."
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • 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 flapping his wings 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. 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 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • All Myths Are True: Implied in this case. 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, one individual of Godzilla's species was known as Dagon by ancient Phoenicians (although the interpretation of Dagon as a sea god is questioned nowadays). Chen says this word-for-word after seeing the ancient, underwater reliefs depicting Godzilla, Ghidorah, and other kaiju.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: 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). King Ghidorah is a rival Alpha, who does command the other Titans' loyalty after defeating and apparently killing Godzilla.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: "Pray" by the Japanese rock band [ALEXANDROS] will serve as the main theme of the movie in Japan.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Dr. Serizawa sacrifices himself to save Godzilla.
  • Apocalypse How: King Ghidorah is a living Class 3-6, being described as a "living extinction event" (depending on to what level that description implies), and capable of unleashing enormous, cataclysmic storms. How exactly it wants to do so is through terraforming the planet more to its liking.
  • Apocalypse Wow: Several kaiju all awakening at once and beginning a world wide rampage with the hurricane generating "living extinction event"in a leading the charge. Washington DC is shown devastated by storms and fire among others.
  • 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.
  • 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 claims that it's all due to the memory of her and Mark's deceased son Andrew. Then a horrified Mark blurts out the quote below, which shatters her composure.
    Mark: Doing this won't bring him back to us!
  • 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. You could possibly choose to interpret it as a codename and not as a strict scientific name to make sense of it.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Naturally: Godzilla, Ghidorah, Mothra and Rodan are all central to the plot. In addition, several other original Titans appear in small roles - Behemoth, which looks like a cross between a mammoth and a gorilla; Methuselah, a vaguely ankylosaur-like Titan that awakens from under a mountain; Scylla, an enormous arachnid reminiscent of Kumonga; and a new female MUTO of the kind seen in Godzilla (2014).
  • 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: Although not so much crazy as sadistic and not as much as other versions, Ghidorah as to be expected being totally willing to blast human child to ashes with all three of his gravity beams despite her not having the Orca any more and trying to destroy the retreating Argo with an entire city's population on board unprovoked. He also gives off multiple slasher smiles when he’s about kill someone and the novel states he lives for killing. Then there's the part about trying to knowingly wipe out the human race with a Titan army. Mostly the middle and left heads.
  • 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 ususrps 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 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: Gulty 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 in an empty cafeteria.
  • 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 but not really 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: Alan Jonah, Emma Russell, King Ghidorah and Rodan serve as this. It's the first two who set Ghidorah free, so he could 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, with Emma having a Heel Realization and Jonah content to passively let Ghidorah annihilate everything without doing anything by himself. Out of the four, Jonah and Rodan are the only ones to survive the film, as Emma is killed by Ghidorah and Ghidorah is brutally incinerated to death by Godzilla.
  • 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.
  • 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: In the end, Godzilla defeats Ghidorah and he's recognized by the other Titans as the new King of the Monsters, and its indicated that he's now actively directing the Titans in a way that benefits the Earth while keeping them away from humanity. However, a number of lives were lost to ensure this would happen, at least three cities (Isla de Mara, Washington DC, and Boston) were pretty much completely flattened, and 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.
  • 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.
  • Broke the Rating Scale: The hurricane Ghidorah generates grows to the point it's classified as a Category 6.
  • 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.
  • 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.'
  • 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. Godzilla bears a very personal grudge against King Ghidorah and Mark Russel have a very personal vendetta against Godzilla since his battle in the previous film. Mark eventually lets it go upon realizing Godzilla is humanity's only hope to stand a chance against even bigger threats such as King Ghidorah.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 right head also shows shades of this, using a power generator as an Improvised Weapon to charge up a powerful lightning attack.
  • Composite Character:
    • While Scylla has arachnid like legs resembling Kumonga, his body and head resemble Ebirah.
    • 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.
  • 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. 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 by Dr. Mark Russell when he is brought to Monarch's oceanic base, where he calls out Dr. Serizawa and his team that this entire plot could have been foiled preemptively by either not building the Orca, which he had in fact destroyed several years ago to prevent this exact same situation, or just killing the Titans whilst they were dormant. Given that Monarch's leaders practically worship the Titans, especially Godzilla, his arguments are brushed off. Played With, as killing the Titans would be extremely difficult, given their Nigh Invulnerable status and the fact a nuke would only make many of them stronger, and as shown in the last film with their attempt to kill the dormant Male MUTO very likely to only succeed in enraging them if they weren't actually capable of killing them.
  • Credits Gag: At one point of the main credits, after the newsreel, the four main kaiju are listed as playing themselves.
  • 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 kills 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.
  • 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: "To feed, to fight, or to f... something more intimate."
  • 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, King Ghidorah has usurped the title of King of the Monsters and let loose all the Titans on Earth to ravage it and terraform it to his liking. 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.
  • Death World:
    • King Ghidorah's endgame is to turn Earth into this via Hostile Terraforming, making it more to his own liking but inhospitable to life as we know it. Ghidorah doesn't give a darn about the later fact, and if anything seems to enjoy the deaths his actions are causing.
    • Godzilla's temple is so highly radioactive that even protective gear isn't enough to protect one from radiation poisoning. Serizawa voluntarily goes by himself to revive Godzilla with a nuclear warhead to recharge him.
  • 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.
  • Destroy the Product Placement: King Ghidorah lands and knocks over a helpless Dunkin Donuts billboard.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Emma didn't see King Ghidorah flying Off the Rails coming and certainly didn't see him being an alien invader who actively wants to destroy life as we know it coming either.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The Orca works by taking over the "alpha" role and communicating authority, rather than some magic that compels obedience. Despite this being her area of research and presumably agreeing with Monarch's thinking that "Monster Zero" is a rival alpha to Godzilla it doesn't occur to Emma that Ghidorah may have a "different" response than the Titans in general. Oh he hears and understands it, he just thinks it should be killed.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Elemental Powers: Rodan, Mothra, and Ghidorah are all cited as having at least one:
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Mothra's sacrifice allows Godzilla to become Fire Godzilla and use a supercharged version of his Nuclear Pulse to obliterate Ghidorah.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Rodan obliterates 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 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 Russel 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.
  • 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.
  • Flashback: The film opens by revisiting the devastation caused to San Francisco by Godzilla's battle with the MUTO from the perspective of the Russells as they search 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" instead of "怪獣王ゴジラ" 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.
    • 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 Doughty 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.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Emma thinks she's enacting this, using the Orca to reawaken the Titans one at a time in order to restore the natural balance between mankind and nature - nature's revenge for man's destructive ways. In practice it's not that simple, as she screws 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.
  • The Ghost: of the 17 known Titans on Earth, 8 are mentioned but never actually shown onscreen (Leviathan, Baphomet, Abaddon, Typhoon, Tiamat, Mokele Mbembe, Sargon, and Bunyip). Kong isn't seen in this film either, but he appeared previously in Kong: Skull Island.
  • 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 deploying the Oxygen Destroyer and then with detonating a nuke to revive Godzilla, Dr. Serizawa sacrificing himself in the process.
  • Gone Horribly Right: In Rick'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 Versus Destoroyah.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Emma's plan is to bring balance back to the world through the kaiju by waking the Titans one at a time so the destruction they cause isn't too severe. The problem being, as the undisputed Alpha once the military accidentally takes out Godzilla with the oxygen destroyer missile, Ghidorah wakes all the other Titans at once, causing events to spiral totally out of her control. Worse yet, it's soon discovered that Ghidorah is an alien invader who has no intention of restoring balance to the world, but destroying it and making it his own.
  • 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. 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 device 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.
  • Handshake Refusal: When they first meet, Dr. Sam Coleman offers a handshake to Mark Russell. Mark ignores him, so Sam puts his hand down.
  • 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 Sub Committee: 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.
  • 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, Ghidorah taking over and subsequently awakening each and every one of the Titans at the same time 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:
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hostile Terraforming: King Ghidorah's endgame: awaken the Titans and command them to terraform Earth into something more to his preferences.
  • Hostile Weather: King Ghidorah naturally generates a giant hurricane around him. By the end of the film, the lightning from the storm has gotten so intense it can straight up disintegrate unfortunate people who get hit. Rodan is also capable of bringing strong hurricanes with his wings.
  • 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...
    • ...which leads directly to our second point: Emma and Alan Joseph 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.
  • 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 and Alan Jonah want to awaken the Titans to wipe out humanity for what it's done to the planet as "parasites" and "give it back" to the Titans as the rightful rulers. The problem? The "champion" they awaken to lead the Titans, King Ghidorah, is all but outright stated to be an alien that wants to terraform the planet to his specific ideal, meaning he has even less rightful claim to the planet than humans do. That said, it's implied that they weren't completely aware of this, but Alan doesn't care anyway.
    • When Emma wants to go looking for her daughter Alan coldly tells her that the mission is more important than one life. Then she pulls a gun on him... and he instantly decides to let her go rather than risk HIS life. Played with in practice; he seems more vaguely amused by Emma's defiance than anything, and makes clear he's happy for her to leave as his group doesn't need her any more.
  • If It Swims, It Flies: Monarch has drones that can transition from submersible to aerial.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Their Own Image: King Ghidorah's plan is to use Hostile Terraforming to destroy the Earth and remake it into something more preferable to him.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • It's All About Me: Unsurprisingly, Ghidorah could be seen as this. His goal centers entirely on his own benefit at the cost of billions of other lives.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: 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: King Ghidorah orders his Titan army to attack the world's major cities and personally ravages Washington DC alongside Rodan. Notably, while he does want to terraform the planet, he seems to actively prioritize human cities and takes pleasure in 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 a shared one towards Emma Russell when they exposit 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.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: During the evacuation of Isla de Mara, a local and her son are knocked sprawling to the ground by a tourist who yells at them to get out of his way - who then stops and stares as Rodan wakes up in the volcano. When Rodan flies over the city in pursuit of the Argo, the two locals are saved by G-Team while the still-gawking tourist is blown away by Rodan's shockwaves.
  • 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 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 worshipped monsters being chanted throughout.
  • 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.
  • Losing Your Head: Ghidorah's center head is still alive, even after Fire 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 Fire 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.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Mark blames Godzilla for the death of his son Andrew in the incidents of the last moive, even though the MUTOs were to blame for the destruction of San Francisco and Godzilla was actually the one who stopped them.
  • 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-hand one 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 intelligent. 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.)
  • Mysterious Antarctica: Monarch found King Ghidorah frozen in ice there.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In Monarch's timeline on Twitter, Ghidorah is dubbed Monster Zero. He's called this in the film, since he's so old and so dreaded there's no other information about him to be had.
    • In the anti-Titan protest during the opening scenes, one of the protesters' signs reads Destroy All Monsters.
    • Ghidorah is found under Antarctica, similar to how his Millennium incarnation is found in an ice cave.
    • In a Freeze-Frame Bonus, you can see that Castle Bravo's anti-Titan weapons are masers, the go-to option in the Toho films.
    • Rodan is found sleeping in a volcano. In Rodan, the two Rodans seemingly perish on the side of an erupting volcano, and one is revealed to have survived in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster.
    • In a similar vein, Rodan's being tied to fire basically makes him Fire Rodan from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (minus the Breath Weapon).
    • The Oxygen Destroyer returns as a military-developed weapon that almost kills Godzilla. On top of that, though it's delivered by missile, a schematic shows that, within the missile, the Oxygen Destroyer consists of that same capsule with a central-sphere design that it sported in its original incarnation.
    • According to actress Vera Farmiga, her character Dr. Emma Russell has discovered a way to communicate with the Titans, which may be a reference to Miki Sagusa and the Psychic program in the Heisei series. She also mentioned that said communication involves a bioacoustic process, much like how the Hanna-Barbera cartoon had the crew of the Calico summon Godzilla using a sonar device.
    • In the finale Ghidorah targets Madison after working out she's connected to the Orca device. This isn't the first time Ghidorah was a bit of a child hater. In Rebirth of Mothra 3, he specifically kidnapped many children with the intention of eventually eating them.
    • In the novelization, Mothra is stated to be worshipped under the name "Mosura" on an Indonesian island, confirmed to be Birth Island in a Freeze-Frame Bonus of the movie; and that some myths about her depict similar but destructive moth deities, a reference to Battra. Dr. Ling Chen and her twin sister are a reference to the Shobijin — being directly descended from a lineage of Mothra's priestesses, all of whom are twin sisters, and being revealed in the novelization to share an almost mystical connection to the moth goddess.
    • Believe it or not, "Clair de Lune" can be heard in the background in Terror of Mechagodzilla during a café scene involving Ichinose and Katsura.
    • Godzilla vs. Destoroyah:
      • After being supercharged by Serizawa's nuke, Godzilla starts undergoing a Phlebotinum Overdose with the main characters scrambling to evacuate before he self-destructs.
      • Godzilla's Super Mode is him covered in flames and glowing red lines in his skin whilst radiating super-intense heat, akin to his Burning Godzilla meltdown form. Said Super Mode is also referred to as Godzilla entering "critical mass", a nod to the game Godzilla Unleashed where monsters could undergo a similar transformation of the same name.
    • During a slideshow montage of all the numerous Titans that Monarch knows about, the scientific name shown for Kong is Megaprimatus Kong, which was his scientific name in supplementary material of King Kong (2005).
    • The Titans Scylla and Methuselah are based on Toho kaiju Kumonga and Anguirus respectively. In the case of Scylla this is given an even bigger nod by having her emerge in Arizona, which is where Kumonga appeared in Godzilla: Final Wars.
    • Misanthropic humans (or at least humanoids) seeking to use the monsters to terraform Earth to their liking connects with the Xiliens, similarly misanthropic humanoids who use kaiju to wreak havoc on humanity in preparation for terraforming.
    • Mothra's energy revives Godzilla and gives him a red colored Finishing Move to kill the Big Bad with, just like what happened in Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla 2, just with Mothra instead of Rodan.
    • Mothra doesn't have her twin Shobijin heralds, though Dr. Chen of MONARCH has a twin sister, also in the organization, both are connected to Mothra, and their mothers and grandmothers were also twins and also involved in the organization, leading to some very raised eyebrows for those seriously up on their Mothra lore.
    • The concept of eco-terrorists unleashing King Ghidorah (and the main female member of the team having a change of heart) calls back to Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, though with a more faithful-to-the-original version of Ghidorah (and without the time travel).
    • When Ghidorah regenerates his left head after it got ripped off, as it grows back there's a few seconds where his lower jaw is split before it fuses. In some concept art of Ghidorah for Rebirth of Mothra 3, he was portrayed with a split jaw.
    • In order to save millions of lives, Serizawa must make a sacrifice by locating Godzilla under the ocean, and detonate a man-made superweapon at his location. The difference is that in the original film, it was to defeat Godzilla with the Oxygen Destroyer. In the film, it's to save him with a nuclear warhead.
    • An ancient underwater human empire worshipping kaiju as gods is similar to Mu and Seatopia (though those still had humans living there while underwater).
    • A nuclear sub is sent to the bottom of the ocean to nuke Godzilla to empower him to defeat King Ghidorah. Of course this time it goes far better for the sub and the humans.
    • Steve Martin is credited as the author of one of the articles seen in the end credits montage.
    • When all seems lost for Godzilla in his final battle against King Ghidorah, Mothra sacrifices herself so her atomized remains and life energy are absorbed into Godzilla's body, which revives him, grants him his "Burning" Super Mode, and provides him with the brand new Nuclear Pulse ability. In Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, when Mechagodzilla has destroyed Godzilla's hind brain and paralyzed him, a fatally-injured Rodan sacrifices himself so Godzilla absorbs his lifeforce, which regenerates him and provides the brand new, red-colored, Spiral Heat Ray.
    • Another blink and you miss it moment, Monarch's official scientific designation for Godzilla is Titanus Gojira.
    • Mothra (or another of her species) being revealed to be Not Quite Dead post-credits after her Heroic Sacrifce against Ghidorah is similar to her doing the same in Godzilla: Final Wars.
    • One of the Titans, Leviathan, is in Loch Ness, implying that it's the origin of the Loch Ness Monster legend. Toho actually nearly made a kaiju film staring Nessie in 1978 in co-production with Hammer Horror and got far enough into production for posters to be made.
    • One of the unseen Titans is the Yamata no Orochi, which, aside from being a multi-headed mythological dragon, is indeed a real Toho kaiju (which has only faced Godzilla in manga/comics), partly the inspiration for King Ghidorah, and in at least one continuity, the same species as King Ghidorah.
  • 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 outright.
    • 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.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Averted. King 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 Body Left Behind: Godzilla, in his Fire form, brutally kills Ghidorah by vaporizing his entire body and then grabbing the remaining head in his mouth and then chars it into nothing but a bunch of atoms, completely destroying any trace of the alien forever. Until The Stinger, where the fate of the head Godzilla bit off earlier in the film is addressed. . .
  • 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 not only leaves Ghidorah unchecked in the alpha position but leads to him awakening the other Titans, who cause mass destruction as the converge on Ghidorah's position.
    • When Godzilla achieves his Fire form, he effortlessly shrugs off Ghidorah's blasts.
  • Not Quite Dead:
    • 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 .
  • 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. Fire 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 Mothra webs Ghidorah's heads to a building, the sole free one has a look of this as he sees Godzilla's reflection in said skyscraper shortly before the Big G throws him through it.
    • When Ghidorah's right 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.
    • Ghidorah understandably has this reaction when Fire Godzilla begins incinerating him with his Nuclear Pulse.
  • Ominous Japanese Chanting: Most of the themes have this 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.
  • The Old Gods: The Titans are given this air to them, and several times outright called 'the First Gods.'
  • 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.
    • Jonah turns out to be one. He's so sickened with humanity's nature he's perfectly happy to allow Ghidorah to have his way.
  • 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 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.
  • Our Titans Are Different: The monsters are now referred to as Titans.
  • 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.
  • Outside-Context Problem: In-Universe, Ghidorah is established as such when Monarch pieces together that he's an alien, and thusly he wants to terraform Earth to be more to his liking.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Precision F-Strike: Barnes gets the film's single allotted F when he sees Ghidorah first emerge from the Antarctic Ice, making the first Godzilla film to use it:
    You gotta be fucking kidding me.
  • Precursors: The Titans were once worshipped 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 by Ghidorah's arrival. 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 goes into more detail about it.
  • Pillar of Light: Godzilla makes one with his atomic breath as a "call to arms".
  • Power Trio: Reunites Godzilla with his allies (and enemy) from Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. Subverted in that Rodan remains loyal to Ghidorah until Godzilla kills him, making it a case of The Leader and The Lancer versus the Big Bad and The Dragon.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Rasputinian Death: Fire 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.
  • 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 destroyed a city, 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.
    • 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 Russo 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 only 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 their size, Rodan and Ghidorah can cause massive damage from the shockwave and wind they generate 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 worshipped there).
  • 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 Fire 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-worshipping 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The place where Ghidorah is frozen is designated Outpost 32 — Outpost 31 being the setting of another movie involving a frozen monster escaping.
    • Just before the undersea ruins explode, a statue of Pazuzu can be seen.
    • Ghidorah's pose while roaring atop the volcano resembles Chernobog atop Bald Mountain. Fitting, considering both are analogs of the Devil.
      • Rodan also bears a close resemblance to the Firebird in Fantasia 2000.
    • The scene where Ghidorah regenerates his missing head also brings to mind the Hydra from Hercules, membranous sac and all. Thank goodness he only regrows one head.
    • From the trailer: "One King To Rule Them All".
    • A minor human character is named Harryhausen.
    • Rick and Morty stickers are on Madison's laptop cover.
    • Stanton sarcastically refers to King Ghidorah as "Moe, Larry and Curley". Ghidorah's middle head fittingly bosses around the other two heads hitting them into submission just as Moe does to Larry and Curley.
    • The Titan Scylla resembles the spider-squid aliens from Gareth Edwards' film Monsters.
    • A newspaper headline during the credits speculates on possibly using Kaiju feces as fertilizer, an idea previously discussed by Hannibal Chau in Pacific Rim.
    • The scene where Rodan swallows an ejecting pilot is shot remarkably similarly to the scene in The Giant Claw where the titular monster does the same thing to the parachuting pilot of a downed plane.
    • The stinger's Sequel Hook contains a reference to Jay-Z and Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild" — a newspaper headline reads "What's a King to a God?"
    • The novelization make several allusions to the Cthulhu Mythos, with Monarch discovering the existence of an ancient Titan-worshipping civilization predating recorded history, the G-Team expressing horror at how unnatural the Titans and their abilities are following Rodan's awakening. Godzilla's lair is a sunken prehistoric cyclopean city, and King Ghidorah is discovered in Antarctica and its powers are described as being eldritch.
  • 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.
    • 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. She also somewhat resembles the Male MUTO of the first film, which implies that they are related as they share anatomical characteristics.
    • Both Rodan and Ghidorah use their winged forelimbs in to aid walking and running in a manner similar to vampire bats and pterosaurs.
  • 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.
  • Spiritual Successor:
  • 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.
  • 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 and the Senate subcommittee meeting is footage taken from the 2014 movie's Comic-Con teaser trailer.
  • Stock Sound Effect: Godzilla's roar now includes elements of his Showa roars, as do Mothra and Rodan's.
  • A Storm Is Coming: King Ghidorah's powers allow him to generate a gigantic electrical storm via his mere presence.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Take That!:
    • Stone Mountain, a major Confederate monument, is briefly mentioned as one of the sites a Titan emerged from (and presumably leveled). Given the fact that director Michael Dougherty’s half-Vietnamese, this cannot be a coincidence.
    • 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.
  • 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 Fire 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 charging all three heads' Gravity Beams, an attack that throws Godzilla around, to atomize Madison, a tiny human girl, because he was pissed at 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.
  • Token Good Teammate: Good is a major stretch but Ghidorah’s right head is the least sadistic of the three heads.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Much like with the merchandise, the trailers have made little effort to hide that Godzilla will transform into Fire 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 to exterminate humanity and perform Hostile Terraforming to Earth to turn it into something more akin to his liking. Humanity has no choice but to help Godzilla regain his throne before Ghidorah kills everyone.
  • 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 space monster that can easily annihilate them without trying. And proceeds to do so.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Mothra's death sends Godzilla into one after he transforms into Fire Godzilla. He then proceeds to spend the rest of the movie brutally reducing Ghidorah to atoms in Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Villain Ball: For some odd reason. Jonah allows Madison unsupervised free reign of his base. Which leads to...
    • Jonah and his cohorts leave the Orca (The most valuable weapon in their arsenal) in a insecure room. Madison is able then to steal it.
  • Villain Has a Point: As the ending credits montage shows, waking up the Titans was not, in and of itself, a bad thing. If anyone had the great good sense to exclude Ghidorah from that list, there would have been zero problems and many, many solutions.
  • The Villain Wins: Emma's plan brings about the deaths of millions worldwide. But her plan works. The Titans reduce overpopulation and 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Fire 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.
  • 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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Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster

[[Characters/GodzillaTheGhidorahs King Ghidorah]] in this film is outright referred to as "The Devil with Three Heads," and is also alluding to the form Satan takes in the [[Literature/BookOfRevelation The Book of Revelation]] that being of a multi-headed dragon.



A cross is also seen in the foreground.

Example of:

Main / SatanicArchetype
Main / SatanicArchetype

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