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Franchise / MonsterVerse

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"The arrogance of men is thinking nature is in our control and not the other way around."
Dr. Ishiro Serizawa, Godzilla

The MonsterVerse is an American media franchise and shared cinematic universe that is centered on a series of films featuring gigantic monsters roaming on Earth, most prominently Godzilla and King Kong.

The movies are distributed by Warner Bros. and produced by Legendary Pictures in partnership with Toho, the Japanese studio that codified the Kaiju genre and owns most of the well known Kaiju IPs. Currently, the series counts four films, which is as extensive as Legendary's initial contract with Toho lasted. There are talks for a fifth film.

Interestingly, the franchise has given Toho enough confidence to throw their hat back into the ring with making a Shared Universe of monster movies after 2020 (naturally featuring people in rubber suits).




Animated Series

  • Skull Island (TBA) - Animated series premiering on Netflix set on the titular island and following a group of explorers as they try to survive the alien environment.


  • Godzilla: Awakening (2014)
  • Skull Island: The Birth of Kong (2017)
  • Godzilla: Aftershock (2019)
  • GvK: Kingdom Kong (2021)
  • GvK: Godzilla Dominion (2021)

Video Games

  • Godzilla: Crisis Defense (2014)
  • Godzilla: Smash 3 (2014)
  • Kong VR: Destination Skull Island (2017)



  • Aborted Arc: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) set up a couple new arcs which were unfortunately completely dropped by subsequent installments.
    • Godzilla vs. Kong and Godzilla: Dominion unfortunately do this to the mass awakening of the other Titans in King of the Monsters. After all the Dawn of an Era / Nothing Is the Same Anymore build-up and drama that was present in King of the Monsters; Godzilla vs. Kong and Godzilla Dominion state that Godzilla commanded all the awakened Titans to return to hibernation not long after, and thus the long-term consequences of the events of King of the Monsters are minimal.
    • The King of the Monsters closing credits mentions that Titans are mysteriously converging on Skull Island after the ending. Subsequent installments have done absolutely nothing to explain this and it seems to have been forgotten about.
  • Actionized Sequel: As the franchise trudges along, the films become much more epic and action-centric than Godzilla (2014), which while not entirely without exciting fight scenes between the Kaiju, is an atmospheric apocalyptic horror film compared to its successors.
  • Adaptational Heroism: While both of them have always had Tragic Monster traits, Godzilla and Kong are presented as almost completely heroic in this continuity. Kong is explicitly described as protecting the creatures and natives of Skull Island from the Skullcrawlers and only attacks the invaders when they threaten his home or attack him first; he even goes out of his way to help and protect the invading humans as they help him in return. Godzilla, for his part, never directly attacks humans at all, the damage he causes is merely an unavoidable effect of his battles and massive presence.
    • The Skull Island natives themselves are also heroic. While in the original film they practiced human sacrifice to ward off Kong, and in various other adaptions they're monstrously deformed, in Kong: Skull Island they are taciturn but peaceful and friendly to outsiders.
  • Adaptational Mundanity: The MonsterVerse is apparently doing this for the Not Quite Human characters of the old Toho movies. The Shobijin who serve Mothra are instead humans with an uncanny Hereditary Twinhood in their family history and an implicit Psychic Link to Mothra. And the Human Aliens who use Mind Control on King Ghidorah and other kaiju (the Xiliens and others) are substituted for genuinely-human antagonists who find Evil Is Not a Toy and become Big Bad Wannabes when they try to control Ghidorah.
  • Adapted Out: Toho has to give Legendary explicit approval to use specific Kaiju for the series, meaning that the only monsters that are licensed out to the company are Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, Ghidorah, and Mechagodzilla. Presumably, this is the reason why Rodan is showing up before Anguirus. That being said, Toho is very supportive of the series, and it's likely that the approval process is based on determining what the movies need as opposed to there being real legal red tape preventing certain characters from being used.
  • Admiring the Abomination: The Titans tend to attract awe and amazement from human characters, Monarch in particular, at least once per film, although it should be noted that this is mostly directed at benevolent Titans who are humanity's protectors rather than at the more malevolent Titans (though the latter aren't completely exempt necessarily).
  • Age Lift:
    • Godzilla has always been described as ancient, but in this continuity he survived the Permian Extinction, which happened 252 million years ago.
    • Judging by The Stinger of Kong: Skull Island, Mothra, Rodan, and Ghidorah are also a lot older than their Toho counterparts. The original movie involving Ghidorah mentioned that he was over 5,000 years old, but based on Godzilla's own Age Lift and the fact that the two have already fought at some point in ancient history, he's most likely significantly older here.
    • In the meantime, Kong is conversely much, much younger than the other versions of the character, which are described as being prehistoric in nature. While his species of ape has been around for that long in this continuity, Kong himself is only a teenager in The '70s and still growing.
  • Agent Mulder: Serizawa's grandfather Eiji firmly believed in Gojira at a time when the rest of the fledgling Monarch thought the creature only existed in stories, Dr. Rick Stanton alone among the Monarch brass believes the Hollow World theory to be true, and Bernie Heyes is a Cloud Cuckoolander Conspiracy Theorist who's entirely Properly Paranoid about Apex Cybernetics.
  • All There in the Manual: In the lead-up to the home release of Kong: Skull Island, social media pages for the movie have been releasing video timelines for the MonsterVerse. Notable events include the establishment of a Monarch research base at a Caribbean volcanic island in 1991 (presumably Rodan's roost), the discovery of Mothra's cocooned form within her temple in China in 2009, and finding Ghidorah frozen in Mysterious Antarctica in 2016. The spin-off graphic novels and the novelizations for each film provide quite a bit of lore expansion.
  • Anyone Can Die: The whole franchise is fond of decoy protagonists and Surprisingly Sudden Death. Curiously, and unusually for this trope, the overall series hews heavily to the Idealistic side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: This universe's entire premise is that the world is filled with these, and while they've been mostly dormant, they're making a comeback.
  • Attack the Mouth: This occurs with the Titans in some form in nearly every film. From Godzilla's Kiss of Death which gets past a MUTO's natural armor to Kong ripping out Ramarak's innards to Mechagodzilla's attempt to end Godzilla's life via a Kiss of Death.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Apparently, a giant winged kaiju (possibly Rodan) caused the Great Smog of London.
  • Behemoth Battle: The franchise's crux, featuring at least one of these battles in every film. The Godzilla Vs. Kong promised Godzilla and Kong duking it out in "a battle for the ages". Instead it delivers three fights between Godzilla and Kong, a fight between Mechagodzilla and a Skullcrawler, a fight between Gozilla and Mechagodzilla, and a fight between Mecha Godzilla, Godzilla, and Kong.
  • Benevolent Conspiracy: Monarch serves as an institution to make sure the monsters are kept in check, and are instrumental in helping the governments of the world prepare and deal with these threats accordingly. That being said, they do far more harm than good in Kong: Skull Island, to the point where none of their people would have died if they hadn't agreed to bomb the place to try and map it.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: The human antagonists in every film. They could all pose a genuine threat in a setting which didn't hold borerline-Eldritch Abomination ancient Kaiju who represent forces of nature. As it stands, these human antagonists often at best end up on the losing end of an Eviler Than Thou or at worst get squashed by a Titan like the bugs they are, often as a direct result of thinking they can control the Titans.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: While the classic films could have some blood, things are a lot more bloody and brutal here. This is especially clear when it comes to monster deaths, which have thus far included decapitations, disembowelments, and visceral incinerations.
  • Canon Foreigner: A lot of monsters are created for the series, including the MUTOs and the Skullcrawlers.
  • Central Theme: Both Godzilla films share the theme of a fractured family getting caught in the middle of the kaiju chaos and trying to survive and reunite.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: There's Zamalek in the Godzilla Awakening graphic novel, Lieutenant Hank Marlow in Kong: Skull Island and Bernie Heyes in Godzilla vs. Kong.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist:
    • Both the MUTOs and the Skullcrawlers are merely animals acting on instinct, but while the MUTOs are portrayed as somewhat sympathetic Tragic Monsters the Skullcrawlers are played for full-on horror. And then they're followed by King Ghidorah and later his reincarnation Mechagodzilla, both of whom are no mere instinctive beasts but are genuinely evil, sadistic and malicious creatures. It's also worth noting, whereas the MUTOs and Skullcrawlers are primordial, natural creatures, Ghidorah is an ancient extraterrestrial of unknown origin who's considered an invasive species to Earth's biosphere and Mechagodzilla is a cybernetic beast of humanity's creation.
    • When it comes to the human antagonists, the films do this more than once and ultimately go slightly back and forth. The first human antagonist in Kong: Skull Island is an insane General Ripper who wants to kill the Titans allegedly to keep humanity safe; then in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), the human villains are pro-Titan Eco-Terrorists who want the Titans to reclaim the world from humanity, then in Godzilla vs. Kong we're back to humanist, anti-Titan villains. However, whereas the Skull Island and King of the Monsters human antagonists were underground, military and somewhat ragtag organizations in their own respective ways, the Godzilla vs. Kong human fiends are wealthy, techy and well-dressed Evil, Inc. operatives who have at least a moderate public image.
  • Continuity Reboot: The franchise represents the third reboot of the King Kong film seriesnote  and the first American reboot of the Godzilla franchise following the 1998 movie.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Earth is a hellish world in which humanity is surrounded by gigantic monsters that have existed long before everyone was even born, and they are basically powerless against them once they awaken and begin laying waste to the world. Unlike the aliens and gods in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or DC Extended Universe, the heroic monsters are rather indifferent towards humanity and can be every bit as destructive as the villainous monsters. However, that does not preclude the monster being friendly and benevolent, as evidenced by Mothra, and Godzilla organizing his fellow monster to help humanity repair Earth’s ecosystem.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Played With. Kong: Skull Island is so far the biggest offender, but despite Monarch's heroism, one can also partly blame the plot of King of the Monsters on them actively seeking and containing the seventeen new Kaiju as part of doing their job (which is what gave the Eco-Terrorists something to work with, including freeing Ghidorah).
  • Death by Origin Story: Quite a few of the human characters are directly influenced by the loss of loved ones in their backstories. Joe Brody's wife Sandra, Andrew Russell, Dr. Lind's brother David and Bernie's wife Sara.
  • Dug Too Deep: This is one of the main causes of the Titans' emergences and is recurring throughout the franchise; with prominent examples including the MUTOs in the 2014 film and the Skullcrawlers in Skull Island.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Emma Russell in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019). It also looks like Godzilla has turned against humanity in Godzilla vs. Kong, but it turns out he was Good All Along. Both those films' novelizations have also featured a couple of Monarch's operatives making these (one due to agreeing with Emma Russell that the Titans should be free, the other for money) respectively.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The majority of kaiju are killed in this fashion, such as the female MUTO having her insides roasted with the Kiss of Death before Godzilla rips her head off.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: One of the core themes of the franchise, with the Kaiju generally being depicted not as Nuclear Nasties, but as powerful and ancient beasts who embody aspects of nature or act as invasive species, and whom humanity is almost powerless against once antagonized. Adding to the Green Aesop is that human activity such as strip mining, seismic charges and atomic testing are directly responsible for the Kaiju's emergences from long dormancy.
  • Gentle Giant: Both Kong and Godzilla are relatively placid (or as much as their size allows them to be) unless they're attacked (although Godzilla doesn't fight back against humans when they attack him and only seeks to destroy the MUTOs).
  • Giant Equals Invincible: There's very little that humans' general arsenal can do against the Kaiju except maybe piss them off. Subverted in Kong: Skull Island where humans are able to easily kill some of the lesser monsters of Skull Island.
  • Good Lips, Evil Jaws: Played Straight in Godzilla (2014), Godzilla vs. Kong and the graphic novel Kingdom Kong; with Godzilla and Kong being the Good Lips and the MUTOs, Warbats, Mechagodzilla and Camazotz being the Evil Jaws. Averted in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) with Ghidorah, whilst the Skullcrawlers have bone "lips" on their skulls.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • Ghidorah, the Big Bad of Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), is somewhat an Overarching Villain, as he's the source of many of humanity's draconian myths and legends, and in Godzilla vs. Kong his partly-alive remains are what set off Godzilla's rampage and by extension the events of the whole film, before Ghidorah briefly returns as the Big Bad by becoming reborn in Mechagodzilla.
    • In King of the Monsters, Eco-Terrorist Alan Jonah is the film's resident Big Bad Wannabe who is responsible for freeing Ghidorah from his icy prison. In Godzilla vs. Kong, Jonah is indirectly responsible for the events of the entire film due to the severed Ghidorah head he obtained ending up in Apex Cybernetics' hands, with the novelization confirming that Jonah willingly sold the skull to them.
    • The Godzilla vs. Kong novelization reveals that Apex Cybernetics, the film's human antagonists, were the ones the government contracted to build the prototype Oxygen Destroyer before the events of King of the Monsters, making them indirectly and unwittingly responsible for Ghidorah's entire apocalyptic Near-Villain Victory in the second half of King of the Monsters.
  • Green Aesop: Humans are not the masters of the Earth, and we should live in harmony with the ecosystem rather than trying to rebuild the world to our needs, or we'll wake up the Earth's real rulers and they'll wreck our civilization.
  • Heroic Lineage: The Serizawas consist of wise naturalists with a profound respect for Godzilla (the exception is Ren who's the latest in the lineage), and Kong's duty of fighting back the Skullcrawler hordes on Skull Island started with his parents before him. There's also Ford Brody and Admiral Stenz in the 2014 film's novelization being the sons of men who themselves served in the military.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Godzilla, though he's definitively an Anti-Hero in this continuity, is initially just seen by most of humanity as a monster and a threat to their peace until the events of King of the Monsters make humanity see him as their savior — and even then, when he begins rampaging seemingly unprovoked in Godzilla vs. Kong, the human race are surprisingly quick to assume he's gone bad. Monarch also get shtick in The Unmasqued World and are often blamed by the public and government for whatever damage the Titans cause.
  • Hollow World: Introduced to the series in Kong: Skull Island, and expanded on in King of the Monsters and Godzilla vs. Kong. Exists in two forms: massive caves and tunnels extremely deep in the Earth's crust (and possibly mantle); Godzilla uses these tunnels for rapid travel in KotM and rests in a massive radioactive underwater cave. Even deeper, there's an empty space at the Earth's core containing a full ecosystem. It is from here, it is theorized, where all terrestrial Titans originate.
  • The Horseshoe Effect: If there's just two things that all the Misanthrope Supreme and anti-Kaiju human Contrasting Sequel Antagonists of every film have in common besides being Knight Templars, it's these: they don't care how many people have to die to see their plans through, and they're too reckless to care that their actions risk causing The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Hostile Terraforming: This trope is generally theorized by Monarch to be the motivations of most of the hostile Titans — the MUTOs and MUTO Prime, Ghidorah, Camazotz — respectively. Forcibly and rapidly reshape the region or the whole planet to suit themselves in a way which kills off the pre-existing ecosystems.
  • Humans Are Insects: How humans are usually viewed by the Kaiju, which is very fortunate because when a Kaiju such as the malevolent Ghidorah or a provoked MUTO actively wants humans dead...
  • Humans Are Morons: Speaking broadly, humans are so prideful that not all of them can ever learn the lesson from each movie's events and just leave well enough alone, often putting themselves as much as the entire planet in mortal peril that could have otherwise been avoided. In all of the first three movies, it's the military trying to contain the bad and good Titans their way that threatens to put the world at large in even greater mortal peril (from the MUTOs, Skullcrawlers and Ghidorah) than before; and immediately after Godzilla barely saves the whole world including humanity from extinction by Ghidorah in King of the Monsters, a Nebulous Evil Organization has the genius idea to use Ghidorah's Bizarre Alien Biology to create the World's Strongest Man for themselves with zero regard for the threat that Ghidorah posed to humanity last time.
  • Humans Need Aliens: One of the core themes of the franchise, often to the ire of the military leaders and Apex Cybernetics. Regardless of humans' attempts to create superior technology and other means that'll enable them to kill Titans themselves, they're simply outmatched by the Titans who are for all intents and purposes Physical Gods, and their attempts to prove they can bend these forces of nature to their will are liable to only make things even worse for mankind. Humans need benevolent Titans such as Godzilla, Kong and Mothra around to defend them against the more malevolent Titans because it Takes One to Kill One. Downplayed in Godzilla: Dominion and Godzilla vs. Kong, where Muggles Do It Better starts to come in.
  • Ignored Expert: Naturally, there's at least one instance per film. Monarch's advice against the military's Nuke 'em measures get ignored in both Godzilla (2014) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) with catastrophic consequences, and Packard in Kong: Skull Island could've avoided a lot of casualties had he listened to Marlow. Emma Russell in King of the Monsters and Ren Serizawa in Godzilla vs. Kong both end up being villainous Ignored Experts to their co-conspirators toward the climax.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: In the original Japanese films, Godzilla (and by extension many of the other Kaijus) acted as a metaphor for Nuclear Annihilation, many of the monsters a product of radiation and nuclear weaponry. Here, it is the other way around, the Kaijus (here named "Titans") originating from an irradiated ecosystem, their massive bodies feeding on radiation and mankind's splitting of the atom being one of the catalysts for their return. In King of the Monsters, it is even revealed that the radiation they exude improves the planet's ecosystem, plant-life sprouting like crazy everywhere Godzilla and the MUTOs went.
  • Kaiju: The series is about gigantic monsters rampaging through human cities; what else would you expect from a franchise built upon the two most well-known Trope Codifiers of the kaiju genre (Kong and Godzilla respectively)?
  • Knight Templar: The human antagonists in every film. Preston Packard in Kong: Skull Island is an Ax-Crazy General Ripper who thinks he's doing his duty by picking a fight with Kong and risking the Skullcrawlers becoming a threat to the rest of the world. Alan Jonah and Emma Russell in Godzilla: King of the Monsters think they're being Gaia's Avenger by actively releasing all the Titans to decimate humanity, unaware that one of the Titans they've unleashed is an invasive alien Omnicidal Maniac who will create an even worse extinction event than humanity. And Apex Cybernetics in Godzilla vs. Kong use a Muggle Power agenda to justify themselves in light of humanity's relatively helpless state in the Titan power discrepancy.
  • Lovecraft Lite: It has the classic conceit of The Call of Cthulhu of beings of unfathomable age and power waking up and showing humanity's smallness — Godzilla himself was at the Castle Bravo nuclear test, the largest nuclear explosion by the United States, and despite being point blank, he survived. This is softened because most of the monsters are much more interested in fighting each other than harming people, with some such as Kong being legitimately fond and protective of humanity, and Godzilla almost goes out of his way to avoid destruction. Furthermore, the only way humanity can survive against the genuinely dangerous Kaiju is via Always a Bigger Fish in the forms of such benevolent kaiju as Godzilla or Kong, and despite humanity's smallness, they can still contribute majorly to the outcomes of the kaiju's battles (i.e., distracting the malevolent kaiju long enough to give the benevolent ones an advantage).
  • Masquerade: Upheld in Kong: Skull Island, since the island itself is hidden away and any information about what happened there is classified. Upheld for about half of Godzilla, at which point Godzilla and the two MUTO completely do away with it altogether.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Despite the much more realistic and grounded tone of the MonsterVerse, there are a number of elements that seem to toe the line between science and supernatural. For example:
  • Militaries Are Useless: The series follows the trend set up in the original movies of the military standing no chance against the Kaiju. Though its also deconstructed slightly, with it being indicated that the primary reason they're so useless is because the things they're up against are so far beyond anything they've dealt with before.
  • Mysterious Antarctica: Antarctica is where Ghidorah was found by Monarch before King of the Monsters, the ancient evil creature having been frozen in a glacier millennia ago, and Ghidorah was notably at the time considered a particularly mysterious Titan by Monarch. It's also revealed in Godzilla vs. Kong that Antarctica is home to a gigantic Vile Vortex leading into the Hollow Earth, and the film's novelization notes that the vortex is much too close to Ghidorah's former prison to be coincidental.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: Everything humans thought they knew about the creatures they share the Earth with is really just the insect kingdom, which humans are a part of; and there was once an entire world of gigantic, radiocative, borderline-supernatural beasts who will fight and kill each-other for dominance and survival (as Godzilla does to the MUTOs, but fortunately these creatures are mostly indifferent to humans the same way we're indifferent to the ants we see in our garden. Somewhat Zig-Zagged, as some of the Kaiju such as Godzilla, Mothra and Kong are capable of higher intelligence and even displaying benevolence towards humans, and King of the Monsters establishes the Kaiju have a cross-species hierarchy amongst themselves which enables them to coexist.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Nearly all the Titans are immune to manmade weapons, and whenever humans build a new weapon specifically so they can kill Titans, it always makes things much worse for humanity instead of making things better. A recurring core theme of the MonsterVerse is that it Takes One to Kill One, and humans who fail to realize that often make things worse with their hubris.
  • The Night That Never Ends: Camazotz actively seeks to inflict this on Skull Island via Perpetual Storm (and actually succeeds), whilst before him it was implied that Ghidorah would've blanketed the entire Earth in endless storms if he won.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore:
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters initially set this up with the dormant Titans having been awakened around the world and Godzilla enforcing a human-Titan coexistence leading to the Dawn of an Era, but subsequent installments unfortunately subverted it and mostly turned it into an Aborted Arc by having Godzilla command all the Titans to return to hibernation.
    • In Godzilla vs. Kong, Skull Island has been engulfed in an ecosystem-destroying Perpetual Storm due to Camazotz's actions in the graphic novel Kingdom Kong, forcing Monarch to remove Kong from the island while all but one of the natives and everything else on the island perishes. Kong ultimately finds a new home reigning in the Hollow Earth.
  • Nuclear Option: Although the franchise for the most part has a Nuclear Weapons Taboo (not solely because of the nuke's destructive power but mainly also because the Titans feed on radiation), there have been a couple times where using a nuke actually worked out for the best: namely against Shinomura in Godzilla Awakening, and when a nuke was used to speed up Godzilla's recuperation in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019).
  • Nuke 'em: At least twice. The military in Godzilla (2014) think it's a brilliant idea to throw a nuke at Godzilla and his enemies and just hope it kills all of them instead of the radiation making them even stronger. Then in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), the military have been working on an even more destructive weapon so they can kill Titans, and they throw it at Ghidorah and (somewhat unwittingly) Godzilla in a seeming panic without bothering to work out what precisely is going on, and the result is... well, the consequences that ensued made it an Epic Fail on the military's part.
  • One Myth to Explain Them All: It's strongly suggested that Kaiju were responsible for the myths and tales around the world. King Ghidorah inspired many civilization's ideas of devils and dragons, and Mothra inspired angels of all things.
  • One Steve Limit: Names in the franchise which have respectively belonged to two different characters include Martinez, Sam, Rick (in the King of the Monsters novelization) and Ilene.
  • Only Sane by Comparison: There have been a few examples of this in the franchise. Admiral Stenz comes off as this compared to the rest of the U.S. government in King of the Monsters, Madison and Josh both have differing shades of comparative sanity among the three-man Team Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Kong, Ren Serizawa is one point less obscenely Too Dumb to Live than the rest of Apex's Mechagodzilla team, and even one of King Ghidorah's three heads gets this comparative to the other two heads.
  • Our Gods Are Different: The Kaiju are Physical Gods and are often described and considered In-Universe to be The Old Gods. Specifically, they consist of various ancient primeval "super-species" and/or the endlings of such species which evolved when the Earth was much more radioactive than it is in modern times (Ghidorah is the exception as an extraterrestrial invader). Traits, powers and weaknesses vary, but they have some things in common. They're in the "Scarily powerful" spectrum, they have Near Immortality if not Advanced Immortality, they're Anthropomorphically Subhuman (being literal super-evolved animals), and their needs are in the "Sustenance and Sleep" category (specifically, they tend to cycle between being active and entering long periods of dormancy). Unlike most gods, being naturalistic, the Kaiju don't need prayers to function, although sources of radiation (which can be considered a sort of offering to them in later films) do feed and strengthen them. Morally, they're generally Exemplars; their temperaments vary from being Destructive Saviours to Destroyer Deities, with Mothra and Ghidorah being the most extreme Kaiju at either end of the scale respectively. Generally, the MonsterVerse follows Henotheism (modern humans generally favor worship of Godzilla as their main Destructive Saviour, but they also worshipped other Titans in forgotten ancient times, and Mothra is still revered) and Polytheism (the Kaiju as it turns out have an Alpha-led hierarchy currently headed by Godzilla, but a rival Alpha can potentially overthrow him). The Kaiju did not create the universe or even the Earth as far as we know, but with the exception of Ghidorah, they're considered essential to the maintenance and defense of the Earth's biosphere.
  • Parental Neglect:
    • In his backstory when he was a young man, Dr. Serizawa was on the receiving end of When You Coming Home, Dad?, which led to a reconciliation in his adulthood when his father revealed the truth of his work for Monarch. The Godzilla vs. Kong novelization reveals that Serizawa repeated this parenting style with his son Ren, but unfortunately in Ren's case it led to him deeply resenting his father and finally turning into an Antagonistic Offspring upon his father's death. Joe Brody was implicitly this towards his son Ford after the death of his wife Sandra, whilst both of Madison's parents (her father physically and her mother emotionally) repeated that pattern after her brother's death.
  • Perpetual Storm: Skull Island is surrounded by a perpetual storm barrier which shields it from the rest of the world. Ghidorah, once he's awakened, begins generating a perpetual hurricane around himself, and it's implied he would've ultimately covered the entire Earth in perpetual storms if he was allowed to reign unchecked. As of the Kingdom Kong graphic novel, Skull Island's perpetual storm barrier has closed in and enveloped the whole island after Camazotz merged a perpetual storm leftover by Ghidorah's rampage with the storm barrier, leading to the island's destruction.
  • Prehistoric Monster: Godzilla, the MUTOs, and many more existed well before the dawn of mankind.
  • Pride: The pride and hubris of human beings in relation to the Titans (who represent nature) is a recurring theme throughout the franchise. Namely, contrary to humans' belief that they are the dominant species of Earth (or that they should be the dominant species after the Titans become public knowledge), mankind are just a technologically-ingenious race of insects compared to the Titans. True to Dr. Serizawa's words below, in every MonsterVerse movie, it's human beings and organizations attempting to harness or conquer these eldritch forces of nature, failing to realize that some forces of nature are completely beyond human ability to control, that always makes things worse instead of better. Whether it be the military thinking they can kill the Titans the moment they become inconvenient yet being short-sighted to their efforts making things even worse for humans, or eco-terrorists who want the Titans to restore Earth's ecology thinking that attempting to manipulate them won't go awry, or a Nebulous Evil Organization being Too Dumb to Live when thinking they can create something more powerful than the Titans in the Titans' image. It's also a recurring theme that only some of the human cast realize and wholeheartedly accept that Humans Need Aliens (namely the benevolent Titans) to survive against the hostile ones, whilst others just refuse to accept that.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Joe Brody in the 2014 film used to be this. Dr. Serizawa is also this, as are Admiral Stenz (most of the time, anyway), Shaw in Godzilla Awakening, and Admiral Wilcox in Godzilla vs. Kong.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Downplayed. While most of the antagonistic Kaiju are reptiles, so is Godzilla. That being said, it could be more accurately stated that some kinds of reptiles are abhorrent - all antagonistic reptilian Kaiju introduced so far have a snake theme, while the heroic Godzilla has a crocodile theme.
  • Satanic Archetype: King Ghidorah is the biggest case of this by far as well as the biggest threat and arguably the true Satan of the MonsterVerse, but there's also a couple other Titans besides him who have Satanic symbolism attached to them; namely Ramarak and Camazotz.
  • Scientist vs. Soldier: This trope seems to be absent in Godzilla vs. Kong, perhaps due to the events of Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), but it's otherwise a recurring theme across the previous movies, and the Scientist side of the conflict are always ultimately proven to be the ones in the right (although the military often get portrayed with at least a little more sympathy than the usual Disaster Movie standard regardless). The military leaders (from Reasonable Authority Figure Admiral Stenz to the Ax-Crazy Preston Packard) seek to use increasingly-ludicrous methods to attempt destroying the Kaiju, and they often don't care to discriminate between the bad and good Kaiju nor do they realize that humanity needs the good kaiju around in order to stand a chance at survival. The Monarch scientists meanwhile, are sooner or later made Ignored Experts by the military, and it can be argued that all the Monsterverse's first three films, the military can be rightfully blamed for causing things to go From Bad to Worse and for unwittingly assisting the hostile Kaiju.
  • Sealed Cast in a Multipack: Many kaiju are slumbering or trapped somewhere on Earth waiting to be awakened in some way. The MUTOs were in a sealed undergrown cavern until a mining organization Dug Too Deep and according to the Monarch Timeline, Mothra is dormant in a cocoon in a temple in China, Rodan is sleeping in a volcano, an unknown kaiju is dormant and contained in Siberia, Kong is keeping things under control on Skull Island, and Ghidorah is sealed away in the Antarctic ice. King Ghidorah awakens a large number of them and Mothra awakens to help Godzilla, but the end credits montage reveals many of them are still out there slumbering.
  • Sequel Escalation:
    • Godzilla (2014) has only one full onscreen battle between the Kaiju as the Final Battle, with two earlier battles which are mostly offscreen, preferring to focus on the human characters' perspective of the Kaiju's destruction. Kong: Skull Island doesn't shy away from depicting the action onscreen in such a way. Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) has lengthier Kaiju battles (particularly the Final Battle), though it tends to show them from both the Kaiju's and the humans' perspective almost equally. Godzilla vs. Kong focuses primarily on the monster aspect, though two human teams, one for Godzilla and one for Kong, have some significant impact.
    • Whereas the 2014 film only has two types of Kaiju in total (Godzilla and the Canon Foreigner MUTOs); Skull Island has a variety of monsters but they're again mostly Canon Foreigners; and then King of the Monsters features the Big Four kaiju who originally featured in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, in addition to a small handful of new kaiju and ten others who are The Ghost.
    • Furthermore, in King of the Monsters, the Apocalypse How occurring in the second half of the film is immediately global in scope, rather than a regional Apocalypse Wow which threatens to go widespread if The Bad Guy Wins like in the previous two films; and the stakes are presented as higher, with the human forces and benevolent kaiju all allying together more directly than in the 2014 film, and with Ghidorah's unnatural true nature as an invasive alien Omnicidal Maniac and a rival alpha to Godzilla establishing it as a greater threat than the predatory Skullcrawlers and Non-Malicious MUTOs respectively.
    • Averted and inverted by Godzilla vs. Kong, which is overall Lighter and Softer than King of the Monsters. There are only three Titans which are part of the major conflict; while Ghidorah does effectively return as the Big Bad when he becomes reborn in Mechagodzilla, his new body lacks his past life's world-ending Weather Manipulation and Healing Factor and is implicitly weaker; and there's a lot less death and destruction both among the main cast and for the world in the fictional setting overall.
  • Serkis Folk: The giant monsters are animated through Motion Capture. The Trope Namer himself, Andy Serkis, assisted in the animation of Godzilla, albeit uncredited.
  • Shared Universe: One of several conceived in the wake of the Marvel Cinematic Universe achieving success with The Avengers (2012), and one of several owned by Warner Bros. (the others being the DC Extended Universe, the Wizarding World, the LEGO Movie series, and The Conjuring universe).
  • Single Specimen Species: Averted for the most part. Most of the important kaiju discussed early on were stated to be the last of their respective kinds, being relics from ancient prehistoric days when creatures of that size were common, so it's generally assumed that this is true of the other kaiju as well. The exception is King Ghidorah, who is a malevolent extraterrestrial whose origins before he came to Earth are unknown.
  • Skepticism Failure: Pretty much anytime that humans doubt Godzilla is really a protector rather than a destroyer. The Hollow World theory, which most of the Monarch brass apparently consider a load of hokum in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, is explicitly proven to be true. It's also worth noting that while the Titans are treated by more objective characters as super-animals, some of the creatures have gotten real Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane hinting at a truly supernatural nature as Physical Gods.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: So far the franchise seems to lean towards the cynical end of the scale, particularly when compared to the MCU and similar franchises. Humanity is surrounded by gigantic monsters that have existed long before everyone was even born, and they are basically powerless against them once they awaken and begin laying waste to the world, and though there are some monsters (Godzilla, Kong, etc.) willing to protect the humans, they can be just as destructive to everything around them as the ones causing said destruction. However, comparing it to its genre, it is surprisingly Idealistic. Godzilla himself is at his most heroic since the late Showa era, and as of King of the Monsters, the fallout from a worldwide rising of kaiju is... surprisingly positive. The environment is benefitted immensely, and humanity itself seems to be reaping rewards too - kaiju waste is even implied to work as a renewable resource!
  • Smug Snake: Packard in Kong: Skull Island greatly overestimates his ability to harm Kong, whilst Apex Cybernetics in Godzilla vs. Kong see themselves as visionaries but are Too Dumb to Live to an insane degree.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: The Skullcrawlers, King Ghidorah, and the Warbats are all antagonistic Kaiju, and all of them are snake-themed. The closest to a heroic snake-themed Titan we've gotten so far is the crocodilian-looking Godzilla.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Not in release order, but if the franchise's film installments are put in chronological order, this trope is in full effect until Godzilla vs. Kong. In Kong: Skull Island, the Skullcrawlers are relatively small by Kaiju standards, and Kong who isn't even fully mature yet can beat back hordes of them. In Godzilla (2014), the MUTOs are nearly the size of Godzilla, they create an EMP around themselves which does a lot to cripple the entire U.S. Navy's efforts to track and stop them, and the pair make Godzilla work quite a bit to kill them both and it looks like they nearly win the fight against him. In Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), Ghidorah is roughly twice the size of Godzilla, he's powerful enough that Godzilla is considered the only force on Earth that can truly rival him (and even then, in a fair fight without Mothra's assistance or watery terrain, Godzilla despite himself does seem to be the underdog), Ghidorah generates an intensifying electricity-filled hurricane around himself merely by being active, and he gains command of all the other Kaiju on the planet except Mothra when Godzilla is briefly incapacitated. Overall Zig-Zagged in Godzilla vs. Kong, where the Big Bad Mechagodzilla is essentially Ghidorah's reincarnation, but is implicitly not quite as powerful as Ghidorah was: lacking Ghidorah's Healing Factor, Energy Absorption and apocalyptic Weather Manipulation, with Word of God and the novelization suggesting the Mecha only succeeded in curb-stomping Godzilla because the latter was already heavily weakened before their fight, and with the heroes successfully killing Mechagodzilla before it can take control of any other Titans.
  • Space Whale Aesop: It varies slightly from film to film, but the overall messages that permeate every film are:
    • "The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control, and not the other way round." The demonstration: the world is actually populated by giant, prehistoric Kaiju endlings from prehistoric ecosystems, whom mankind are ants in comparison to.
    • Don't bother trying to forcibly control or destroy a natural species or aspect of nature just because it conflicts with human interests or is an "inconvenience". If you take the wrong Kaiju out of the ecology, there'll be nothing to keep its more malevolent opponents in check and they'll start wreaking havoc.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Can be found in spades throughout the franchise due to being a more "realistic" take on the Kaiju genre. One major example present in each film is how the Titans affect the world around them; Godzilla rising from the ocean too quickly can cause a tsunami, Rodan devastates a town simply by flying over it, etc.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: A couple characters like Lieutenant Preston Packard and Mark Russell have considerable similarities to characters from previous Godzilla and King Kong continuities. Within the MonsterVerse's own continuity, Dr. Ilene Chen seems like one to Dr. Graham and Ren Serizawa has a lot in common with Aaron Brooks.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Naturally there's a lot in this kind of franchise. Besides Militaries Are Useless, other major examples include: the G-Team standing and shooting at Ghidorah when it awakens (the novelization amends this into a Heroic Sacrifice via Adaptational Explanation); the military firing their untested Oxygen Destroyer prototype at Ghidorah, which unwittingly gives Ghidorah a direct opening to almost succeed at exterminating all complex life on Earth (leading to the military losing a lot of their own trying to fight Ghidorah and its Titan army off); but arguably taking this trope Up to Eleven is everyone who was directly involved with Apex Cybernetics' Mechagodzilla project, which involved using King Ghidorah's still-partly-alive telepathic skull as the brain for the machine (a machine which was designed to be the World's Strongest Man) and doing this after what happened in King of the Monsters with Ghidorah's Omnicidal Maniac rampage.
  • Unluckily Lucky: The human characters and humanity as a whole seem to have this going for them in this universe. As while Godzilla and Kong do cause them a good amount of grief, they also end up taking out the threats that would have done so much worse.
  • The Unmasqued World: After Godzilla and the MUTOs rampage over Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast, nearly seven decades of Monarch and the government maintaining the Masquerade come to an end and the whole world officially know that giant prehistoric monsters exist. Although not all of the Titans are hostile and some can coexist with humans or (in Godzilla and Kong's cases) are straight-up protectors of the world, at first the government and the vast majority of the public in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) think that all the Titans should just be indiscriminately exterminated, not least due to having seen the massive loss of human life Godzilla and the MUTOs caused, and few besides Monarch care for the fact that humanity would probably only succeed in waking and provoking the Titans if they tried exterminating them nor for the fact the Titans are essential to the planet's ecosphere and can reverse manmade damage. After the events of that film which saw Godzilla actively save humanity and the world from Ghidorah and successfully get the other Titans in-line (and also saw humanity's attempt to kill the Titans themselves end up being an Epic Fail which almost doomed the world to an extinction event), most of the former anti-Titan sentiment has seemingly gone away or quietened down, but Godzilla vs. Kong and its novelization indicates there's still some people in power like Walter Simmons who still think humanity should be trying to kill the Titans and become the planet's dominant species again.
  • Viler New Villain:
    • The MUTOs in Godzilla (2014) are overall Non-Malicious Monsters if highly callous, they just want to survive and reproduce regardless of how their life cycle threatens other life, and they do get some Tragic Monster treatment. In the subsequent prequel film Kong: Skull Island, the Skullcrawlers are voracious and relentless man-eating predators who are driven by an extreme, biologically-ingrained Horror Hunger: though they're ultimately just following instincts like the MUTOs, unlike those creatures, the Skullcrawlers are played for full horror. Then in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), the Big Bad is King Ghidorah, who compared to the previous films' kaiju is sadistic to an unnatural degree, being aware of its actions whilst exhibiting unmistakable For the Evulz tendencies; killing humans with no gain other than malicious amusement to be found. Godzilla vs. Kong has Ghidorah's reincarnation Mechagodzilla, who is just as sadistic as its predecessor.
    • This is also present among the main human antagonists. Preston Packard in Kong: Skull Island is an Ax-Crazy General Ripper who becomes more and more willing to sacrifice the lives of everyone around him in pursuit of his vendetta, but he is framed as a bit of a Tragic Villain with how his backstory influences his descent into madness. In Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the From Camouflage to Criminal Misanthrope Supreme Alan Jonah, though in possession of a tragic backstory of his own (which only gets mentioned in the novelization), is a nasty piece of work who not only slaughters people left and right in cold blood in pursuit of his goals, but who is willing to let the three-headed monster he helped release condemn almost all life on Earth to certain extinction so long as he gets to see the human race that he despises wiped off the board. Godzilla vs. Kong has Walter Simmons, a narcissistic utter egotist who has no tragic backstory to his actions: he's simply a self-spoiled industrialist who puts millions of people's lives in mortal danger by instigating and knowingly continuing to instigate Godzilla's rampage, all to satisfy his own ego.
  • Villainous Legacy: Some surprisingly positive in the long run, others negative. After both their deaths, the global Titan-rampage caused by King Ghidorah and indirectly caused by Emma Russell releasing Ghidorah in King of the Monsters has made the world at large much more aware of the power discrepancy between human and Titan and the Titans' positive effects on the ecosystems mankind relies on — beforehand, the population's main sentiment was that the military should try to kill every Titan indiscriminately, and there was little regard for the probability that would only piss the Titans into attacking. It's also revealed in the Godzilla vs. Kong novelization that Packard's attack on Kong taught later generations of Monarch a thing or two about how to effectively tranquilize Kong. On the negative side, Ghidorah left a Perpetual Storm behind after his death which, together with the Dark Titan Camazotz's actions, is responsible for the destruction of Skull Island in Godzilla vs. Kong even after Camazotz was defeated.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Monster Verse


Kong vs. Skullcrawlers

Kong fights a pair of small reptile-like Skullcrawlers

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / PrimateVersusReptile

Media sources:

Main / PrimateVersusReptile