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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, while a live-action series set in the universe is in development at Apple TV+. In March 2022, it was announced that a new MonsterVerse project would begin filming in Australia by the end of the year, with no other details given other than it being a sequel to Godzilla vs. Kong; it would later be announced that Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard would return to direct the new film. The film was later announced to release on the 15th of March, 2024.


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).



Live-Action Series

  • Untitled series (TBA) - Live action series premiering on Apple TV+ featuring Godzilla and the Titans, centered on a family discovering secrets about their history linking them to Monarch.

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)
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  • 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)

Tropes appearing in multiple installments of the MonsterVerse:

  • 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.
  • Ace Pilot: Lauren Griffin in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) is credited as this, and Kingdom Kong features several of these.
  • Action Girl: Mothra once again is a particularly powerful case. Among the humans, there's Mason Weaver in Kong: Skull Island, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) and to a lesser extent Godzilla vs. Kong have dropped hints of Madison being a teenage one, plus there's several Ace Pilots who try to fight Camazotz in Kingdom Kong.
  • 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 Badass: Pretty much all of the major Kaiju carrying over from Toho and King Kong — Godzilla, King Kong, Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah and Mechagodzilla — get this treatment, becoming far more powerful, skilled and/or durable.
  • Adaptational Explanation: The novelizations provide some expansion which clears up a few Headscratchers and other plotholes in the movies.
  • 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.
    • The MonsterVerse's iteration of Skull Island also adapts out the dinosaurs of older King Kong movies and instead utilizes mostly Big Creepy-Crawlies.
  • 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.
  • Alien Blood: Some of the creatures on Skull Island bleed black, green or even white blood, as do the Warbats in Godzilla vs. Kong, whilst Ghidorah who is an actual extraterrestrial in Godzilla: King of the Monsters bleeds black blood.
  • 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.
  • Animal Nemesis: Both of the main protagonist Kaiju, Godzilla and Kong, have respectively been this to various human characters at times, and every time they have, it's either the deconstructed version of the trope or said humans are presented as fallacious and vindictive antagonists. Packard in Kong: Skull Island is obsessed with killing Kong, whilst Mark Russell and Ren Serizawa both respectively want Godzilla dead due to Misplaced Retribution over Godzilla's indirect role in their loved ones' deaths.
  • Animals Respect Nature: Godzilla and Kong in this continuity are basically an Animalistic Abomination and a colossal Gentle Gorilla respectively, who each in their own way keep the ecosystems they govern in check: Kong maintains Skull Island's ecosystem whilst Godzilla maintains the global ecosphere as his own territory, combating Kaiju-sized invasive species which threaten those ecosystems. Spin-off materials such as Godzilla: Dominion and the Godzilla vs. Kong novelization outright confirm that Godzilla is conscious of the positive effects his victories have on the world's ecosphere and he considers them good. Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) in particular explores the notion that the majority of Earth's Kaiju (Titans) are guardians and antibodies which maintain the balance of nature, although it's ultimately shown that most of those other Titans only enforce the natural order when they're strictly under Godzilla's control, not when they're following their own whims or when they're under the control of a more malignant Alpha Titan.
  • Anti-Villain: The MUTOs in the original 2014 film are by far the least malevolent kaiju antagonists in the franchise, being motivated solely to reproduce and carve out territory, and Godzilla himself ultimately becomes this in Godzilla vs. Kong when he goes on a rampage trying to find Ghidorah's Not Quite Dead remnant. Admiral Stenz with his Wrong Genre Savvy stance on the Titans and inability to learn his lesson coupled with his genuine well intentions can be seen as this.
  • 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 Versus Cynicism.
  • As You Know: Joe Brody in the 2014 film tells his wife whose job is looking at the nuclear reactor even more directly than him what'll happen if she gets caught in the radiation leakage, and Mark Russell in King of the Monsters snaps at Coleman for talking as if he doesn't know what the ORCA is even though he worked on the prototype.
  • 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.
  • Bald of Evil: Packard, the Ax-Crazy Big Bad Wannabe who is obsessed with killing Kong in Kong: Skull Island. This trope is also downplayed and Played Straight in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), with that film's Big Bad Wannabe Alan Jonah and a couple of his Mooks respectively.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: Both the Final Battles in the 2014 film and King of the Monsters see the city smouldering and set aflame beneath the cloud-darkened sky.
  • Battle in the Rain: One of the Kaiju battles in Godzilla (2014) (although we only see that battle's beginning). Also nearly every battle against Ghidorah after he departs Antarctica in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), which is justified in his case because his Weather Manipulation forms a rainy Perpetual Storm wherever he goes. There's also Kong's battle against Camazotz in Godzilla vs. Kong, again justified by Camazotz causing a Perpetual Storm to close in over Skull Island.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • In Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Mark Russell starts the movie wanting Godzilla dead due to a bitter grudge over the past death of his son — the Oxygen Destroyer seemingly grants Mark his wish, but he can't take any joy in it as Godzilla's apparent death directly enables King Ghidorah to begin wreaking global destruction unopposed.
    • Madison has apparently gotten this between Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Godzilla vs. Kong, as in the latter movie she's no longer as interested as she once was in having a normal life, but her biased father won't let her return to being homeschooled and she finds she's miserable in a public school.
    • In the Godzilla vs. Kong novelization, Ren Serizawa gets this during his death — he wanted to be able to feel like a god indefinitely by finding a permanent power source for his psionically-controlled Mechagodzilla, and once Ghidorah's remains take over the Mecha, Ren's consciousness is absorbed in a Mind-Reformat Death.
  • Been There, Shaped History: In addition to the Titans' One Myth to Explain Them All; the 2014 film and its supplementary materials reveal that the nuclear bomb tests of The '50s in the Pacific Proving Grounds were actually attempts to kill Godzilla and that Monarch believe the Great Smog of London was caused by another creature; whilst the Godzilla Aftershock graphic novel reveals that the MUTOs likely caused at least two of Earth's past major extinction events and also the Greek Dark Ages.
  • 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.
  • Berserk Button: For quite a few of the Titans, the sight of their respective rivals is a Button that'll drive them into a state of aggravation. In the case of protector Titans such as Kong and Mothra, seeing smaller creatures that they consider to be their own threatened is a sure way to get them on the defensive against you. Ghidorah also tends to go berserk with murderous intent when he hears the ORCA's signal transmitting. Among the humans, Emma Russell tends to lose her faux cool when someone brings up one of her children and questions her sanity in tandem.
  • 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.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Most of the creatures on Skull Island are this combined with Planimal. Other insectoid-looking Titans include Mothra, the MUTOs and Scylla.
  • Big Entrance: Godzilla in his first two film appearances, and all the other big hitters in King of the Monsters, make dramatic entrances which would make the cast of Kung Fu Panda 3 clap with glee.
  • Big Red Button: Monarch's Titan containment sites in the 2014 film and King of the Monsters have Big Red Buttons which activate emergency procedures designed to kill the captive Titans (or rather try to kill them). Ultimately, they only serve a very minor role in the plot of either film, as they either don't get pressed or they dramatically fail to so much as make the Titans bleed.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: The Mother Longlegs on Skull Island use their bladed legs for immobilizing and killing smaller prey, whilst Mothra has raptorial bladed forelimbs.
  • 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: Humans who've stood out for their quirky personalities include Zamalek in the Godzilla Awakening graphic novel, Lieutenant Marlow and Captain Cole in Kong: Skull Island, and Bernie Hayes in Godzilla vs. Kong.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: More often than not. The biggest instance is in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, when Dr. Serizawa's open beliefs that Godzilla is ultimately the world's protector rather than its destroyer which date back in the 2014 movie are vindicated. Another example is Dr. Brooks and Bill Randa, who have been dismissed as loonies by the government and even other Monarch operatives in the past for believing in Skull Island and Hollow Earth theory (both of which are proven to be 100% real). There's also Bernie Hayes in Godzilla vs. Kong, a very wacky Conspiracy Theorist who's 100% right that Godzilla is Good All Along and that Apex Cybernetics are up to something sinister.
  • Colonel Badass: Packard in Kong: Skull Island is a Vietnam vet, but he also turns into a General Ripper thanks to his Colonel Kilgore. Colonel Foster in King of the Monsters is the G-Team's Frontline General.
  • Composite Character: Godzilla, Kong, Mothra, Rodan, Ghidorah and Mechagodzilla all mix various distinct traits from their incarnations in past continuities, whilst Dr. Serizawa exhibits traits of both his namesake and Kyohei Yamane from the original movie.
  • Conceive and Kill: Discussed a couple times in supplementary materials. In the Godzilla Aftershock graphic novel, Emma Russell theorizes that had the MUTO pair that featured in Godzilla (2014) succeeded in reproducing, the female MUTO probably would've killed the male, although Emma seems doubtful in this theory in light of Monarch's analysis of the MUTO Prime. The Godzilla vs. Kong novelization reveals that studies of the Skullcrawlers (who are driven by pure Horror Hunger due to their hyper-metabolism constantly keeping them on the brink of starvation) have indicated that copulations among the creatures tend to end this way.

  • 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 reclaiming the world for themselves. 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 monsters to leave humanity unharmed whilst replenishing the world's ecosphere. Oh, and Ghidorah is living proof that alien life on par with the Titans exists, and the hydra in question is every bit as malicious and hellbent on razing the Earth clean of life here as he ever was.
  • Creature-Hunter Organization: Subverted with Monarch. The organization was originally formed by the government and military with the explicit end-task of finding ways to exterminate any Titans they discovered, but Monarch's own operatives tend to grow to admire and even revere the creatures after studying them up close, and they recognize both Godzilla and Kong as protectors of humanity against the more hostile Titans as well as the human race's only liable line of defence. Combine that with Monarch's findings that the Titans are essentially crucial antibodies to the Earth's ecosphere which human life can't survive without; and by the start of Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), Monarch's top brass are actively in a legal battle opposing the government's mounting pressure to see all the Titans indiscriminately exterminated. Apex Cybernetics in Godzilla vs. Kong see themselves as this trope or at least make themselves out to be so with their anti-Titan Muggle Power plan, but in reality they're nothing more than obscenely hubristic and amoral bastards using Muggle Power as an excuse for their own selfish and thoroughly villainous end-goals.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Rodan lasts a full minute or two during his aerial battle with Ghidorah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters before being taken down, whilst both of Kong's fights against Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Kong are this with Kong being the cushion.
  • 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).
  • Daylight Horror: The vast majority of the horrifying scenes in Kong: Skull Island occur in the daytime, and against gorgeous tropical scenery to boot; whilst Godzilla and the MUTOs' kaiju-style arrival in San Francisco in the 2014 film and the Ghidorah-controlled Mechagodzilla's rampage in Godzilla vs. Kong both respectively occur amid a grim, grey overcast day.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Quite a lot of human characters. There's Elle Brody in the 2014 film, Captain Cole in Kong: Skull Island, there's Mark, Stanton, Jonah and Senator Williams in King of the Monsters, and there's Tarkan in Godzilla Aftershock.
  • 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.
  • Death from Above: The male MUTO in Godzilla (2014) employs a hit and run strategy using its wings, and dive-bombs the boat carrying the nuclear bomb the military intended to use to kill him, the female and Godzilla. The spin-off graphic novel Skull Island: The Birth of Kong recycles the Vinestrangler — a creature that was cut from Kong: Skull Island, hanging from trees and using its Combat Tentacles to ambush and devour unsuspecting prey that wanders below it — as a Monarch creature profile.
  • Death Glare: Quite a few over the course of the franchise. The most notable examples include Packard frequently dishing these out to anyone who pisses him off, Ichi (Ghidorah's middle head) giving Madison one when the heads spot her and he realizes she's responsible for broadcasting the ORCA signal, and Godzilla and Kong exchanging such looks mutually at the end of their first battle.
  • Death World / Eldritch Location: Skull Island is not that far off from being an Acid-Trip Dimension, and it's inhabited by various giant monsters who could easily hunt any humans on the island until there's none left if they weren't being kept in check by Kong. The same applies to the Hollow Earth, which is speculated to be directly connected to Skull Island's origin.
  • Demoted to Extra: Whilst the franchise does bring some characters from previous entries back in future instalments, if they're not Kaiju then they're pretty much guaranteed to experience this trope. Admiral Stenz, Mark Russell, Dr. Brooks, and also the Skullcrawlers, all have a lot less screentime and a more minor part in their second movie appearances that they did in their debuts respectively.
  • Devoured by the Horde: The Leafwings and their relative the Psychovultures on Skull Island, being as small and swarming as they are, tend to do this, as do the Death Jackals also on Skull Island; in Kong: Skull Island and The Birth of Kong.
  • The Dragon: In this continuity, this trope is notably retconned from Ghidorah, as it's a one-dragon Alien Invasion by himself, and in both his film appearances, the human antagonists attempting to control him ends up being a total Evil Is Not a Toy, truly making him King Ghidorah. In a bit of Adaptational Villainy, Rodan becomes King Ghidorah's Dragon in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) after Ghidorah defeats him, staying close by Ghidorah as his vanguard whilst the rest of Ghidorah's Titan army is spread out across the globe. Among the human antagonists, Alan Jonah is a big Dragon-in-Chief to Emma Russell in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and Ren Serizawa is Walter Simmons' close right-hand man in Godzilla vs. Kong (revealed to be a Dragon with an Agenda in the novelization).
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: This happens to a few human characters. Joe Brody in the 2014 film and Bill Randa in Kong: Skull Island are made out to be major characters during the early part of either film and are then abruptly killed off no more than halfway through either film, whilst Dr. Graham from the 2014 film reappears in King of the Monsters only to be killed by Ghidorah roughly 1/3 into the movie's run time.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: It's not seen, but mentioned a few times. Mark Russell turned to drinking in the initial aftermath of his son's death, and the Godzilla vs. Kong novelization mentions Bernie briefly did this after his wife died.
  • 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.
  • Dynamic Entry: Godzilla does this a good few times against his opponents in his first two film appearances, whilst Mothra and Rodan both utilize this when they enter the Final Battle of King of the Monsters respectively.
  • Ear Notch: A horn variation. Ghidorah's Perpetual Frowner right head (Ni) has a broken horn in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, as does Camazotz the Dark Titan in Kingdom Kong.
  • Evil Wears Black: Alan Jonah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and all three of the major human antagonists in Godzilla vs. Kong; all of them favor darker-colored clothing including pitch-black garments.
  • Excessive Mourning: The franchise seems to have a habit of doing this with grieving parents. Joe Brody in the 2014 film went from a respected power plant engineer to living in an apartment teaching English as a second language after his wife's death, and he remains obsessed with finding out the truth and very haunted after an entire decade and a half has passed since the event. Both Mark and Emma Russell are in their own ways reacting this way to the Plot-Triggering Death of their son Andrew five years ago at the start of King of the Monsters.
  • Eye Awaken: Kong does this a few times, whilst with Godzilla it's more downplayed as the latter does it in a more tired, slow and world-weary way. Mechagodzilla pulls off a Glowing Mechanical Eyes variation when it activates.
  • 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.
  • Fatal Flaw: Amongst the heroes (or at least non-villains); Admiral Stenz's narrow-mindedness with his inability to wrap his head around the Titans as anything other than a threat to civilians has made him directly complicit in unwittingly making a bad situation even worse via Nuke 'em style military intervention in both his movie appearances and it also prevents him from learning his lesson, whilst Mark Russell has a ton of issues including Hot-Bloodedness and fixating more on the past than the present, and Dr. Nathan Lind has a tendency to go far out on thin limbs. Amongst the villains; Packard's obsessive thirst for revenge and Simmons' sheer hubris gets both of them killed, and Emma's pride and arrogance leads to her unwittingly unleashing the total opposite of what she wanted to achieve as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, whilst Ghidorah's senseless bloodlust leads to him drawing out his targets' deaths for too long or getting distracted from the bigger picture when he wants to kill something for sport.
  • Faux Affably Evil: All three of the human Big Bad Wannabes in the movies — Colonel Packard, Alan Jonah and Walter Simmons — at some point each present themselves as A Father to His Men, polite with some Wicked Cultured, and/or charismatically chummy, but it scarcely if at all veils their true colors as self-absorbed assholes willing to get anyone killed if it'll get them what they want.
  • Fearless Fool: The Skullcrawlers due to their Horror Hunger, and this is a big part of Emma Russell's arrogance, and Ghidorah's right head shows definite signs of this.
  • Freudian Excuse: Most of the major human antagonists except for Walter Simmons have one. Emma Russell bemusingly decides the way to honor their son's tragic death as the casualty of a Kaiju battle is by conducting a Utopia Justifies the Means which technically involves engineering repeats of the same incident on millions of families around the world, whilst Jonah became the Put Them All Out of My Misery Misanthrope Supreme he now is due to decades of war experience causing Madden Into Misanthropy and because of (according to the King of the Monsters novelization) the gruesome murder of his daughter that never got solved while he was away on a tour of duty. The Godzilla vs. Kong novelization reveals Ren Serizawa's personal motivations for wanting Godzilla dead are because he feels the Titan robbed him of his highly-absent father's love and attention his entire life.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: One of the core themes of the franchise, with the Kaiju generally being depicted not as Nuclear Mutants, 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.
  • General Ripper: Colonel Packard in Kong Skull Island, who starts the film off as somewhat unstable and then goes completely overboard in his mad obsession with killing Kong. Downplayed with Admiral Stenz, who is persistently distrustful of the Titans and prone to thinking Nuke 'em moves on them will do anything other than cause an Epic Fail but does try to be reasonable. Inverted with the U.S. government in Godzilla Aftershock and King of the Monsters, who are shown to be at least as short-sighted as Stenz and even more unreasonable than him about the matter of seizing any excuse that might see Godzilla killed and being blatantly blind to the long-term consequences biting them in the ass.
  • 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.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: A few Titans display this, including the MUTOs' eye-like slits, Ghidorah's eyes tending to glint brightly, and Godzilla's eyes lighting up with blue light when charging his Atomic Breath from King of the Monsters onward.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Attempting to lure out Kong by dropping bombs on his home in Kong: Skull Island, and charging Godzilla's atomic-powered body up with the full power of an exploding nuclear warhead in Godzilla: King of the Monsters; both respectively "work a little too well". Apex Cybernetics designing Mechagodzilla to be able to kill Titans as powerful as Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Kong means that once Ghidorah's consciousness remnants take control of the Mecha, the Mecha which is now essentially Ghidorah reincarnated begins to Kill All Humans including Apex instead of allow Apex to Take Over the World and it stands a serious chance at killing Godzilla and resuming Ghidorah's end goals of bringing mass extinction including human extinction.
  • 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:
    • The MUTO Prime which features as the main Kaiju antagonist of the Godzilla Aftershock graphic novel. It's the sire of both the MUTOs which served as the antagonists of the 2014 film. This also makes the MUTO Prime indirectly responsible for The Unmasqued World that the MUTO pair's rampage caused.
    • Ghidorah, the Big Bad of Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), 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.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: Both Mothra and the male MUTO respectively use this approach to dealing with their larger Titan foes respectively.
  • 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.
  • Homefield Advantage: For Godzilla as an aquatic saurian, it's dragging foes who are poorly suited to water (Ghidorah and Kong) into the ocean. For Kong in Godzilla vs. Kong, as a giant ape, being in the middle of Hong Kong enables him to use the skyscrapers to swing around and dodge Godzilla's Atomic Breath. For Camazotz, it's being in the air as a Giant Flyer whilst Kong is more or less land-bound.
  • Home of Monsters: Besides Skull Island being carried over from the King Kong franchise, there's also the Hollow Earth, which is believed In-Universe to be the true point of origin of most if not all the Titans including the creatures on Skull Island. The idea is first addressed In-Universe in Kong: Skull Island and its existence is effectively confirmed in King of the Monsters, before it's finally visited and explored in full in Godzilla vs. Kong.
  • Horror Hunger: A couple of the more voracious predators on Skull Island show signs of this. The most notable is the invasive Skullcrawlers in the movies, whose hyper-metabolism keeps them constantly on the brink of starvation and therefore driven to hunt and eat endlessly. There's also the Death Jackals in the spin-off graphic novel Skull Island: The Birth of Kong; according to their Monarch profile, they're prone to Monstrous Cannibalism and even Auto Cannibalism if other prey is hard to come by.
  • The Horseshoe Effect: If there's just two things that all the Misanthrope Supreme and anti-Kaiju human Contrasting Sequel Antagonists 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 prideful and reckless to care that their plans are liable to spiral out of their control and 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. It's believed that the greater-scale apocalyptic threat from each of these creatures — besides being gigantic, city-destroying monsters with little to nil regard for human life of course — comes from them seeking to reshape whatever territory they're looking to claim for themselves (Skull Island in Camazotz's case, the entire planet in Ghidorah's case) into a state more to their own liking, with the process destroying the pre-existing ecosystems and causing mass extinction. This makes an interesting parallel to humans, who are themselves doing this to the world already both In-Universe and in Real Life, with Godzilla as the embodiment of natural balance working to stop these hostile Titans when they threaten the world's overall natural equilibrium.
  • 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.
  • Hypocrite: Quite a few of the human villains implement a lot of hypocrisy into their agendas; such as Packard putting all his remaining men at risk in pursuit of his vendetta against Kong for killing his men and refusing to take responsibility or understand why Kong committed the actions he did, Jonah pretty much using any excuse in Insane Troll Logic to justify letting King Ghidorah do what it wants to the world if it'll see humanity taken off the top of the food chain, never mind Emma's idea of the best way to honor their dead son's memory. Mark Russell, being the piece of work he was at the start of King of the Monsters, is quite Oblivious to His Own Description when he's scorning Serizawa for allegedly "kid[ding] himself" and Emma for putting her grief before her health and her family in a Holier Than Thou tone of voice.
  • 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.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How Godzilla kills the male MUTO in the 2014 film. This is also how the Mother Longlegs on Skull Island kill their prey. Mothra inflicts a non-fatal form of this on Rodan to take him out of the fight in King of the Monsters.
  • In a Single Bound: Kong can leap vast distances, and Godzilla manages to do this when leaping out of the ocean at Ghidorah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
  • It's All About Me: This is a nigh universal trait of the antagonists, both human and Titan. The Titan antagonists threaten humanity and the natural balance of the world whilst seeking to benefit themselves or their species to the detriment of all other life; i.e., the Skullcrawlers with their Horror Hunger being left to conquer unchecked, the MUTOs and Ghidorah threatening to create an extinction event whilst ostensibly reshaping their territory to suit themselves. And the human antagonists tend to be Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremists who are ultimately putting the whole world at risk all because of their own sense of entitlement, their spite or their Excessive Mourning. Mark Russell himself can often be a very egocentric man beneath his veil of self-righteousness.
  • It's Personal: Quite a few examples occur over the franchise. There's Godzilla and Ghidorah's feud for dominance with their interactions indicating they truly despise each-other because of their past history, and Kong's hatred of the Skullcrawlers implicitly comes from them killing the rest of his kind including his parents until he was the last ape standing. Leaning more solely in the villainous side with human borderline Unknown Rivals; Packard's insane obsession with killing Kong in Kong: Skull Island starts with Kong killing several of his men and Packard latching onto that as justification for his vendetta, whilst the Godzilla vs. Kong novelization confirms the movie's vague hints that Ren Serizawa has a personal fixation on killing Godzilla because of his father's death while saving the Titan.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Godzilla comes across as the Prehistoric Monster equivalent of a Grumpy Old Man overall but has a genuine fondness for humans. Mark Russell can be a hotheaded asshole who thinks it's all about him, but he genuinely loves his daughter and he does have his compassionate moments. Emma Russell used to be this in Godzilla Aftershock as a highly arrogant but truly committed member of Monarch, before their Face–Heel Turn.
  • 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)?
  • Karmic Death: Packard and Ghidorah both respectively are killed by the very heroic Titans (Godzilla and Kong respectively) that they were attempting to murder; in Ghidorah's case, whilst Godzilla was the chief cause of his downfall, Mothra (who Ghidorah earlier killed) and humans (whom Ghidorah actively wants wiped off the face of the Earth and has been actively slaughtering with sadistic glee) also played a part, all working together to see the three-headed Living Extinction Event defeated. In Godzilla vs. Kong, Walter Simmons and Ren Serizawa are both killed as a direct result of their hubris in exploiting Ghidorah's remains as the control mechanism for Mechagodzilla and also taking advantage of the Ghidorah remains' effects on Godzilla for immoral Engineered Heroics, leading to Ghidorah's subconsciousness hijacking control of the Mecha and killing them both.
  • Killed Offscreen: Gunpei Ikari during the 28-year Time Skip in Kong: Skull Island, and the Sirenjaw in the sequel graphic novel The Birth of Kong. In Godzilla vs Kong, the Iwi except for Jia have suffered Bus Crash.
  • Kill It with Fire: How Ford Brody destroys the MUTOs' nest of eggs in the 2014 film. This is also one of the more effective methods of killing or weakening creatures on Skull Island in Kong: Skull Island. And it's exaggerated by Burning Godzilla using skyscraper-melting heat and thermonuclear pulses to vaporize King Ghidorah once and for all in King of the Monsters.
  • 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.
  • Lack of Empathy: Among the human Big Bad Wannabes, Jonah in King of the Monsters and Simmons in Godzilla vs. Kong both in particular display zero signs of concern or empathy for the people who are hurt or killed by their Evil Plans, even when those plans ultimately involve putting millions or billions of people in harm's way.
  • Last of His Kind: The vast majority of Titans are this, and Jia is this to the Iwi after the tribe's Bus Crash in Godzilla vs. Kong.
  • Lethally Stupid: In both the 2014 film and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, it's the military's intervention born of naivete, pride and stupidity that's directly responsible for things with the Titans going From Bad to Worse, whereas otherwise Godzilla could have resolved the threat on his own with far fewer people put in mortal peril. In Godzilla vs. Kong, Apex Cybernetics end up unwittingly bringing Ghidorah back into the world and giving it a chance to pick up where its previous identity left off with razing the entire planet, because Apex were stupid and arrogant enough to think they could incorporate Ghidorah's Not Quite Dead remains and a practically-unknown energy source into Mechagodzilla and not expect it to liably backfire on them.
  • Lightning Bruiser: A lot of the Titans including Godzilla, Kong, Rodan, Ghidorah, Mechagodzilla and the Skullcrawlers are far from being the Mighty Glacier when it comes to max speed and reflexes.
  • Logical Weakness: Several of the Titans are presented with a realistic case of this. Godzilla's short arms have limited reach not unlike a Tyrannosaurus rex which makes a smaller opponent like the male MUTO going for his head quite effective, and he actually needs breath when exhaling his Atomic Breath which ultimately enables Mechagodzilla, as a Mechanical Abomination with no such bodily requirement, to win their Beam-O-War. Ghidorah is a massive powerhouse, but because his body is built for flight, he can't swim and is at a severe disadvantage when Godzilla drags him under the ocean. Mechagodzilla itself, though technically Ghidorah reincarnated, lacks any kind of Healing Factor to repair damage to its machine body. Camazotz, having developed super-sensitive hearing to navigate in darkness, is extremely sensitive to sonic booms too close to his head.
  • 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.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The human cast of Kong: Skull Island when they first see the titular ape about to attack them. Ghidorah causes a few of these amongst the whole of Monarch, Team Godzilla and even one of the bad guys across Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Godzilla vs. Kong.
  • 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:
    • Skull Island has bizarre Planimal wildlife, strange atmospheric anomalies like auroras and a surrounding Perpetual Storm, and natives that Marlow comments don't seem to age. Randa even refers to it as "the land where God did not finish creation."
      • In the graphic novel Skull Island: The Birth of Kong, Walter Riccio while on the island experiences several visions depicting Kong's parents and depicting Skullcrawlers killing them right after Kong's birth. Were these visions purely hallucinations brought on by Riccio's overconsumption of the Iwi's medicinal brew (which was implicitly fueling his Sanity Slippage), or were they "The devils of this island whisper[ing] into his ear" as Ato put it and he really is viewing Skull Island's past?
    • Mothra has a strange connection to a family line of identical twins, Born-Again Immortality via Genetic Memory, and Madison reviving after having a vision of her that all seem to suggest she may be an actual Physical God. In the same vein as Mothra, there are some hints that Camazotz might have Psychic Powers which affect those humans who have come into contact with him.
    • In the graphic novel Kingdom Kong, there are some hints with Camazotz that Mothra might not be the only superatural Titan on Earth, the strongest being that Tam who was put into a coma by encountering Camazotz in 2019 just happens to come out of said coma around the same time that Camazotz resurges and is defeated two years later. One has to wonder, are Captain Burns' flashbacks and waking nightmares of Camazotz, and even her fear and despair almost crippling her during the battle, merely her PTSD or are they also signs she's sensitive to and being affected by Camazotz' Psychic Powers?
  • Meaningful Name: Quite a few. Besides the Kaiju carried over from Toho and the King Kong franchise directly, and besides Ghidorah's Red Baron as the One Who Is Many in Godzilla: King of the Monsters; there's also the MUTO Prime being named after a mythical "Earthquake Beetle" in Godzilla Aftershock, the Skullcrawlers' name describing their anatomy (and their Iwi name Halakrah translates to the accurate description "persistent enemy"), Shinomura being named after a phrase meaning "swarm of death" in Godzilla Awakening, and Apex Cybernetics' name referring to both their end goal and the means they intend to use to accomplish it.
  • Militaries Are Useless: The series follows the trend set up in the original movies of the military standing no chance against the Kaiju. That being said, the exact degree of uselessness varies between movies.
    • Downplayed in Godzilla, in that they're shown to be otherwise fully competent (being able to quickly and efficiently evacuate San Francisco, and help survivors), just completely out of their depth.
    • Likewise downplayed in Kong: Skull Island; the military is not so much useless, so much as they're completely out of their element, which leads to them doing more harm than good.
    • Played straight in King of the Monsters, where not only are they completely helpless against the Titans (beyond just irritating them) but they end up actually making the situation worse when they deploy the Oxygen Destroyer, which cripples Godzilla, giving Ghidorah a chance to usurp his position as Alpha Titan.
    • In Godzilla vs. Kong, they quickly join the others in concluding that Godzilla's done a Face–Heel Turn, and fire on him whenever they see him. All this really serves to do is provoke him further.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Mostly along the same or similar lines to Revenge Myopia. In King of the Monsters, Mark Russell hates Godzilla for his son's death in Godzilla's battle against the MUTOs even though the MUTOs were to blame and Mark's son was just an accidental casualty, never mind that Mark is too blinded by emotion to remember that Godzilla is an animal who bore no ill will. In the Godzilla vs. Kong novelization's expansion, Ren Serizawa wants to kill Godzilla because he blames the Titan for the Parental Neglect Ren suffered while his father devoted his life and time to his work studying Godzilla, not caring that Godzilla as an animal likely has no idea of this or that he's trying to undo the very thing his father gave his life for.
  • Missing Mom: Sandra Brody, Ford's mother in Godzilla (2014), is killed by the Janjira reactor breach in the Distant Prologue. Meanwhile, practically nothing is known about Ishirō Serizawa's mother even after the release of Godzilla Awakening, but the prequel seems to hint she either died in the Hiroshima bombing or otherwise left/died before the event (the baby Ishirō was in a different part of town from his father when the bomb fell, and Eiji chose to leave Ishirō in the care of his grandparents after the bombing).
  • Mission Briefing: There are a few of these which serve to infodump important plot details to the audience; in Kong: Skull Island and King of the Monsters.
  • Moral Disambiguation: In the first couple of movies, Godzilla and Kong are on humanity's side more due to circumstance than anything else. Godzilla causes mass destruction in his own right, and it's ambiguous how much he is out to destroy the more hostile MUTOs because they're disrupting the balance of nature at large, and how much he's just out to kill his natural enemy. In his debut in Kong: Skull Island, Kong is an Anti-Hero and not above massacring U.S. military forces when they unwittingly disturb and threaten his kingdom. Meanwhile, Godzilla and Kong's kaiju foes in early installments are doing what nature built them to do rather than being deliberately malicious. In subsequent movies, Godzilla becomes more heroic and pathic to humans, and Kong becomes exclusively heroic, whilst the antagonistic kaiju get more petty and malicious, to the point of King Ghidorah being an Omnicidal Maniac who displays true malice and wants to wipe out humanity just because he can.
  • 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.
  • Nerd Glasses: In the movies, Dr. Brooks, Dr. Stanton and Ben are all Monarch scientists with big-rimmed glasses, plus there's Madison's "hacker" friend Josh Valentine in Godzilla vs. Kong. Godzilla Aftershock depicts Vivienne Graham with a pair of such glasses in one scene.
  • Nerves of Steel: There are several examples amongst the humans. Mason Weaver and Alan Jonah both respond very much this way when they find themselves staring down the barrel of a gun respectively, whilst Lieutenant Brody and Lieutenant Colonel Packard respectively handle themselves very calmly in intense situations, and Director Guillerman doesn't panic when in the radius of Godzilla's rampage.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: There are quite a few cases over the course of the franchise. The biggest offenders are Admiral Stenz, whose support of the Oxygen Destroyer in Godzilla: King of the Monsters directly causes Ghidorah's Near-Villain Victory for the second half of the film, which causes God knows how many unnecessary deaths around the world and would have spelled the extinction of all complex life on Earth if Ghidorah wasn't stopped; and Dr. Brooks, whose seismic operations on Skull Island in Kingdom Kong (a mistake of his which previously unleashed the Skullcrawlers in Kong: Skull Island) debatably secures the destruction of Skull Island's entire unique ecosystem by Perpetual Storm, much to his horror.
  • 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.
  • Not So Stoic: Dr. Serizawa and Ford Brody are both presented as The Stoic, whilst Emma Russell tries (and fails) to be The Unfettered. Across the 2014 film and King of the Monsters, all have moments where they're just pushed too far to not show emotion, due to a loved one dying or being threatened.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Every human Big Bad Wannabe in the movies is this; presenting themselves as going to extreme lengths in the name of a just cause, whilst it becomes clear as things go on that they're really just committing their every evil act for themselves:
    • Packard in Kong: Skull Island presents his vendetta against Kong for killing several of his men as being entirely justified and as Packard being a soldier getting his hands dirty so that his country won't have to live in fear of the knowledge that such things as Kong exist, but he refuses to take responsibility for leading his remaining men to their deaths all to sate his own insane obsession.
    • Alan Jonah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters says he's doing everything he is with releasing the Titans and slaughtering everyone in his way because his plan is the only way to prevent the human race from destroying their own planet, but once King Ghidorah begins creating an even worse extinction event than the one humanity was causing, Jonah uses increasing Insane Troll Logic and a Madden Into Misanthropy rant to justify it, showing that eco-terrorism was nothing more than an excuse and Jonah is willing to let practically all life on Earth die so long as it'll satiate his all-consuming hatred of the human race.
    • Walter Simmons in Godzilla vs. Kong paints his and his company's machinations with Mechagodzilla as them giving humanity a secure line of defence against the Titans and a way to retake dominance of the planet, but him and his company fired the first shot which disrupted a peaceful human-Titan coexistence by creating Mechagodzilla, and they've been knowingly putting millions of people in Godzilla's warpath on purpose as part of Engineered Heroics. It becomes clear during Team Godzilla's confrontation with Simmons that he's just using Muggle Power as an excuse, and has solely committed his evil actions because he can't stand the thought that he isn't the top dog on the planet with forces bigger and more powerful than himself out there.
  • 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.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The United Nations Security Council in Godzilla Aftershock. They've made up their minds about what not to do about the MUTO Prime crisis as soon as they heard the part where the MUTO Prime succeeding in its goal of wearing down and fatally impregnating Godzilla with its parasitic spawn will cause the MUTO Prime to go back into dormancy. They're convinced this will solve both their problems with Godzilla dead and the MUTO Prime inactive, in blatant and frankly obscene disregard of the bit where allowing the MUTO Prime to do that will result in its spawn being unleashed on the world to at best trigger a repeat of the 2014 incident or at worst succeed in causing an extinction event, with no Godzilla to fight them (or any other hostile Titans) off this time.
  • Ominous Fog: The expedition in Kong: Skull Island ends up amidst one whilst being attacked by a Skullcrawler. In King of the Monsters, it's justified by Ghidorah's otherworldly Weather Manipulation powers.
  • One Myth to Explain Them All: The various Titans are implied to have been the source of many mythological creatures (such as the Hydra, Scylla, Dragons, and the like) as well as being treated as Gods and Demons in many different cultures. For examples; Ghidorah inspired many civilizations' ideas of devils and dragons, Mothra inspired angels of all things, and the dead Titanus Gojira and MUTO Prime inspired the myths of Dagon and Jinshin-Mushi respectively. Riccio believes in Skull Island: The Birth of Kong that the titular island was the source of mythic islands such as Atlantis, Lemuria and Thule.
  • One-Steve Limit: Names in the franchise which have respectively belonged to two different characters include Martinez, Sam, Walter, 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.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: You can tell in both Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Godzilla vs. Kong that Godzilla takes Ghidorah posing a threat deadly seriously with his sheer agitation and fury. In either film, it's a sign things are serious when Dr. Stanton loses his snark and becomes soft-spoken, and Jia cries for the first time since Dr. Andrews met her when the last surviving vestige of Skull Island's ecosystem is destroyed, respectively.
  • Papa Wolf: A common and recurring theme. Joe Brody in the 2014 film, Eiji Serizawa in Godzilla Awakening and Mark Russell in King of the Monsters, despite the latter character's many faults and despite all three characters' shortcomings as fathers, turn into this when they're fearing for their child's life. This trope also occurs among the Titans, with the male MUTO's diligence defending his nest from Godzilla and with Kong's ferocious reaction to Team Kong (implicitly Jia especially) being threatened in Godzilla vs. Kong.
  • 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.
  • Parents as People: Joe Brody in the 2014 film genuinely loves his son but has been quite inattentive, first due to being the Workaholic and then due to becoming the Conspiracy Theory with an obsession with finding out what really caused his wife's death. Mark Russell was arguably too much of a prick to everyone around him who wasn't family to qualify for this trope in King of the Monsters; but in the Godzilla vs. Kong novelization, he's become a lot more sociable since his Moving Beyond Bereavement, yet he's essentially swung from one parental extreme to the other in an attempt to make up for five years of being an absent parent, and his egocentrism spills into his parenting style with Madison with how he projects his own idea of what would be ideal onto her and dismisses her complaints to the contrary.
  • 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.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Dr. Stanton of Monarch's key brass and Jackson Barnes of Monarch's G-Team in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Inverted in Godzilla vs. Kong, where Madison has shades of Only Sane Woman among the three-man Team Godzilla.
  • Precious Photo: The Russells in Godzilla: King of the Monsters have copies of a family photo which includes Andrew, whilst Nathan in Godzilla vs. Kong has a photo of himself and his late brother David (Bernie Hayes also has a photo of his late wife in the novelization).
  • 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.
  • Profane Last Words: A Running Gag in every film. See below for details.
  • Prophet Eyes: Methuselah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters and the one-eyed Camazotz in Kingdom Kong both have this kind of eyes.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Ghidorah's left head, San/Kevin, displays a notably more childlike personality than the other two heads whilst having no compunctions against the atrocities that the middle head (Ichi) leads them in committing. This also applies to the guy who got his hands on a piece of Kevin's severed head, Walter Simmons, who displays all the giddiness and impulse control of an eight-year-old on Christmas morning when it comes to his immoral Mechagodzilla project.
  • Pupating Peril: The male MUTO's long metamorphosis in the 2014 film, and Mothra's far shorter one in King of the Monsters.
  • 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.
  • Red Baron: Quite a few Titans have a bunch of names and titles to themselves from ancient myths and legends. Besides Godzilla being the literal King of the Monsters here, there's Rodan the Fire Demon and the One Born From Fire, Ghidorah the One Who Is Many and the Death Song of Three Storms, Camazotz the King of the Deep and Eternal Enemy of the Sun, Jinshin-Mushi the progeny of the Unclean Thing That Lurks in the Shadows Beyond the Light of Creation, etc..
  • Red Is Violent: Rodan has a red coloration and is a particularly destructive and Hot-Blooded Titan, Mothra's Living Mood Ring turns a red color when she's angry, and Godzilla displays this during his literally city-leveling Super Mode which coincides with an Unstoppable Rage, in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. In Godzilla vs. Kong, Mechagodzilla's body produces a crimson light, and it's as psychotically malevolent as Ghidorah ever was once it becomes sentient, plus the Skullcrawler sicced on the Mecha has a red coloration.
  • 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.
  • Revenge Myopia: There are quite a few examples of human characters hating a good-aligned Titan due to blaming them in an irrational manner for a loved one's death; from Packard's refusal to see reason after Kong kills his men in provocation and in defence of his territory, to Mark Russell's hatred of Godzilla for his son being a casualty of a past battle in King of the Monsters, to Ren Serizawa's similar hatred of Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Kong due to his father's Heroic Sacrifice to save Godzilla robbing Ren of reconciliation with the man.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Justified. Practically all of the Alpha Titans have a Red Baron calling them a King/Queen (King of the Monsters, Queen of the Monsters, King of the Primates, etc.), and they at times have to fight other Titans to maintain their positions of dominance due to the creatures' Asskicking Equals Authority.
  • Running Gag:
    • Listen closely, and in every movie, a character says "Oh, shit!" or otherwise tries to right before being killed by the Kaiju Big Bad of the movie they're in. A soldier who's killed by the female MUTO in the 2014 film, Bill Randa before he's eaten alive by a Skullcrawler in Kong: Skull Island, Hendricks before he's atomized by Ghidorah firing his Gravity Beams in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and Walter Simmons before he's killed by Mechagodzilla in Godzilla vs. Kong.
    • The director of Godzilla: King of the Monsters thinks that Ghidorah's left head, San/Kevin who displays a rather eccentric personality compared to the other two heads, has been decapitated a lot more frequently than his brother heads in Ghidorah's life. In the movie proper, Kevin is the only head to get decapitated twice (he regrows from the first decapitation, whilst the second is part of Ghidorah's Rasputinian Death), and then in Godzilla vs. Kong, Mechagodzilla (which has gained sentience as a Robotic Psychopath as a direct result of Ghidorah's Soul Fragment in Kevin's severed skull merging with its AI) is killed for good when its head is ripped off.
  • 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.
  • Seers: Inverted twice. In Skull Island: The Birth of Kong, Riccio believes he's seeing Skull Island's past when he starts having visions; which might be real or might just be hallucinations from overusing the Iwi's exotic medicine. Godzilla Dominion and Godzilla vs. Kong reveals that Mothra (and Godzilla as a lasting consequence of absorbing her ashes) has an instinctive and almost scientifically-inexplicable awareness of Earth's entire geological and ecological history right back to when it was a molten rock billions of years ago.
  • 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).
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Packard has a simple and admittedly golden response in this category towards Weaver in Kong: Skull Island, whilst Emma Russell has a counter-argument for most of the moral highground arguments that Monarch make against her plan in King of the Monsters.
  • 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.
  • Soft Reboot: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) is a soft reset. Godzilla (2014) and Kong: Skull Island, though very different from each other in tone, both presented the universe as fairly realistic and grounded aside from the presence of giant monsters. Monarch is depicted as a fairly small outfit in both films, relying extensively on the U.S. military to get anything done. King of the Monsters ups the ante considerably with the addition of more monsters (one of whom is an extraterrestrial) and reimagines Monarch as a massive organization with incredibly advanced technology and seemingly endless resources. Godzilla vs. Kong follows the same direction but takes it even further, moving the setting into the near-future and adding even more advanced tech via Apex Cybernetics, and going much further into the pseudoscience of the "Hollow Earth" the previous films had only alluded to. The end result is a barely recognizable as the same universe that the 2014 film established.
  • 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.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Kong and Godzilla both survive their movie appearances, with Godzilla in particular surviving an encounter with a Mythology Gag that outright killed him in past continuities, whilst Dr. Serizawa is ultimately the "dies later than in the source material" form of this trope.
  • Speculative Biology: This continuity takes a surprisingly scientific approach on its Kaiju, featuring the likes of Godzilla and King Kong in a more scientific light and portraying them as ancient superspecies who are (initially) portrayed as coming from a more-radioactive Permian period. Granted, there is a lot of Artistic License – Biology regarding how such big creatures can live in Earth's gravity or how they can sustain nutrition from radioactive material, but nonetheless the series explores the behavior, ecology and biology of the creatures of Skull Island and the Hollow Earth in a way that portrays them like an actual ecosystem that once existed in nature.
  • Spreading Disaster Map Graphic: In the 2014 film, the US Navy's digital map depicts what area the nuclear warhead's fallout will cover if it goes off near the coast, whilst in King of the Monsters, Monarch's digital world maps are used to depict first Ghidorah's moving hurricane, and then to depict the Titan crisis and Ghidorah's Weather Manipulation going global after Ghidorah becomes the new King of the Monsters.
  • Squashed Flat: Packard by Kong in Kong: Skull Island, and at least one or two soldiers are killed this way by falling ice boulders during Ghidorah's awakening in King of the Monsters.
  • Start X to Stop X: In Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Emma's way of honoring her son's memory and ensuring his tragic death as a casualty of a Titan battle wasn't for nothing is by essentially engineering a dozen repeats of the disaster that killed him on a global scale, and probably the most stunning thing about her is how ignorant she is of the contradiction. In Godzilla vs. Kong, Apex Cybernetics claim they built Mechagodzilla so that humanity can fight off any Titan that might otherwise attack them, but as Madison points out, they're directly responsible for all but deliberately provoking Godzilla's rampage on population centers and disrupting a peaceful human-Titan coexistence.
  • Stealthy Colossus: Various Titans including Godzilla, Kong and the other creatures of Skull Island are remarkably good at pulling this off despite their gigantic size.
  • Stoic Spectacles: Dr. Serizawa in Godzilla (2014) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) fits this trope with his stoic and intelligent personality and his narrow, thin-rimmed choice of spectacles, though he's a little bit older than most examples. It's even slightly lampshaded in King of the Monsters, when he has his glasses off while mourning Dr. Graham's death, but puts them back on once he recollects his resolve for the time. In the prequel graphic novel Godzilla Awakening, Serizawa's father Eiji has traded his youthful self's Nerd Glasses for a pair of thin-rimmed spectacles which give off this impression.
  • 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.
  • Swallowed Whole: There are a few times where human characters meet their doom this way. The Skullcrawlers do this frequently due to their hyper-metabolic Horror Hunger, whilst Dr. Graham's Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome where she's killed by Ghidorah this way in Godzilla: King of the Monsters is an infamous example. There's also the female MUTO devouring most of the bomb squad in the 2014 film and Rodan doing this to a pilot in King of the Monsters.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Emma's teamwork with Jonah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters is this kind of strained, and the novelization of Godzilla vs. Kong confirms that Dragon with an Agenda Ren Serizawa feels similarly about working with Simmons.
  • Time Skip: Godzilla begins in 1954, then skips to 1999, then once more to 2014, where most of the film takes place. Kong: Skull Island briefly opens during World War II, before jumping to 1973.
  • 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.
  • Two First Names: Vivienne Graham in the 2014 film and King of the Monsters, James Conrad in Kong: Skull Island, and Alan Jonah in King of the Monsters.
  • Two-Fisted Tales: The movies mix some of this flavour in with all the kaiju action, particularly in the films featuring Kong. Kong: Skull Island is a Lost World adventure set in The '70s, and in Godzilla vs. Kong, the big ape travels to an even lost-er world Beneath the Earth where he finds a gigantic axe that basically turns him into a 335-foot tall Barbarian Hero.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Almost once in every film. Admiral Stenz in both his appearances (along with the military and the government in King of the Monsters) underestimates the Titans' resilience to manmade weaponry and he even doubts Godzilla will be able to fight off the MUTOs despite him having already done so once. Madison Russell is frequently on the receiving end of this, in the form of Just a Kid regardless of her commendable accomplishments and bravery even after King of the Monsters.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Packard in Kong: Skull Island goes as far as pointing a gun at the face of the same journalist who earlier saved his and his men's lives for trying to talk him down, and Apex Cybernetics in Godzilla vs. Kong want to Kill and Replace Godzilla and don't give a damn that he's the main reason why they along with every other human being on Earth haven't all been wiped out by King Ghidorah.
  • 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.
  • Unwitting Pawn: In Kong: Skull Island, most of the Skull Island expedition are this to Monarch operatives Randa and Brooks at first. In Godzilla vs. Kong, Monarch (Nathan Lind in particular) are this to Apex Cybernetics, and it's hinted Apex in turn might have been this to Ghidorah's Undead Abomination skull the entire time before it hijacked control of Mechagodzilla, whilst the novelization suggests Apex's Corrupt Corporate Executive Walter Simmons is this to Ren Serizawa.
  • 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.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: There are a couple times where Godzilla's Titan enemies pull this on him, namely Ghidorah in King of the Monsters, and the MUTO Prime in Godzilla Aftershock exploits this trope in order to wear Godzilla down so it'll have an advantage.
  • Villainous Legacy: Some surprisingly positive in the long run, others negative. The MUTO pair who rampaged in the 2014 film before being killed by Godzilla are directly responsible for The Unmasqued World in all instalments chronologically set afterwards. The global Titan-rampage that was caused by King Ghidorah and indirectly caused by Emma Russell in King of the Monsters, after both characters' respective deaths, 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.
  • Villainous Rescue: The Death Jackals in Skull Island: The Birth of Kong unwittingly enable Aaron and the Iwi to escape Riccio when they ambush the group, whilst in Godzilla vs. Kong, Mechagodzilla when it's still under Ren Serizawa's direct control unknowingly saves Madison from the Skullcrawler that's been sicced on the Mecha when said Crawler was a millisecond away from killing Madison Russell.
  • Villainous Underdog: Given that this is a franchise where Kaiju which are literally beyond humanity's ability to control or effectively destroy exist, the human Big Bad Wannabes are this to the heroic Titans such as Godzilla or Kong when they seek a direct confrontation with them, and the main threat these human antagonists present comes not so much from the threat they pose to the heroic Titans' lives but from their ability to put them at a disadvantage or exacerbate their situation with the villainous Titans who do pose a threat. Notable examples include Colonel Packard in Kong: Skull Island attempting to kill Kong with manpower (and releasing Ramarak in the process), for which Kong squashes him like a bug; and Apex Cybernetics in Godzilla vs. Kong plotting to use Mechagodzilla to kill and usurp Godzilla and also being responsible for provoking Godzilla's rampages on population centers due to their creation's Ghidorah-derived organic parts emitting a signal, only for Apex to suffer Hoist by Their Own Petard when Ghidorah's leftover subconsciousness hijacks Mechagodzilla for itself and makes it destroy them.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Dr. Graham is infamously a victim of this, getting the bare minimal characterization in the movies as anything other than Serizawa's Satellite Character before she suffers Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome. There's also Sandra Brody plus Serizawa and Graham's colleagues at the Janjira containment site in the 2014 film, Victor Nieves in Kong: Skull Island, Alan Jonah's close Mook Lieutenant Asher in King of the Monsters, and Karsten (the first one to die) in Skull Island: The Birth of Kong.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Mark Russell receives a few for his biased behavior and shoddy judgment (particularly in regards to Godzilla); first from Dr. Serizawa for holding a toxic and fallacious Animal Nemesis grudge against Godzilla, then from Madison for jumping to a highly-questionable conclusion about Godzilla's rampage. In the Godzilla vs. Kong novelization, Jia calls out Dr. Andrews and Monarch for saying they're drugging and restraining Kong for his own good when their actions only feed Kong's distrust of them.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Monarch are seen In-Universe by the military, the government, and the public in The Unmasqued World as this (at least initially) for their reverence of the Titans and their protests against human intervention attempting to kill the creatures on their terms, but Monarch are actually very much a case of Good Is Not Dumb since they're quite aware of how the Titans tie into the Green Aesop. Madison Russell starts as this in King of the Monsters, due to her mother's influence and having only been exposed to the benevolent Mothra before she gets to witness the consequences of Ghidorah awakening.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: A lot of people In-Universe (particularly before the events of Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)) such as Admiral Stenz believe that humanity needs to attempt to kill the Titans using manmade super-weaponry in defence of their right to rule the Earth uncontested and to prevent future destruction and casualties; and Monarch's arguments against that and tendency towards admiring the creatures make most people see them as that one guy in a monster movie who insists on keeping the monster alive For Science at the risk of causing the end of the world. As it stands, many of the Titans in this setting are capable of coexisting with humans peacefully if a benevolent Alpha like Godzilla or Kong keeps them in line, and they're furthermore allegories for forces of nature — attempts to up technology to a level which can deal serious damage to Titans always goes awry, doing nothing but leaving the world in an even worse situation with the Titans than it was in before, and humanity is simply reliant on the Titans to survive in the long-term since many of them act as antibodies maintaining the world's ecosphere. Monarch are in actuality every bit the Titan experts that they're supposed to be per their job because of their pro-Titan arguments. This Wrong Genre Savvy is quite central to the ridiculously-arrogant Apex Cybernetics' Evil Plan to control or exterminate all the Titans in Godzilla vs. Kong, and to Apex's downfall.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Monster Verse


Godzilla vs Ghidorah

Godzilla and Ghidorah are two rival Alpha Titans battling for control of Earth, and they absolutely despise each other. But while Godzilla wishes to protect life on the planet, Ghidorah seeks to eradicate it.

How well does it match the trope?

4.94 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / BehemothBattle

Media sources: