The opening of the trailer with Madison using a radio to contact for help only to hear people screaming for help and the sounds of terrorized citizens it gets to be so much for the poor child that she tries to blockout the sounds by covering her ears.
The state of the Russell family is tragic to behold. Having lost their eldest child in the MUTO's attack in San Fransisco, the family has since drifted apart. Mark Russel, Madison's father, has developed a hatred for the Titans, insisting they are abominations that must be destroyed, while Emma has gone the opposite route and is endorsing letting the Titans wipe out humanity as we "are an infection ravaging the world". And poor Madison is caught in the middle of this parental dispute, as if having a three-headed space dragon trying to kill her wasn't enough.
Mark travels all the way to Antarctica in an attempt to rescue his daughter and ex-wife from Alan Jonahs eco-terrorist group. He holds them up at gunpoint and is about to get Madison out of there...only for Emma to call her back as they escape with the eco-terrorists. The look on Marks face is devastating, as hes now failed to save both of his kids. Its made even worse here in that this time its his ex that prevents her rescue. By the end Mark looks and feels betrayed by the action. And this is before she releases Monster Zero.
The shocking and sudden death of Dr. Vivienne Graham courtesy of Ghidorah. Dr. Serizawa takes her death the hardest of all.
The novelization gives more backstory on the ORCA. The whole reason Mark is visibly upset at seeing the ORCA was re-created is explained. One of the tests resulted in some five whales killing themselves by beaching themselves at trying to follow the signal. The whole point of the ORCA was to save whale pods and keep them away. It's what made Mark feel like it was not their place to play God.
When Godzilla is believed killed by the Oxygen Destroyer, Serizawa comments with grief in his voice that Mark's wish has been fullfilled. Mark himself looks uncomfortable by the situation.
Realizing that they need to arm a nuke to empower the weakened Godzilla, Dr. Serizawa volunteers onto the suicide mission and braves the hostile environment to bring Godzilla his final aid. As the nuclear timer ticks down, he takes off his helmet, looks Godzilla in the eye, gently places a hand on his snout, and tearfully says "Goodbye, old friend" in Japanese, just as the bomb goes off.
This is also the second time Serizawa sees Godzilla lying on the ground but unlike in the last film where he was just sleeping the entire time he's in agony from the aftermath of the Oxygen Destroyer. The way how Godzilla looks at him as his eye slowly opens almost as if he's silently saying help... please...
This also makes the gorgeous shot of Godzilla firing his nuclear breath from the trailer seem less like a show of force and more like the King of Monsters howling in grief for the man who died to save him.
A blink-and-you-miss-it example from the same scene, but in Godzilla's chamber, you can see Anguirus...as a skeleton. Godzilla's most loyal, most trusted ally is gone. He really doesn't have anyone to aid him against Ghidorah except Mothra and the humans.
Makes you wonder if the reason Godzilla chose to return to the temple was to say goodbye to his old friend. This comic◊ seems to think so.
We see a brief shot of a badly-wounded Mothra, her wings shredded and smoldering, making a final desperate swoop at Ghidorah before being blasted point blank by all three of his gravity beams.
The way this plays out in the movie is particularly heart-breaking, as you can see how Godzilla and Mothra fight together and protect one another. As Godzilla lies injured after being dropped from the sky by Ghidorah, Mothra, herself greviously injured and near death, defiantly climbs onto Godzilla and shrieks a challenge at the incoming Ghidorah. Her final desperate attack gets her killed, but as she dies she releases a radioactive cloud, reviving Godzilla and granting him his Burning Mode.
Worse yet is Godzilla gives out a mournful roar when Mothra dies, making it clear he does care about her and is saddened by her death. Given how furious he looks when he arrives as Burning Godzilla, it gives the impression his obliterating Ghidorah is a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
At the end, realizing her own mistakes, Emma performs a Heroic Sacrifice, manning the ORCA to use herself as live bait to draw Ghidorah's attention away from Godzilla. She desperately drives away with Ghidorah in pursuit, while Mark and Madison helplessly watch from a helicopter as Ghidorah destroys her vehicle. As she dies, she says, "Long live the king", just as Godzilla arrives to the scene, glad that she at least tried to rectify her sins in the past.
And Madison and Mark cry out for her as she stays behind from the helicopter. Despite all she's done, and all the blood on her hands, they still want her to be saved and be together as a family.
In the post-credits scene, it's revealed that the Oxygen Destroyer has killed all the sea life around Isla de Mara. As such, the local fishing community has lost their livelihoods and is desperate enough to make deals with a shady eco-terrorist group. It's a painful moment of Reality Ensues showing how small-scale industries suffer from the crossfire of military warfare.
In a meta sense, the fact that the credits of the film dedicate the movie to Haruo Nakajima, the original suit actor that played Godzilla in the first 12 Showa era films. He was reportedly disappointed with the 1998 film, saying that "it lacked Godzilla's spirit", but greatly enjoyed the 2014 film, praising it as being a true Godzilla film. Sadly, he passed away in 2017, and never lived to see the American Godzilla's greatest moment.
To top it off, underneath where it says "In Memory of Haruo Nakajima" is a behind the scenes photo from Ebirah, Horror of the Deep of him poking out of the Godzilla suit with the ending of Godzillas theme and one of the older Godzilla roars playing in the background. Truly the filmmakers were just as passionate about his unfortunate passing as much as the fans were.
Also meta, the fact that this film receiving mediocre reviews, despite being true to the text of Godzilla lore and being beautifully crafted by those with genuine love for the franchise. Sure, it isn't a perfect film, but it's hard not to think that the majority of professional critics just simply not fans of the genre and are just dismissing it as yet another "dumb popcorn flick".
Worst yet, many of the critics act unbelievably petty by not only openly admitting they are not only not fans but take very unprofessional pot shots at the classic films of the entire franchise. It makes some of the fan backlash toward these critics understandable.
This dismissive attitude towards the films even extends to a member of the cast itself. Charles Dance recently stated that during the premier he had difficulty staying awake, and his biggest takeaway from the experience was that the catering was good. It can be a bit disheartening for fans, on top of all the bile already thrown at the film, to know that one of the film's biggest stars was, ultimately, disappointed by the final product.