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Captain America: Civil War

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    Suuuuper Spoilers for recent Godzilla movie 
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Complete Monster Effort Post

What is the Work? Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) is a movie set in the MonsterVerse'' cinematic Shared Universe. Set five years after the events of the 2014 Godzilla movie, it centers on a single Driving Question: should mankind destroy the increasing number of discovered kaiju (dubbed "Titans" in this continuity) slumbering around the world, or find a way to co-exist with them? Regardless of where you stand on that issue, this guy is generally bad for arguments about cohabitation.

Who is King Ghidorah?

The only Titan not to start the movie with a pre-assigned catchy name, simply being dubbed "Monster Zero". Later dubbed Ghidorah, "The One Who is Many", and later in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment King Ghidorah. Among the Titans he's a very recent discobery, meaning the good guys have little to no information about him. Apart from that, if you've seen any movie about his previous outings, you’ll know who he is. If not, read on and find out more.

What has he done?

Note: Sorry if there’s a lot of things other people do talked about, but it’s necessary to put his actions in context.

The first time we see everyone’s favourite three-headed, planet-killing space dragon is shortly into the first act of the movie. First we meet Alan Jonah (Charles Dance), who I will hereafter refer to as "Tywin" because the fact he has Two First Names means I'm never sure which to use, as he kidnaps Dr. Emma Russell and her daughter Madison to take advantage of a device Emma created called the Orca, which is capable of recreating the bio-acoustics by which the Titans communicate with each other. They go to Antarctica, where Monarch (think of them as S.H.I.E.L.D. but for giant monsters) agents have been studying a monster frozen in the cold Antarctic ice at Outpost 32; they kill the Monarch agents and scientists and go to see the monster in question. That monster turns out to be Ghidorah. "Mother of God..." mutters one of Tywin's mercs. "She had nothing to do with this," snarks Tywin. Tywin's mercs get to work drilling holes in the ice while the Orca is used to analyse Ghidorah's bio-acoustics.

Once the good guys arrive at Antarctica, having followed Godzilla there after determining he must be looking for ol' Monster Zero, the holes have been filled with armed explosives. Along the way, it's explained that Ghidorah is a rival Alpha to Godzilla, and that their beef with each other is personal and goes way back. In a surprise twist, not only does Emma stop her daughter from running over to her father (Kyle Chandler), who has joined the assault on the attacked Monarch to get his family back, but she actually grabs the detonator for the explosives, tells the good guys to run and activates the detonator.

Between that and Emma activating the Orca, Ghidorah is awoken and emerges from the ice in dramatic fashion. Several of the Monarch soldiers start shooting at him, which apparently he takes such major offense to that he blasts them with his Gravity Beams. Then Godzilla shows up, and he and Ghidorah have a staring contest for a few moments before roaring and charging at each other. They fight for a bit and Ghidorah ends up getting the upper hand; he flies off, Godzilla roars and the next thing we see is Kyle Chandler waking up in a hospital bed.

Ghidorah kind of disappears for a bit then, Monarch saying they lost him in a tropical storm. Emma Russell sends them a video message to explain things, ranting about how humanity is destroying the planet and the Titans should be awoken one by one to fix things like she did with Mothra and Ghidorah earlier in the movie, which Monarch don't agree with at all, saying she's toying with forces beyond humanity’s comprehension or ability to control. After the message ends they realise she plans to awaken another Titan, one contained at Monarch Outpost 56 on Isla de Mara, which they were en route to anyway and from which Monarch has been evacuating people in preparation of something bad happening. Sure enough, the Titan is released, and it's the MonsterVerse version of Rodan.

The aforementioned tropical storm suddenly turns and starts making a beeline for Isla de Mara, which sounds impossible... until they realise: Ghidorah didn’t get lost in the storm, Ghidorah IS the storm! Mark points out to Dr. Serizawa that Ghidorah’s reacting to Rodan’s bird-like screeching, which means "He's either coming for food, a fight or... something more intimate." They decide to get Rodan's attention and guide him directly to Ghidorah, and hope they fight each other instead of killing anyone.

Things don't exactly go according to plan (for starters, Rodan takes out an entire squadron of fighter pilots), but they do get them into contact with each other... and Ghidorah kicks Rodan's tail. But just as Ghidorah is about to let the humans have it, Godzilla appears and drags him down into the water. Don't celebrate yet, though. The military has decided to do what they always do in Godzilla movies: make a bloody nuisance of themselves. They send a missile designed to destroy all the oxygen in a wide radius, which they helpfully inform our heroes of dangerously close to the missile's arrival. Just as Godzilla bites off Ghidorah's leftmost head, the missile strikes. Godzilla seemingly dies, along with a whole lot of sea life, but Ghidorah walks away completely unharmed. He caps off his victory by growing his left head back and enslaving the Titans of Earth, commanding them to awaken en masse and attack human cities.

The good guys muse that Ghidorah's survival and healing abilities defy explanation, that they aren't natural. And as it turns out, that's because Ghidorah himself is not natural. Not for us anyway. He's an alien who came to Earth in the distant past, and the reason he and Godzilla fought wasn't for dominance, it was for the survival of the Earth. As the military reports that Titans are attacking all over the world, they note that the bait-them-with-nuclear-materials trick from the first movie isn't working for some reason, and determine that Ghidorah is not concerned with saving the planet but rather trampling all existing life on Earth so he can take over.

To cut a long story short, they realize that Godzilla is not dead, just severely weakened, and hatch a plan to rescue him that gives him a power boost as well. During this time, the military have to fight Ghidorah, who's made a "nest" for himself in Washington DC, until the Orca's signal is broadcast from Fenway Park in Boston by Madison, who snuck away from her mother with the device in question earlier in the movie. This breaks Ghidorah's control over all the Titans except Godzilla and Mothra (who weren't affected in the first place) and Rodan (who was helping him in DC and I guess was still affected enough by his power to not be freed), leading him to make a beeline for Boston with Godzilla and Mothra heading there too. At Kyle Chandler's suggestion, the military joins this fight as well.

Ghidorah finds the source of the signal and chomps it, but then realises Madison is inside the building in the stadium and decides to kill her even though, as a girl who's a teenager at most, she poses pretty much no threat to him. Through a long and complicated battle sequence that follows, he kills a bunch of fighter pilots, kills Mothra, kills an atoning Emma Russell, and is finally killed by Godzilla, who burns the last of his body away with his Atomic Breath. As the heroes look on in weary relief, a repentant Rodan and three other Titans kneel respectfully before Godzilla, who is now free to take his rightful place as, sure enough, King of the Monsters.

...But Godzilla may not be rid of his nemesis after all, because The Stinger reveals Tywin has gone to Isla de Mara and and plans to buy the severed left head of Ghidorah that Godzilla bit off earlier in the movie off a group of now-unemployed fishermen. Uh oh.

Does he have any Mitigating Factors or Freudian Excuse?

HA HA HA— No. We don't know much of anything about Ghidorah's backstory other than that he's... not from around here. The three heads of Ghidorah do have individual personalities, but none of them seem to be benevolent in any fashion; the left head is somewhat docile and curious, the right head is grumpy and irritable and the middle head is in charge, bullying the other two into cooperation if it has to. No compromised morality, no people he's actually attached to, no nothing.

Does he meet the Heinousness Standard?

Let's do this by bullet point for brevity's sake.

  • Ghidorah's part of a Big-Bad Ensemble with Tywin and/or Emma Russell, depending on how much you consider her a villain of the piece as well. Regardless he's the biggest and baddest among them, which means that he sets the Heinous Standard for this movie.
  • As for the general Heinous Standard? He kills at least a score of people on screen despite knowing full well they pose no threat to him, commands the Titans to kill millions more offscreen, is often shown with a Slasher Smile and notably, tries to kill Godzilla slowly and painfully in the final act despite having him on the ropes. It's fairly clear he's a Sadist on top of being an Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Something emphasised about the 17 or so terrestrial Titans in both this movie and past MonsterVerse entries is that each of them is, to a man, a Non-Malicious Monster; they are animals who act according to their instincts. They're smart, to be sure, but still animalistic. Godzilla doesn't go out of his way to kill people, and after Serizawa sacrifices himself to save him he does seem grateful, enough to keep the rest of the Titans away from human civilization centers. Kong is violently protective of his kingdom, but is genuinely protective of Skull Island's natives and does come to the rescue of the Skull Island Expedition against the Skullcrawlers. The behaviour of the Titans in this movie is even more explicit. When Ghidorah dominates them, they go on rampages and ignore their normal instincts; when his control over them is broken, they become peaceful and attempt to return to their natural habitats. Some might say Rodan is pretty destructive too, but Rodan fights against Ghidorah, and only joins him after falling under his control. Compared to the MUTOs and the Skullcrawlers, Ghidorah's bodycount is much larger, and it's clear he kills because he chooses to rather than as part of his life cycle or to protect younglings. Oh, that's another thing: the MUTOs genuinely loved each other and their children, while Ghidorah doesn't love ANYONE.
  • Tywin is the only other character in the movie who seems like a viable candidate, and he doesn't really do enough to justify an effortpost, unless you guys consider "Not being willing to do anything about Ghidorah" to be a CM-worthy act. I feel like his backstory of being a disillusioned soldier who's lost his faith in humanity after witnessing the worst of human nature in wartime may disqualify him — may being the operative word. I guess we should keep an eye on him for now — he may do something CM-worthy in a sequel.

Final Verdict

Like Brainiac and Ultron, Ghidorah is one of those characters who can't help but be this trope no matter what; the only versions I know of who don't count are the robot one and the GMK Ghidorah, who's a good guy. Either way, here's to another CM-worthy Ghidorah. Who's with me?

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