“Professor Tanabe… I saw it! A creature from the Jurassic era!” – Godzilla (1954)

Godzilla, the king of rubber suit monsters. Since his first appearance in 1954, he has terrified and amazed audiences all over the world for nearly 70 years across 36 movies! His towering influence in cinema is felt to this day with countless other monster films and tv shows that spawned in his wake. There have been numerous reimaginings of the character that add their own spin on the titan, most recently with Legendary Pictures’ MonsterVerse. Here is everything we have to offer on the atomic menace.

 

Legendary’s MonsterVerse

The current series from Legendary Pictures started with Godzilla in 2014. It brought a new, bear-like design and a greater focus on the human characters.  It also gave us a revival of King Kong with Skull Island in 2017. More legacy characters were rolled in with King of the Monsters in 2019, most prominently King Ghidorah. This culminated in Godzilla and Kong’s climactic faceoff in Godzilla vs. Kong, one of the year’s biggest films with some spectacular fight scenes. The end left some juicy cliffhangers, so be on the lookout for the next entry into the series.

Shin Godzilla (2016)

A reimagining directed by the creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion, Hideaki Anno. The inclusion of “Shin” in the title is important because it can mean either “new” (新), “true” (真) or “God” (神), all of these being applicable in this case. It returns to the starting point of the character, a terrifying natural disaster that humanity must learn to organize against or face extinction. One of the most notable aspects is the grotesque evolution Godzilla undergoes as it acclimates to humanity’s attempts to stop it. It has won countless awards, including the 2016 Japan Academy Film Prize for Director and Film of the Year. There are also plans for two more films in the “Shin” series to revive other classic characters of Japanese pop culture, Shin Ultraman (to be released… eventually) and Shin Kamen Rider (2023).

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Netflix Original Content

The streaming service has a plethora of original Godzilla content that takes the series in startling new directions. The Planet of Monsters trilogy (Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (2017) / City on the Edge of Battle (2018) / The Planet Eater (2018)) revolves around an epic sci-fi scenario where Godzilla takes control of the planet, forcing humanity off Earth. They return to find the monster has terraformed the planet and must fight a desperate war to take back their home. It also had the distinction of being the first animated film in the series’ history. Godzilla Singular Point (2021) is a psychological mystery/investigation series that follows the staff of Otaki Factory and a graduate student as they explore the mysterious appearance of kaiju, the development of AI and quantum physics. The series also includes a cameo from a previous character in the Godzilla series, the robot Jet Jaguar.

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Godzilla. Unnatural Disasters. 

This franchise is more than just movies. Check out the following collection with several comic artists trying their hand at writing Godzilla. This collects three series: Legends, In Hell and Rage Across Time! If you liked Doom: Eternal, I would personally recommend In Hell because it is completely metal.

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Godzilla Collection

This collection contains seven classic entries in the series, including the 1954 original. The tone of the films switches between horror to comic slapstick wrestling. While the effects may seem dated to modern audiences, the miniature work is top-notch and has its own special charm.

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Next week I’ll be covering the broader genre of Japanese special effects films and television, Tokusatsu. So, stay tuned!