Godzilla movies ranked

Yesterday, we began our journey of ranking every single Godzilla movie from worst to best. Today, we reach the grand finale: the 15 best movies starring the King of the Monsters.

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15. Godzilla 2000 [1999] 

The first entry into the Millennium Series is awesome spectacle, if still a standard Godzilla movie. Godzilla 2000 scores big points for showcasing one of the weirdest opponents Big G has ever faced: Orga. The thing from another planet starts the movie as a UFO, before swiping DNA from the King of Monsters’ skin and transmuting into its own oversized kaiju form (seriously, this thing is MASSIVE). Possibly cooler is Godzilla’s upgraded design, as he’s all scales and spikes, ready to decimate anything that crosses his path. After the abomination that was Roland Emmerich’s American remake, Godzilla 2000 was a breath of fresh air for fans, as Toho was willfully rejecting the perversion of their greatest icon, leaning into the destructive nature of his design.

Best Instance of Utter Destruction: Orga tries to eat Godzilla! It’s one of the craziest scenes in any kaiju movie, as the alien deploys an orifice that expands and then wraps around the head of a bewildered Big G. Thankfully, Godzilla charges up his atomic breath, and manages to scorch his way out of his opponent’s new mucus-painted opening. Talk about burning your mouth on a hot piece of food.

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14. Shin Godzilla [2016, AKA Godzilla Resurgence]

Here’s the thing about Shin Godzilla: it’s a great fucking movie, but (like the ’14 American Godzilla revival), it’s not necessarily the best Godzilla film. Where Edwards’ Godzilla was concerned with human egocentrism in the face of a global, ecological disaster, Shin Godzilla focuses on the bureaucratic behind the scenes workings of a government trying to deal with the same ecological calamity. It’s funny, when paired together, the two make for fascinating flipsides to a coin, while almost making the actual monster attacks an afterthought. The main difference between Shin Godzilla and Edwards’ Godzilla: the onscreen destruction is some of the best and most realistic the franchise has ever seen. This red-chested mammoth is a shocking force, ready to level all structures in his path. Even better, the evolution of this iteration of Big G is a marvel, going from aquatic terror to biped beast before our eyes.

Best Instance of Utter Destruction: Godzilla’s atomic breath in Shin Godzilla progresses in one scene from city leveling holocaust to building cutting laser beam, and its an amazing mixture of scale and SFX, making you truly believe that this modern Godzilla is the scariest possible version of the kaiju. There’s nothing cute and cuddly here, as his dead white eyes roll over, and Hell is unleashed from his belly.

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13. King Kong vs. Godzilla [1962] 

In terms of vs. episodes, this should’ve been the one to top them all – a meeting of two iconic forces from opposite sides of the planet, ready to maul one another for supreme domination and the title of King Kaiju. Their throw down does not disappoint, as the battle is extended and brutal. Godzilla is presented as an evil harbinger of death; King Kong his primal adversary. Funnily enough, neither win, as they go tumbling off the side of a cliff, only to see Kong swim away. Why there was never a rematch is beyond this writer, and a longstanding myth has maintained that there’s a lost Japanese cut somewhere, sporting a retooled ending where the King of Monsters retains his titled. I call bullshit.

Best Instance of Utter Destruction: King Kong is dropped in by balloon, tumbles down the side of a hill, and knocks Godzilla out at the knees. Knowing he’s in trouble if he doesn’t get to higher ground, Kong scurries up the slope’s side, stomping a series of small huts as he goes. All the while, he looks back over his shoulder, knowing Godzilla’s coming, and he’s not pleased.

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12. Godzilla vs. Monster Zero [1965, AKA Invasion of the Astro-Monster

Probably the most straight up science fiction entry from the early years, Monster Zero involves full on space travel for King G. Godzilla is also positioned as the good guy, as he and Rodan are summoned to a recently discovered planet to help ward off the indigenous people’s oppressor, who turns out to be none other than Ghidorah. But the tables are turned when it’s discovered that these extraterrestrials were not in danger at all – they summoned two of our favorite kaiju as part of a nefarious plot to destroy earth. They psychically control the three monsters and unleash them on humanity, hoping to wipe us all out. Do they succeed? Of course not. But it’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch them try.

Best Instance of Utter Destruction: Godzilla dance so good! That’s right, after launching himself at Ghidorah, tackling him to the ground, and doing enough damage that the three-headed golden god flies away, King G does a silly jig, hopping up and down, alternating his hands behind his big green head. You’ll want to integrate his moves into your repertoire for the next wedding you attend.

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11. Terror of MechaGodzilla [1975] 

The direct sequel to Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla is real hero’s journey for the King of Monsters, allowing him to square off against multiple enemies on his quest to vanquish the robotic clone of himself. Even better is the introduction of a brand new amphibious kaiju, Titanosaurus. Controlled by Professor Mifune (get it?), Titanosaurus is meant to rid the world of Godzilla, towering over our favorite creature with his overly long neck.  Honda’s return to the series is a triumphant affair, letting the now iconic kaiju he created with the original become a source of inspiration for all sitting in the audience. This is best viewed through the lens of “Godzilla as game show contestant”; as Toho continued to toss more adversaries at Big G, he bested them all.

Best Instance of Utter Destruction: Godzilla’s entrance in Terror of MechaGodzilla is legitimately godlike, as he blasts Titanosaurus from stage left. Honda then cuts to Big G, cuing his theme up and giving him an introduction like a beloved character on a hit sitcom. He’s back everybody, get ready to cheer and be amazed.

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