Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster sets an intriguing pace from the start and carries the human side of the plot through the majority of its runtime. Despite holding back on introducing the titular monster until nearly the end of the film, Ghidorah still manages to be engaging by focusing on the human story without devolving into melodrama like films before it.
Mothra vs. Godzilla is a shockingly great entry in the Godzilla franchise and terrific showcase of both of its title monsters. It creates empathy for the monsters in surprising ways while keeping its human antagonists as mere cyphers for the moral lessons it hopes to impart. The film comes together with fantastic action and a wonderfully poignant message of hope in its final scene. Mothra vs. Godzilla is easily the best film in the franchise since Godzilla (1954).
The US version of King Kong vs Godzilla is certainly a less piecemeal repurposing of its Japanese original than Godzilla, King of the Monsters was to 1954’s Godzilla. Instead, the film plays into the spectator sport aspect of this monumental confrontation. Bringing Godzilla into color film and taking Kong to Japan to do battle with him, King Kong vs Godzilla, while over the top in its silliness at times, provides a worthy payoff to the hour (and then some) of set up and contrivances to get these two monsters to duke it out.
Since it’s poorly repurposing such a fantastic Japanese film, much (if not all) of Godzilla, King of the Monsters feels like a waste of time meant to dumb down a good story for an American audience.
Released just six months after 1954’s original Godzilla film, Godzilla Raids Again is not nearly as well-executed and nuanced as its predecessor. However, there is a lot of fun to be had in this movie and, in at least one case, it actually eclipses the original.
Godzilla creates the monster as an antagonist in a way that brings the fear of nuclear arms, humanity’s race toward self-destruction, and the horror of creating that which you can’t control to the forefront of its story.