Man, listen. I’ve been a Godzilla fan my entire life. I’ve seen every Godzilla movie (from every era), and have been following the MonsterVerse ever since it began, which means I was super excited for Godzilla Minus One.
Hell, I even like the 1998 Godzilla movie that nobody seems to like. In every way, I definitely foresee myself being a lifelong Godzilla fan. In fact, one of my happiest moments was when I met the first Godzilla actor, Haruo Nakajima (RIP) at Comic-Con, and he autographed a picture for me. Said picture is now hanging in my basement.
But, let me tell you something. Never in my existence did I ever think there would be a Godzilla movie better than the 1954 original. It just seemed untouchable. Well, I’m blown away to tell you that not only has it been touched, but it’s been blasted away with atomic breath, because Godzilla Minus One is the new greatest Godzilla movie ever made, and I have five reasons why.
For The First Time Ever, I Truly Cared As Much About The Human Characters As I Did For Godzilla
Look, Godzilla has always been the main attraction when it comes to Godzilla movies. I mean, why should we care about the people he stomps on? The only reason they’re there in the first place is so he CAN stomp on them! Or at least, that’s what I used to think before I saw Godzilla Minus One.
This is because for the first time ever in a Godzilla movie, I actually cared about the human characters. Not only that, but I actually wanted the humans to defeat Godzilla.
Imagine that! I’ve never wanted Godzilla to lose. I’m like Dr. Yamane in the first movie: “Godzilla should not be destroyed. He should be studied!” But no, this version of the monster could never be studied, because this is the enemy of the people, which is totally unsympathetic.
This isn’t like the Godzilla in the MonsterVerse (which is the best shared universe we currently have). That Godzilla almost seems to be on the side of humankind. But this Godzilla is a destructive force, and I didn’t want to see the protagonists in this film be destroyed.
One said protagonist named Shikishima is a complex character who was ordered to be a kamikaze pilot during World War II, but was too scared, and is haunted by his sense of “failure.” Another is a woman named Noriko Oishi who takes in a child that is not her own because the kid has lost her parents. The other main characters work together to try and stop Godzilla, and you come to like them so much you don’t want to see any of them die.
This is huge for me, and it almost kind of feels like Cloverfield, which makes sense since the director of Godzilla Minus One learned lessons from watching Cloverfield, and we’re all the better for it.
Enemy Of The People Godzilla Is My Favorite Version Of The Character, And He’s A True Enemy Here
One thing I kind of don’t like about the MonsterVerse, and I said as such when I ranked its movies, is that I’m not very fond of the Godzilla found in the 2014 Godzilla movie, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The reason is that even though the monster isn’t technically banding with humankind in these movies, he’s also not purposely squishing them, either.
While yes, I am aware that Godzilla has probably been more of an anti-hero than a villain in many of his movies when he’s fighting enemies, like Gigan, Mechagodzilla, and of course, King Ghidorah, I still always love when he is the central antagonist. I mean, this is freaking Godzilla after all. If you want a kaiju that protects children, watch Gamera.
But the monster in Minus One is truly horrifying. There’s a scene where Godzilla is stomping through a city, and it’s just as terrifying as it would likely be in real life. And when he starts charging up his atomic blast, oh, man. That scene gave me goosebumps.
The fact of the matter is, Godzilla Minus One features my favorite version of the monster, and he’s probably the scariest he’s ever been here. So, score another one for Minus One over my former favorite, the 1954 original.
It Feels Like Godzilla Is A Threat Throughout The Entire Movie
I’m going to be honest with you. Even though I’m a massive Godzilla fan, I find some of the movies to be really boring. Now, in the past, that was okay, because I came to see Godzilla, and whenever he would turn up, I would sit up in attention. But, there are quite simply too many movies where I was simply just not interested, and only really cared when Godzilla arrived.
This was not the case with Godzilla Minus One. Do you want to know why? It’s because even when he wasn’t on the screen, I was still thinking about him. I think this all goes back to the characters being so likable, and how I almost didn’t want Godzilla to return. Like, these people have already been through enough with the war. Does the monster really have to make their lives even more miserable?
With this in mind, I always felt like Godzilla was a constant threat, even when he wasn’t on the screen. And again, for me to want to see even less of the monster is no small feat. Because I LOVE Godzilla. In case you couldn’t tell.
The Storyline Actually Moved Me
I must reiterate that I really liked the characters in this film, because it’s their effort against Godzilla that really moved me. Godzilla movies, besides the first one which was more of a cautionary tale, are usually about death and destruction.
Yes, a turkey (I’m sorry) like Godzilla vs. Hedorah was more about humankind’s impact on the environment, but a lot of the messages in these movies kind of get lost when you start having plotlines involving green-faced alien monkeys, and a kaiju that’s awoken via a song.
However, the storyline and themes are clear in this movie. This is a film about hope, and how we must fight for life and not death. Life is short, and there is no need to make it even shorter just because of things like “patriotism.”
In this film, there is a stirring speech about how much was lost by the Japanese people during World War II, and how many were asked to sacrifice everything for the “greater good.” They were even given airplanes without ejector seats because kamikaze pilots were supposed to die for their country.
However, this film is highly critical of this concept, and how the future calls upon people to want to live for the next generation, not die for it. Honestly, I did not expect to almost be moved to tears watching a Godzilla movie, but this film got me extremely close.
I Took My Son To See It, And Now He’s A Major Godzilla Fan, Just Like Me
Not too long ago, I wrote about how I was taking my six-year-old son to see Godzilla Minus One, and how I was concerned. Now, my main concern was that the film would potentially be boring, because I didn’t want to turn my son off to a franchise I love so much. I wanted him to be a fan just like me!
Well, I’m happy to report that my son LOVED the movie (Subtitles and all), and now he’s as big a fan as ever, which also blows my mind. Here’s the thing, the first Godzilla movie I ever remember watching was Godzilla vs. Megalon, and any Godzilla fan worth their stuff knows that that’s the movie that featured Jet Jaguar.
Now, Jet Jaguar (and Godzilla himself) in that movie are super silly, but I was like 6 years old myself when I managed to watch it, and so my thoughts of Godzilla growing up was that he was just some guy in a silly suit. But the movie I was taking my son to was one of the serious Godzilla movies, and this was make or break for me.
But again, that’s just how good this movie was, because even my son was completely invested. In fact, I wasn’t the only parent who brought their children to see this movie, and all of the other kids seemed to be deeply invested too. If that doesn’t tell you how good this flick is – the fact that a film with SUBTITLES had children absorbed – then I don’t know what does.
That said, what did you think? Were you also able to catch the King of the Monsters in theaters? For more news on all things Godzilla, be sure to swing by here often!