Since 1954, Godzilla has been a part of our world. Through the decades, we’ve seen Godzilla transformed from a killing kaiju to a protector of the planet. Between the Japanese studios and American Hollywood, we’ve seen the giant reptilian creature change in size and attitude. Humans, aliens, and monsters have tried time and again to kill off the prehistoric monster in numerous ways but Godzilla always comes back. It’s no wonder that he holds the title of king of the monsters.
Why has Godzilla had such staying power in the world of movie monsters isn’t hard to see. Created in the midst of the use of the H-bomb, he represented all that was wrong with mankind. A world that just nine years prior to Godzilla’s emergence had experienced a tragedy like no other in recorded history. Is it no wonder that Godzilla’s power is the atomic breath? The people of the world needed someone to blame and someone to save them and the big lizard filled the bill.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, we see Godzilla go from destroying mankind for what they’ve done to him and his kind to protecting the planet from aliens and monsters, keeping planet Earth safe, and stopping world disasters. In many of the 1960s films, the cause of the trouble is greed from humans and aliens alike. Fighting for the everyman seems to be a theme Toho focused on during those early years. Keeping a balance between good and evil is what Godzilla is all about. In the 1970s, we have Godzilla fighting against global pollution, environmental disasters, aliens, giant robots, and a whole new slew of monsters. Godzilla becomes the keeper of the peace for all mankind during his first three decades.
The 1980s saw the return of Godzilla in a new way. This time his appearance was more defined, a bigger, meaner monster and his destructive attitude towards humans returned. The 1990s are filled with a Godzilla who comes under fire from humans and monsters due to crazy science and space phenomena. 1995 is the year that Godzilla dies only to be replaced with a new Godzilla Jr. Only a few years later Hollywood got into the game with a reboot of Godzilla destroying America this time. I think I speak for many fans when I say that Godzilla’s first appearance through the eyes of an American studio left much to be desired. Still, the kaiju lives to fight another day.
Millennium Godzilla was a whole new beast. His look, his anger, and his destruction were bigger than ever. Toho Studios revamping of the Godzilla franchise focusing more on monster basics with crazy battles and even crazier storylines. It seems no matter what the big lizard does, the humans just won’t leave him alone even though time and time again throughout the past 50 years he has proven to be the best protector we’ve got. He not only saves the humans from evil aliens, but he also saves his fellow kaiju, because, after all, he is the king of the monsters.
2014 Hollywood Godzilla was a beast who once again came to save humanity. With an ally like Godzilla, it was easy for a whole new generation of fans to fall in love with his atomic breath and screeching roar. Toho got back into the Godzilla game in 2016 with Shin Godzilla. This Godzilla was angry over humanities polluting his domain. Between 2017 and 2019 there was an anime series with Godzilla as the keeper of the earth that mankind had made uninhabitable. Once again giving the impression that the G man is just trying to keep nature in balance.
Currently, we have the Godzilla from the Hollywood Monsterverse franchise. It starts again in 2019 when the King of the Monsters must protect the earth from some classic enemies who want to kill all humans. Keeping balance in nature is a running theme with Godzilla and when he fights Kong for a second time the battle is epic. This feud is still raging, and it won’t be long before we find out how the G-man is going to restore balance in our ever-changing universe.
Finally, we must think about the latest Godzilla we see in Minus One. This kaiju is portrayed just like the original Godzilla. He is a product of humanity using nuclear weapons. He’s not happy with us puny humans and he’s going to let us know. Once again, we futilely try to kill the God. But what we can take away from this new masterpiece is that humanity has much to answer for and Godzilla will always be there to keep us in check.
We need Godzilla today as much as we did in 1954. He’s a reminder of balance in the natural world, that our actions have consequences and if we don’t take care of our big blue ball it could all be destroyed in just two hours.