Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster ★★★★

“We can only do our best, and let heaven’s will be done.”

This is essentially Batman v Superman with rubber suit monsters, but waaay better. It's also much goofier than anything I've seen in the series so far, but once I understood what kind of movie I was in, it quickly became a real treat.

For me, Ghidorah solidifies the transition from symbolic sci-fi/horror to full-throttle fantasy action cheese. The film still toys with politics and philosophy but only loosely, and mostly only as lip service. There are also some neat additions to the Godzilla canon, like refugees from Venus, a three-headed dragon, and even gun shootouts! I felt the effects are actually stronger than in Mothra vs. Godzilla, which was released only a few months earlier. This might just be because there were fewer effect sequences involved here, in favor of more rubber suit battle royale. In particular, Ghidorah’s three heads looked absolutely amazing, and there’s actually some stylish camera trickery in a couple scenes and transitions. The human story is more thriller than the previous films, but somehow I found it even less compelling. Thankfully, the acting, costumes, sets, and character personalities were better than ever before, and I really enjoyed seeing all the returning actors in their new roles.

The monster personalities are super funny. I loved watching Rodan and Godzilla bash each other in the most ridiculous ways. Rodan’s constant pecking is hilarious, but Godzilla really gets the upper hand once he finally learns Rock Throw, probably since he knows Rock is super effective against Flying, right? The first couple action sequences are a solid step up from the already great fights of Mothra vs. Godzilla, and then they just get so much better when the monsters start working together in creative ways. Of all the fantastic tag team goodness, I absolutely lost it when Larva Mothra got on Rodan's back. They just don't make movies with this kind of unrestrained creativity anymore. It's outlandish but it embraces it's outlandishness and takes it totally seriously without losing what makes the outlandishness so much fun in the first place. I don’t even know how to describe why this goofiness is so great, it's just so wonderful and exhilarating. My biggest gripe might be that Mothra never evolves into her full form, but this leaves me even more excited for the 2019 King of Monsters movie. There’s so much more to love too - it’s just a ridiculous, silly, epic monster movie. Far better than 3.5, but not quite 4.

Ghidorah is only modestly intriguing as a story, but the goofy, lovable personalities of the monsters truly make this film something iconic for the ages. The low-fi fights in these movies are so special and so clever that I’m slightly apprehensive to see how they’re reinterpreted with big budget CGI in the modern movies. But no matter what nonsense Hollywood churns out now, I take deep comfort in knowing that these outrageous, magical movies I’m falling in love with aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

“Godzilla and Rodan each demand that the other apologize.”

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