The Best Godzilla Movies to Watch After Minus One

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Written By Sedoso Feb

What a time to be a Godzilla fan, eh? A new Godzilla vs. Kong is on the way, Apple TV’s Monarch is surprisingly awesome, and Godzilla: Minus One opens this week. However, if that lineup doesn’t scratch your Godzilla itch, I’ve compiled a list of the best Godzilla movies for you to check out—believe me, there are plenty to choose from. In total, there are 37 Godzilla flicks roaming movie shelves. Some good, some awful. Here are the ones that will fill your lungs with atomic breath.

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995)

Before Roland Emmerich got his grubby hands on our giant nuclear lizard, Takao Okawara delivered one of the best old-school Godzilla features, Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. Replete with an all-new “Burning Godzilla” and a nightmarish villain, this spectacular monster flick delivers the action spectacle you crave while mixing in a heavy dose of emotion, notably in its handling of “Junior Godzilla.”

Godzilla vs. Kong (2022)

Look, America screwed up in 1998 with Roland Emmerich’s dismal Godzilla, starring Matthew Broderick, Hank Azaria, and Jean Reno. Since then, Hollywood has produced a handful of great monster features that take Godzilla and his immense legacy seriously. Now, some will swear by the campier ’60s features, notably the terrific Godzilla vs. Mothra, but I’m sticking with the newer chapters, mainly because they look so damned amazing. Godzilla v Kong, in particular, arrives with a shiny coat of ultra-realistic CGI that makes its creatures pop like never before. The human drama blows, but the action in Adam Wingard’s entertaining romp is so eye-popping that it renders all criticisms moot. Plus, you know, Mechagodzilla.

Shin Godzilla (2016)

Godzilla’s filmography is split between films depicting him as a horrific villain and an almighty savior. I like him best as the bad guy, an unstoppable force that spends its night laying waste to the world that created him. Shin Godzilla falls into the former camp and goes out of its way to make everyone’s favorite monster into a terrifying force capable of splitting his lower jaws open and firing friggin’ lasers from his back. A back-to-basics remake, Shin Godzilla delivers plenty of monstrous destruction and blends old-school effects with modern computer graphics, resulting in an entertaining spectacle with quite a bit of bite.

Godzilla 1985

My favorite Godzilla flick as a kid, Godzilla 1985, dispenses with the bullshit and lets the big guy do what he does best: destroy Tokyo. You won’t find Baby Godzilla near this iteration, who towers over skyscrapers and is foreboding enough to make Raymond Burr soil his pants. I remember crying when Godzilla met his end in that damned volcano—his scream is genuinely heartbreaking, if not horrific. Sure, the effects are a little wonky, and the film treads familiar territory without adding anything new to the Godzilla lore, but this dark and gritty film gets the job done and hits more than it misses.

Godzilla’s battle against Super X is awesome:

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

King of the Monsters stands as the ultimate monster movie, reigning as the best among the four American-made Godzilla films and boasting top-notch special effects. If this movie had existed during my childhood, my parents would never have heard the end of it. Admittedly, the human drama involving Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, and Kyle Chandler is incredibly convoluted and nonsensical—Vera’s desire to wipe out humanity because her kid died is a bit perplexing—but let’s be honest, no one goes to a Godzilla film for a complex plot. The human characters are there to drive the action forward, and in that regard, director Michael Dougherty does just enough to make you care about the relentless onslaught of monster mayhem on screen.

The battles are truly epic! Mothra injects her life into Godzilla, for crying out loud, giving him enough power to overload, self-destruct, and eradicate the fearsome Monster Zero (and all of Boston). It’s not original, and no, it doesn’t have anything to add to the nuclear subtext lingering within these films, but King of the Monsters is still big, dumb, campy, blockbuster fun!

Godzilla (1954)

The original Godzilla film, arguably still the best from a critical standpoint, intricately weaves a surprising depth into what might seem like a typical creature feature. For those unaware, Godzilla was Japan’s response to the nuclear bomb. The big guy emerges from the sea and obliterates everything in his path through expert special effects and the skilled direction of Ishirō Honda. In essence, the 1954 original is essential viewing for Godzilla enthusiasts, serving as a compelling starting point to explore his enduring legacy.

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