Tackling this subject is not a simple task for me. I am 100% unapologetically a defender of any and all things Godzilla and Kong. When people decide to shit talk any of these movies, I immediately get defensive of them. I think it boils down to so many positive connections I have with them stemming since childhood. They’re like a warm blanket. That said, I can recognize the low points in each series. I’m not blind to them.
But for me to narrow it down will be damn near impossible. So I’ll do my best to keep it simple.
King Kong Escapes is hard for me to watch but I still try. If you thought Kong’s suit in King Kong vs. Godzilla was bad, then this one will destroy your brain. Funny story: as a kid, I loved the concept of Mechagodzilla and at one point thought it would be cool if there was a movie where King Kong fought Mecha King Kong. Little did I know Mechani-kong predated Mechgodzilla by seven years. Imagine my surprise when I saw this flick for the first time.
To build off of that, I can find joy in any Kong movie. Son of Kong? It’s barely an hour long and just fine. Kong 76? Dig it! King Kong Lives? I consider it a hidden gem and will defend it till my death! I love me some Kong.
Godzilla vs. Hedorah (aka the Smog Monster) is one that I’ve grown to appreciate over time but would definitely consider it one of the lowest points of the series. The concept is noble in a way. Our hero Godzilla is fighting the personification of pollution, which is somewhat ironic when you think about it. Plus, it was attempting to send a message much like the original film was but did it in a sillier fashion because that’s where the series was at the time. Once Godzilla flew, I was like, “Well I’ve seen it all now.”
You really can’t go wrong with any of Godzilla’s Showa era stuff which, for those who don’t know the term, is any film in the series made between 1954 to 1978. So many solid flicks that range from social commentary to satire to plain old sci-fi fun. Then we have classic monsters like Mothra, Rodan, Anguirus, Ghidorah, Gigan, Megalon, King Caesar and Mechgodzilla just to name a few of my favorites.
Probably one of my all time favorite Godzilla films is The Return of Godzilla aka Godzilla 1985. This was one of my earliest introductions to the character and I loved it so much. As a kid, I would cry at the ending. So angry that he was killed. SPOILER ALERT: He returns again 4 years later alive and well. Anyway, this was a menacing Godzilla. He felt like a genuine threat and looked the part as well. I love the score of this film. I love the alteration on Godzilla’s roar which sounds much more sinister.
It’s a much darker take on the character that had not been done for decades and I dig the hell out of it. I know some people prefer the lighter “Godzilla is the hero” stuff but this is my preference. In fact all of Godzilla in the Heisei era (basically all of the films in the 80s and 90s) is my preferred take on the character.
I dig every iteration of Mechgodzilla. I love the idea of Spacegodzilla. Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Attack of the Giant Monsters from 2001 is my favorite Millennium era film. Godzilla’s Final Wars design is my least favorite although the movie rocks overall.
And finally, Shin Godzilla is an underrated masterpiece.