I am not sure how to start. I guess saying I love all Godzilla films is the easiest. I started watching Godzilla films in the early 1970's when I was a kid, can't say I've disliked one I've ever seen. Pretty sure it was Godzilla vs Megalon I saw first. I only have one or two that haven't blessed these eyes yet, but they're in the collection for when I get time.
Next, I categorize G films into a few groups. The ones for kids, the ones for "art appreciation", and the ones for adults. Kids may like the adult monsters & battles, adults may like some of the humor in the kid-flavored ones, and so on. I've been re-watching them with my 6yr old, and for certain he loves the heck out of the movies too.
Why is Final Wars one of the best kid
G movies made? Lots of G fights, lots of bad matrix style karate types, lots of bad acting, complete camp fest - fan-friggin-tastic. Turn off your brain and enjoy the show. Plot? It's a Godzilla movie. Realism? It's a Godzilla movie. Plagarism is the highest form of flattery - so stealing from Star Wars, the Matrix, and so on is 150% OK. It is my 6yr old's favorite Godzilla film along with Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah - Giant Monsters All Out Attack. So - there you go, top kid Godzilla movies.
Shin Godzilla is probably my favorite adult Godzilla film. I appreciate '54 for it's impact, and goal of capturing the post war feelings, but it's not top of my list. Disappointed we won't see a follow up.
The Legendary films.... are OK. Typical 'save the cat' hollywood plot, lots of special effects, and too much crap/storyline about humans that could have been better used for more monster action. G:KoM... Boo hoo the environment. Jeesh, enough already - we're going extinct eventually, get over it
I have assumed Godzilla '98 is the most disliked - where Final Wars succeeds, Godzilla '98 fails - not even Matthew Broderick could save it. Again, my assumption - lots of forum to read yet. Sure they took the opportunity to rip off Jurrasic Park, Aliens, etc.. but somehow failed to translate that meaningfully into entertainment instead of boredom. OOooOoOh, it's a bigger T-Rex with a very manly jaw line - bleah. Corrected in Final Wars.
Even my kid doesn't care for it, or the cartoon series where the gang has a pet Godzilla.
I am certain my earlier experiences with Godzilla vs Megalon, Smog Monster, and Sea Monster on Sundays as a kid shaped my views on the Godzilla films, as I expect it did for everyone else.
P.S. While I love Godzilla, Gamera edges him out as my favorite.
P.P.S. I can't say I ever considered looking at the Godzilla films critically until now. I'll see if any of my opinions change after the rewatches.