Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

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Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby Shoopwoop17 » Sat Jun 08, 2019 6:35 am

I did not find another thread about this, but I think it deserves more than just the General Discussion or the "This will be controversial" thread.

Alright, a lot of people seemed to be upset about how nukes were treated in the movie. Specifically with their revival of Godzilla. In particular, the line "How many nukes do you have?" seemed rather irreverent to what the series originally stood for.

On second viewing however, a few things stood out to me which made me think that the movie could have been trying to be a metaphor about nuclear energy. The Titans bring new growth wherever they go, fueled by their radiation. The end credits of the movie show many modern ecological disasters being repaired by the Titans.

Things get really interesting (For me, I could be reading way too far into this) with Serizawa's "Its time to get a new watch" line. That watch served as a reminder of Hiroshima in Godzilla 2014. Now, if this is what they were going for, it would be very controversial, even irreverent. But I think they might have been trying to say that it is time to move past nukes as weapons and towards nuclear power for energy. Nuclear power brings back Godzilla, Godzilla brings balance to the environment.

If this is what they were going for, it was not pulled off nearly as well as it should have, but it is an interesting thing to think about.

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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby eabaker » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:06 am

Shoopwoop17 wrote:I did not find another thread about this, but I think it deserves more than just the General Discussion or the "This will be controversial" thread.

Alright, a lot of people seemed to be upset about how nukes were treated in the movie. Specifically with their revival of Godzilla. In particular, the line "How many nukes do you have?" seemed rather irreverent to what the series originally stood for.

On second viewing however, a few things stood out to me which made me think that the movie could have been trying to be a metaphor about nuclear energy. The Titans bring new growth wherever they go, fueled by their radiation. The end credits of the movie show many modern ecological disasters being repaired by the Titans.

Things get really interesting (For me, I could be reading way too far into this) with Serizawa's "Its time to get a new watch" line. That watch served as a reminder of Hiroshima in Godzilla 2014. Now, if this is what they were going for, it would be very controversial, even irreverent. But I think they might have been trying to say that it is time to move past nukes as weapons and towards nuclear power for energy. Nuclear power brings back Godzilla, Godzilla brings balance to the environment.

If this is what they were going for, it was not pulled off nearly as well as it should have, but it is an interesting thing to think about.


To me, the most problematic part is the climax, with Burning Godzilla's repeated use of his souped-up nuclear pulse and basically atomic leveling of Boston being treated as something the audience should cheer for.

A character sacrificing himself while using nuclear weapons to revive a heroic Godzilla? There, the gravity with which the situation is treated kind of helps us get around any potential pro-nuke readings.

But in Boston, we're basically being asked to cheer for a living nuclear weapon. I'm sure that wasn't the filmmakers' intent, but it is the outcome.
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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby Kaiju-King42 » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:08 am

eabaker wrote:
Shoopwoop17 wrote:I did not find another thread about this, but I think it deserves more than just the General Discussion or the "This will be controversial" thread.

Alright, a lot of people seemed to be upset about how nukes were treated in the movie. Specifically with their revival of Godzilla. In particular, the line "How many nukes do you have?" seemed rather irreverent to what the series originally stood for.

On second viewing however, a few things stood out to me which made me think that the movie could have been trying to be a metaphor about nuclear energy. The Titans bring new growth wherever they go, fueled by their radiation. The end credits of the movie show many modern ecological disasters being repaired by the Titans.

Things get really interesting (For me, I could be reading way too far into this) with Serizawa's "Its time to get a new watch" line. That watch served as a reminder of Hiroshima in Godzilla 2014. Now, if this is what they were going for, it would be very controversial, even irreverent. But I think they might have been trying to say that it is time to move past nukes as weapons and towards nuclear power for energy. Nuclear power brings back Godzilla, Godzilla brings balance to the environment.

If this is what they were going for, it was not pulled off nearly as well as it should have, but it is an interesting thing to think about.


To me, the most problematic part is the climax, with Burning Godzilla's repeated use of his souped-up nuclear pulse and basically atomic leveling of Boston being treated as something the audience should cheer for.

A character sacrificing himself while using nuclear weapons to revive a heroic Godzilla? There, the gravity with which the situation is treated kind of helps us get around any potential pro-nuke readings.

But in Boston, we're basically being asked to cheer for a living nuclear weapon. I'm sure that wasn't the filmmakers' intent, but it is the outcome.


I mean, is Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla 2 or vs Destoroyah any different in that regard?
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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby eabaker » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:16 am

Kaiju-King42 wrote:I mean, is Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla 2 or vs Destoroyah any different in that regard?


Yes, very much so. Neither movie presents us with nearly as straight-up heroic a Godzilla or goes for the same "Victory!" feeling with its climax. The Heisei series as a whole presents Godzilla as kind of a tragic character.

Mechagodzilla II is not a movie that especially emphasizes the nuclear aspects of Godzilla, narratively or thematically, nor does it paint him as a hero so much as just an animal trying to survive.

Destroyah's narrative and thematic core is the apocalyptic threat represented by Burning Godzilla.

KotM marries the ideas of Godzilla as a nuclear monster and Godzilla as a superhero in a way no other franchise entry has ever done before, and to some viewers that feels at odds with a lot of what resonates about both interpretations on their own.
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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby Shoopwoop17 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 5:56 am

eabaker wrote:
Kaiju-King42 wrote:I mean, is Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla 2 or vs Destoroyah any different in that regard?


Yes, very much so. Neither movie presents us with nearly as straight-up heroic a Godzilla or goes for the same "Victory!" feeling with its climax. The Heisei series as a whole presents Godzilla as kind of a tragic character.

Mechagodzilla II is not a movie that especially emphasizes the nuclear aspects of Godzilla, narratively or thematically, nor does it paint him as a hero so much as just an animal trying to survive.

Destroyah's narrative and thematic core is the apocalyptic threat represented by Burning Godzilla.

KotM marries the ideas of Godzilla as a nuclear monster and Godzilla as a superhero in a way no other franchise entry has ever done before, and to some viewers that feels at odds with a lot of what resonates about both interpretations on their own.

That is interesting! I had not even thought about that in regard to the movie's nuclear message. Actually, it was only on my second viewing that I realized Boston was totally destroyed, not by Ghidorah, but by Godzilla. Though the end of the movie, from Ghidorah's head being blown up to the final roar, feels like a mix of wonder and dread. Like, the monsters bowing, the sun rising over Godzilla's roar, that is good. But the fear from Godzilla killing Ghidorah in such a brutal way and the fact that Boston is flattened contradicts that.

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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby eabaker » Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:56 am

Shoopwoop17 wrote:
eabaker wrote:
Kaiju-King42 wrote:I mean, is Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla 2 or vs Destoroyah any different in that regard?


Yes, very much so. Neither movie presents us with nearly as straight-up heroic a Godzilla or goes for the same "Victory!" feeling with its climax. The Heisei series as a whole presents Godzilla as kind of a tragic character.

Mechagodzilla II is not a movie that especially emphasizes the nuclear aspects of Godzilla, narratively or thematically, nor does it paint him as a hero so much as just an animal trying to survive.

Destroyah's narrative and thematic core is the apocalyptic threat represented by Burning Godzilla.

KotM marries the ideas of Godzilla as a nuclear monster and Godzilla as a superhero in a way no other franchise entry has ever done before, and to some viewers that feels at odds with a lot of what resonates about both interpretations on their own.

That is interesting! I had not even thought about that in regard to the movie's nuclear message. Actually, it was only on my second viewing that I realized Boston was totally destroyed, not by Ghidorah, but by Godzilla. Though the end of the movie, from Ghidorah's head being blown up to the final roar, feels like a mix of wonder and dread. Like, the monsters bowing, the sun rising over Godzilla's roar, that is good. But the fear from Godzilla killing Ghidorah in such a brutal way and the fact that Boston is flattened contradicts that.


I personally didn't feel that sense of dread on my first viewing, but you're not the first person I've seen talk about that. When I see it for a second time, I'll see if I can tune into that more, as that would go a long way toward redeeming the ending for me. :)
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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby UltramanGoji » Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:08 am

Also look out for this quick back-and-forth between Chen and Dr. Statton:

"Jesus, good thing he's on our side."

"...For now."

Not to mention the bowing scene and the construction of it. Rodan approaches, growling at Godzilla before being intimidated into submission. If I recall correctly, the shot of Godzilla's response to Rodan is kind of aggressive, a beaten up Godzilla looks at Rodan with rage in his eyes. To me, that didn't seem like something to celebrate but something to fear. Even the music that plays as Godzilla roars to the sky with all the Titans bowing at his feet I remember sounding a little more paranoid rather than celebratory.

While the film may lean more towards portraying Godzilla's victory and "meltdown" form as something heroic, there are at least a few things here and there that show Godzilla's position atop the Titan "food chain" is something to fear. Whether or not that gets carried over into GVK (I have a feeling it will, especially in regards to the monsters fighting) remains to be seen.
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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby Shoopwoop17 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:24 pm

The dread was very much a second viewing thing for me. I didn't notice it the first time. But the end montage shows that it is a good thing that Godzilla is in charge. As Serizawa said, he is the key to our coexistence. But there is still a bit of fear in there.

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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby JAGzilla » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:26 am

I definitely got the sense that the Titans were bowing out of fear at least as much as respect, and he's just glaring around, daring one of them to try anything. He... really is like a living nuclear weapon, now that I think about it. There's plenty of reason to assume the Titans (a new type of world power) would be running amok without him, rampaging and squabbling amongst themselves, but he maintains peace through the threat of horrifying annihilation.

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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:16 pm

The more I thought about it and the more time that has elapsed since I saw KOTM the more I`ve gradually become sickened and utterly repulsed by KOTM specifically for these reasons. Despite my initial nearly positive reactions I`ve just grown to consider this film just as unfaithful to the 98 film.

I`m going to pretend the whole "Nuclear Power" thing isn`t just a desperate search for some sort of metaphor in order to defend the film. In order for a metaphor to work, there needs to actually be evidence of something being a signifier and symbol. If Godzilla is somehow nuclear power, then what is Ghidorah? Electricity? What? The whole metaphor, even if it exists, is poorly excuted at best and deeply offended as worst. What`s Rodan and what`s Mothra? A lot of people think that having metaphors or symbols are inherently intelligent things to do, but if they`re not executed well, or balanced correctly they just come off as childish excuses.

And yeah, KOTM is also super hugely offensive with the nuclear power is AMAZING when you consider actually that the Fukishima disaster was caused by a nuclear power plant malfunction; that the entire purpose of that film. Shin used Godzilla`s first few forms to represent the tsunami and earth quake, and the return trip to the sea if the brief lull that occurred before the actual nuclear threat was realized.

I agree with Eabaker that the ending shot is probably one of the most horrendous things ever. I keep seeing some weirdly backwards argument that nuclear energy somehow promotes growth (when realistically it just kills everything), but even if not, didn`t Godzilla destroying Boston destroy not only the city but the surrounding ecosystem?
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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby Living Corpse » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:22 pm

eabaker wrote:
Kaiju-King42 wrote:I mean, is Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla 2 or vs Destoroyah any different in that regard?


Yes, very much so. Neither movie presents us with nearly as straight-up heroic a Godzilla or goes for the same "Victory!" feeling with its climax. The Heisei series as a whole presents Godzilla as kind of a tragic character.

Mechagodzilla II is not a movie that especially emphasizes the nuclear aspects of Godzilla, narratively or thematically, nor does it paint him as a hero so much as just an animal trying to survive.

Destroyah's narrative and thematic core is the apocalyptic threat represented by Burning Godzilla.

KotM marries the ideas of Godzilla as a nuclear monster and Godzilla as a superhero in a way no other franchise entry has ever done before, and to some viewers that feels at odds with a lot of what resonates about both interpretations on their own.


That's one way to look at it.

King Ghidorah was a much bigger threat, destroying the whole world with several storms all at once. In that case, one city being nuked by Godzilla to save the world isn't nearly as bad. A necessary evil, they rather lose a city to a "nuke" than the whole world. Needs of the many outweigh the few kind of deal. I don't feel it pro nuke, I feel this was a desperation move, which nukes are. They reached the Godzilla threshold ironically.
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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby _JNavs_ » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:31 pm

Lmao, what has Rodan, Mothra and Ghidorah ever actually stood for? Tornadoes? What? Thunderstorms and Heatwaves?

"The disaster was caused by a nuclear power plant malfunction"


It was done in G14, why show it again? That'd be like watching Destroy All Monsters and finding it utterly disgusting and unfaithful (just as much as G98 apparently) since every kaiju doesn't stand for some deeply tragic event.

G14 represented the tsunami's in Hawaii, the known earthquakes on the West Coast. Why bother repeating themselves in the sequel?

but even if not, didn`t Godzilla destroying Boston destroy not only the city but the surrounding ecosystem?

This is quite the nitpick for an action flick tbh. They're implying that these Gods (not literal) have such immense amounts of natural radiation within them, that just being in an area long enough and letting that radiation absorb into it's surroundings is enough to give a natural rebirth to said land. We as humans do not understand them and their "powers", therefore to us they are Gods.
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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:46 pm

_JNavs_ wrote:Lmao, what has Rodan, Mothra and Ghidorah ever actually stood for? Tornadoes? What? Thunderstorms and Heatwaves?

"The disaster was caused by a nuclear power plant malfunction"


It was done in G14, why show it again? That'd be like watching Destroy All Monsters and finding it utterly disgusting and unfaithful (just as much as G98 apparently) since every kaiju doesn't stand for some deeply tragic event.

G14 represented the tsunami's in Hawaii, the known earthquakes on the West Coast. Why bother repeating themselves in the sequel?

but even if not, didn`t Godzilla destroying Boston destroy not only the city but the surrounding ecosystem?

This is quite the nitpick for an action flick tbh. They're implying that these Gods (not literal) have such immense amounts of natural radiation within them, that just being in an area long enough and letting that radiation absorb into it's surroundings is enough to give a natural rebirth to said land. We as humans do not understand them and their "powers", therefore to us they are Gods.

Mothra didn`t stand for anything, but her original film and Godzilla vs. Mothra offered strong criticisms of corporatism and nuclear testing. Rodan glossed over the issues of Japanese Coal Mining towns and climate change. But, you completely misunderstood what I meant. Godzilla is only important or good as an allegory for something, if the monster or what he is fighting represents some sort of thematic foil. You can`t just say that Godzilla is representative of nuclear power, and then question what the other monsters supposedly represent. My point is that Godzilla is NOT an allegory for anything in the film, and anyone giving it some weird vague meaning is looking for clues.

G14 represented Tsunamis and Earthquakes, in the most lazy way possible, and in the same way is equally sickening considering Godzilla is supposed to be the hero. I give/gave that more of a pass because in that film Godzilla was still more of an unknown, and to the films credit, actually had a good opening scene with the Janjira disaster. It`s fine because in those instances, the Mutos are clearly the antagonistic force, and are a result of easily accessible nukes. Actually in the climax of G14 a big point was made was how just assuming nukes or random energy would sort of just work horribly backfires. In that way; yes KOTM is not only a failure to the franchise as a whole, but a failure to the film it is a direct sequel to.

There`s also a complete difference between repeating something, and just not shitting on its face. Actually, the film could`ve had the oxygen destroyer just been a nuke, and had Godzilla going thermocluear seen as a bad thing.

I don`t see how "it`s an action film" is a good or even acceptable excuse. Nice of you and others to keep dumbing down the literacy level of the series. You`re all sending us back to the stone age. :roll:
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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby _JNavs_ » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:59 pm

LSD Jellyfish wrote:Mothra didn`t stand for anything, but her original film and Godzilla vs. Mothra offered strong criticisms of corporatism and nuclear testing. Rodan glossed over the issues of Japanese Coal Mining towns and climate change. But, you completely misunderstood what I meant. Godzilla is only important or good as an allegory for something, if the monster or what he is fighting represents some sort of thematic foil. You can`t just say that Godzilla is representative of nuclear power, and then question what the other monsters supposedly represent. My point is that Godzilla is NOT an allegory for anything in the film, and anyone giving it some weird vague meaning is looking for clues.

G14 represented Tsunamis and Earthquakes, in the most lazy way possible, and in the same way is equally sickening considering Godzilla is supposed to be the hero. I give/gave that more of a pass because in that film Godzilla was still more of an unknown, and to the films credit, actually had a good opening scene with the Janjira disaster. It`s fine because in those instances, the Mutos are clearly the antagonistic force, and are a result of easily accessible nukes. Actually in the climax of G14 a big point was made was how just assuming nukes or random energy would sort of just work horribly backfires. In that way; yes KOTM is not only a failure to the franchise as a whole, but a failure to the film it is a direct sequel to.

There`s also a complete difference between repeating something, and just not shitting on its face. Actually, the film could`ve had the oxygen destroyer just been a nuke, and had Godzilla going thermocluear seen as a bad thing.

I don`t see how "it`s an action film" is a good or even acceptable excuse. Nice of you and others to keep dumbing down the literacy level of the series. You`re all sending us back to the stone age. :roll:

I agree the OD should've been a nuke. That was a bit sudden.

I don`t see how "it`s an action film" is a good or even acceptable excuse. Nice of you and others to keep dumbing down the literacy level of the series. You`re all sending us back to the stone age. :roll:

Uh... Okay? What I'm saying is, is that this franchise has different genres. You have the action oriented films, the woe-is-me dark and gritty films (about 3 or 4 of them), and the somewhere-inbetween-films. KOTM falls into the latter. DAM, IOTAM, GTTHM, G:FW, GvSG, TOMG, GVMG,GvMG,GxK, etc etc etc. all fall into the first category with some possibly fitting into the latter.

There's only so many films that fall into the dark and gritty, Godzilla's a nuke-and-kills-every-city-he-walks-into.

It's unfair to say how disgraceful this film supposedly is, when that same argument can be applied to almost every other Godzilla flick post 54.
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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:05 pm

Holy crap, you really aren`t reading my messages are you? My point isn`t that Godzilla needs to be dark or gritty, nor does every film have to involve nukes. My point is that NONE of the films treat nukes as a joke, or as a SOLUTION to a problem. In fact, many completely DERIDE those notions. NO ONE IN DAM SAYS LETS USE NUKES TO WAKE DESTROY THE KILAAKS AND ACTUALLY DOES IT AND IS SUCCESSFUL.
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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby Ivo-goji » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:11 pm

What the story was really about was Emma's perception that humans had done too much damage to the world to have a place in it.

The part where Godzilla looks at Mark and Mark realizes the mystery component of the ORCA's Alpha frequency was human biocoustics was the moment where the movie basically confirms that Emma's world view is wrong, that humans are part of the natural order as much as the kaiju are and have a role in preserving the balance. Serizawa spent all of G14 and KotM arguing that humanity didn't need to destroy Godzilla; the resurrection scene answers the opposite question, whether Godzilla needed to destroy humanity.

The films' use of nuclear energy seems appropriate to me, given it's central message: that the human race has the capacity to atone for its past mistakes and isn't defined exclusively by its misuse of power.

I suppose one could object that "blowing up Boston was too much, he should have exploded Ghidorah in outer space like he did in Final Wars" but frankly that seems like a superficial difference to me.
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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby LSD Jellyfish » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:13 pm

Ivo-goji wrote:What the story was really about was Emma's perception that humans had done too much damage to the world to have a place in it.

The part where Godzilla looks at Mark and Mark realizes the mystery component of the ORCA's Alpha frequency was human biocoustics was the moment where the movie basically confirms that Emma's world view is wrong, that humans are part of the natural order as much as the kaiju are and have a role in preserving the balance. Serizawa spent all of G14 and KotM arguing that humanity didn't need to destroy Godzilla; the resurrection scene answers the opposite question, whether Godzilla needed to destroy humanity.

The films' use of nuclear energy seems appropriate to me, given it's central message: that the human race has the capacity to atone for its past mistakes and isn't defined exclusively by its misuse of power.

I suppose one could object that "blowing up Boston was too much, he should have exploded Ghidorah in outer space like he did in Final Wars" but frankly that seems like a superficial difference to me.

This alone would be fine, if the Fukishima disaster did not happen.
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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby Living Corpse » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:29 pm

I think we are seeing that we can't have our cake and eat it too. Some fan prefer a hero Godzilla, and that's fine. But the character was originally made as a tragic villain who represented the horrors of war. I think it's not impossible, but really hard to balance Godzilla being a hero and still acknowledge that nuclear weapons are pretty much one of the closest things we have to a weapon of "evil". In some ways it probably would have been easier to keep the theme of nuclear war is horrifying had they made Godzilla how he was advertised in the marketing of G2014, a global threat.

I think they could have gotten away with not using nukes and letting Godzilla heal on his own with the natural radiation he found with the uranium deposits in his lair. A sort of nature strikes it's own balance as the films keep bringing up. But of course they had to add a line of that could take years or decades and, well, here we are. I get where they were going with that line, saying humans can't be passive observers, we have to help repair the damages we've caused to the natural world to speed it up, but it's created this clunky situation I'm not even sure how I feel. Though I will defend Boston being vaporized. One mostly empty city or the whole world? Not even a question to me.
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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby Ivo-goji » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:31 pm

"Unambiguously heroic Godzilla", "Godzilla gets revived by a nuke", and "Godzilla levels a city" are all elements the franchise has used before, I really can't buy the argument that a movie that happens to include all of them betrays the core of the character.
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Re: Nuclear Power and Godzilla King of the Monsters

Postby Living Corpse » Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:36 pm

Ivo-goji wrote:"Unambiguously heroic Godzilla", "Godzilla gets revived by a nuke", and "Godzilla levels a city" are all elements the franchise has used before, I really can't buy the argument that a movie that happens to include all of them betrays the core of the character.


I think it's more a matter they were used in one film at once. Before Godzilla was tanking nukes, even Godzilla vs The Sea Monster made a point of how much a big deal it was for Showa Godzilla to get off Devil Island before the nuclear reactor went off and would presumably kill him. Like I've seen Godzilla dance and fly but even I was weirded out playing the PS4 game and seeing Heisei Godzilla do goofy Showa moves.
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