For me, Godzilla will always be a hero. The monster that stops the bad monsters from… well… being bad.
This, of course, plays hob with my watching some of his films. Especially the newer ones, which for some reason insist on making him the villain.
It’s not my fault. I grew up in the Seventies, during which time Godzilla really was a hero. When he appeared in his cartoon series everyone would cheer. Other heroes would fight him in the comics, but it was always a mistake to my mind. He didn’t mean to do bad things.
That was something a kid could understand. Other people made the rules, and they didn’t always tell you until after you broke them.
Now I understand and appreciate the movies where my big buddy is less than noble. I do. But I still root for him, deep down.
What’s the appeal? Outside of the face he’s a dinosaur that breathes fire?
Well for starters, he’s a very simple character. Very hard to get wrong, unlike, say, Spider-Man.
See, all Godzilla wants is to be. To do what he wants, when he want. If he wants to walk from Point A to Point B, that’s what he does.
Trouble is that he has a pesky habit of walking through cities. Literally.
That’s it. That’s really all there is to him. But with that you can have stories of him being a mindless beast, an antisocial creature, or a veritable demon, and they all work.
Some better than others, of course, but it’s not that hard to make a good Godzilla movie.
The other thing is that he’s unique in the fact that he has a cast. The opponents he faces are among the most memorable in film history. Dinosaurs galore. Flying three headed dragons. Bionic bounty hunters with blades in their belly. Giant insects. Even sentient sludge. Only his rival Gamera comes as close in terms of wildness (and technically has the King beat in pure weird monsters.)
Really, Godzilla’s the best.
Of the three, he’s the only one I’ve never fully parted with. There have been stories of his I won’t watch again willingly, but there was never a time I stopped watching the “modern” version of him.
Some of my favorite movies are Godzilla movies. I own entirely too many Godzilla action figures. Hats. Shirts. Tote bags.
Seriously, I might have a problem.
My hero, the King of the Monsters. Long may he reign.
Next, we travers time and space to talk about the final of my Big Three fictional heroes.