Godzilla Movie

Themes of the MonsterVerse Titans: An Essay

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SasquaDash

MemberAnguirusApr-21-2021 10:21 PM

WARNING: SPOILERS!!!



A current debate amongst Godzilla fans and critics is if the MonsterVerse has any deeper meaning. Often the series is described as being nothing more than “dumb fun” or “entertaining nonsense”, being written off as something that “lacks substance”, with some fans looking down at the series accusing it of being inferior to the Toho movies due to it not having the same allegory of the originals. However, I feel that these criticisms are not entirely valid. I believe that the MonsterVerse and its titans do have meaning.

Godzilla and the other titans represent nature. The theme of the MonsterVerse is about humanity learning to coexist with nature and attempting to work with it rather than working against it. This was a big theme in King of the Monsters. Mark Russell initially wants to kill Godzilla, as he views him as nothing more than a destructive monster, however during the events of the film Mark realizes Godzilla's role in protecting the Earth and that mankind needs to view him as an ally and work with him in order to defend the world from being destroyed, leading to his line: "No, This Time We Join The Fight". In real life we are dealing with environmental destruction and if we don't learn to coexist with nature and if we keep destroying it, humanity and the rest of the planet will suffer. Ishiro Serizawa's sacrifice to revive Godzilla can be seen as humanity atoning for their past sins (waking up Ghidorah and nearly killing Godzilla with the oxygen destroyer) and making peace with nature, with Serizawa stating He fought for us, died for us, he is not just proof of coexistence… he is the key to it

Godzilla is seen as a defender of the Earth fighting against anything that threatens the natural order and while he’s seen as a potential ally to humanity, he will not hesitate to put us in our place if we over step our boundaries, as seen in Godzilla vs Kong as well as in the older Toho films.   

 

 Mothra represents the beauty and grace of nature, though she proves that looks can be deceiving. While she is inherently benevolent she shows herself to be a formidable fighter taking on titans much larger than she is, showing that the most beautiful aspects of nature can also be extremely deadly. She is shown to be extremely loyal to Godzilla aiding him in battle, eventually sacrificing herself to re energize Godzilla, mirroring Serizawa’s sacrifice.         

 

Rodan represents the dangerous and unpredictable side of nature. Michael Doughertry described him as being a “rogue” stating that “you’re unsure where his loyalties lie”. Being an unpredictable and volatile creature, Rodan is not that different from real life natural disasters, including the volcano that he resides in.

 

Ghidorah represents the destructive impact that we have on the world. His storms are a reference to real life atmospheric destruction. Scientists believe the damage that pollution has done to the atmosphere is causing weather to become more erratic and destructive, Ghidorah’s storms represent what could be a frightening real life consequence of nature’s destruction. Ghidorah also represents an other-worldly force disrupting the balance of nature, in the film he usurps the throne from Godzilla taking the title of “Alpha”. He then takes control of the other titans, waking them up and causing them to behave in a more erratic and destructive way. It is hinted in the film that the other titans are benevolent protectors, however because of Ghidorah’s control they are no longer behaving the way they’re supposed to, essentially disrupting their natural order. 

 

Once Godzilla defeats Ghidorah and regains his title of Alpha, the titans revert back to their benevolent nature and one again become protectors of Earth. Ghidorah’s control threw off the natural balance, however Godzilla restored that balance, reflecting Serzawa’s line from 2014: Nature has an order, a power to restore balance, I believe HE is that power.  

    

Kong represents humanity’s connection to nature. Being a primate he represents an evolutionary link between man and beast. Kong learning of the history of his species is akin to us learning of our own past. Throughout Godzilla vs Kong, he longs to find others of his kind and seemingly wants to find his place in the world, upon finding the Kong temple within the Hollow Earth, Kong finally discovers where he truly belongs and accepts the Hollow Earth as his home. Kong’s journey in the film reflects our own need to find our identities and where we belong in the world. At the beginning of the film, Monarch attempts to hold Kong within a containment dome, much to Kong’s annoyance. Monarch trying to contain Kong reflects humanity’s attempts to contain and control nature, however life cannot be contained, life will eventually break free.  

 

The Titan war between the ancestors of Godzilla and Kong seems to have led to the destruction of the two species, just like how the endless wars and conflict in real life could lead to our own. During the end of Godzilla vs Kong, the two opposing sides are forced to work together for their own survival. The interesting thing to note is that Godzilla is the Japanese monster and Kong is the American monster. In Kong: Skull Island we learn of the fates of two World War II soldiers, Hank Marlow (an American soldier) and Gunpei Ikari (a Japanese soldier), when they are first stranded on Skull Island, they initially try to kill each other for no other reason other than the fact that they were on opposite sides of a war, however once they realized that survival on this strange, hostile island was more important than the war, they put aside their differences to work together, eventually becoming close allies. Marlow later states that: “If you take away the uniforms and the war, then he became my brother.”  Godzilla and Kong ending their conflict in some way mirrors the relationship of Gunpei and Marlow, realizing that there is no reason for them to continue their ancestral war they put aside their differences to defend the world from a bigger threat. After defeating the threat Godzilla confronts Kong. However, Kong, not wanting to continue their war, drops his axe showing a sign of respect to Godzilla and symbolically ending the feud between their kind as they go their separate ways.    

 

MechaGodzilla represents humanity’s attempts to control nature. In Godzilla vs Kong, MechaGodzilla is built so that humanity can kill the titans and regain control as the “APEX” lifeform. By basing their creation on Godzilla (who represents nature) APEX represents humanity’s longing to be equal or better than the forces of nature. They state that MechaGodzilla is “not just Godzilla’s equal...but his superior”, considering that the titans are comparable to living gods, this implies that APEX (and mankind) have the desire to not just be compared to gods, they want to be viewed as above them. However, they are soon reminded who is really in charge. To quote Serizawa’ other line from 2014: “The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control, and not the other way around”. Because of APEX’s arrogance and their use of Hollow Earth’s energy and Ghidorah’s brain to control their creation, MechaGodzilla goes haywire and turns on its creators and attempts to destroy humanity. MechaGodzilla’s rampage shows the consequences of mankind's greed and arrogance. By defying nature and the gods we created the instrument of our own destruction, harkening back to the origins of the Godzilla series, the atomic bomb.

 

However nature triumphed over technology, as Godzilla and Kong eventually defeated MechaGodzilla, showing that no matter how hard humanity tries to interfere with nature, the natural order will eventually win. “History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man”. 

 

Overall, I feel that the themes of the MonsterVerse and it’s titans are constantly being overlooked and doesn’t deserve to be written off as “dumb nonsense” by critics or fans. It has more meaning than people think and deserves to be viewed in the same way as the Toho films and not be completely discarded as “worthless Hollywood entertainment”.

 

"Neither beast nor man. Something monstrous."
41 Replies

SasquaDash

MemberAnguirusApr-22-2021 8:45 PM

G. H. (Gman)

 

“This is a wonderful fan theory and all, but where is this in the movie?” 

 

In Godzilla 2014, it is stated that Godzilla and the MUTOs (and the other titans) feed on nuclear radiation. In King of the Monsters, It is stated that the titans emit an energy source that heals the environment and that because of this energy new life emerges wherever they appear. In Godzilla vs Kong, they introduce a mysterious energy source within the Hollow Earth, they also explain that the Hollow Earth energy is similar to energy readings from Godzilla and the other Titans, indicating a connection between them. While they don’t flat out say it in the films, it’s pretty easy to make a connection between these three plot points (an example of show, don’t tell). If anything, by doing this the MonsterVerse is doing exactly what an extended universe should do, it’s building up the world piece by piece and creating a bigger story.  If the Marvel Cinematic Universe explained all of its plot points all at once there would be much of a franchise.



Nowhere in Son of Godzilla is Godzilla's radiation mentioned. Nowhere in the context of the movie is Godzilla's nuclear power drawn attention to. The movie can't say, "radiation makes you a great Dad," because that's not in it.”

 

Radiation is never mentioned in the story, but according to your own words, Godzilla is always a metaphor for nuclear weapons. So just because it’s not out right stated that somehow means that it doesn't apply in that certain scenario? If Godzilla always represents nuclear weapons, no questions asked, then wouldn’t the idea of him raising a son be the equivalent of a nuclear warhead having a baby?

 

“But you know what is in Son of Godzilla, All Monsters Attack and Godzilla vs. Hedorah? Topics of post-war Japan--Alternate subjects and themes that were directly effected by the events following their bombing.”

 

Wait, you stated that those movies ignore the anti nuclear theme, but then you state that they focus on post-war Japan and the issues that “were directly effected by the events following their bombing”. So... which is it? Are the films connected to the atomic bomb or not?

 

“I think Godzilla: King of the Monsters would've been better off had it avoided the topic altogether” 

 

So wait, you completely trash on Godzilla vs Kong because it lacks a message and in your eyes “lacks substance”. But now you're saying that King of the Monsters shouldn’t have had a message?

 

“but the culprits of this act/story is an America superpower that caused another country's trauma to need Godzilla. It's rather disgusting in a way and frankly crosses some lines I find impermissible.”

 

Honestly, all that I’m getting out of this conversation is that you really dislike the MonsterVerse movies because they are made in America. If they were made by Toho I feel like you probably wouldn’t be so negative towards them. Yes, the MonsterVerse has its flaws, I’m not denying that, however relentlessly ripping the films apart while completely ignoring flaws that exist in the Toho films is pretty one-sided and hypocritical. I absolutely love the Toho films (if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here talking about them) but even I’ll admit that they have their issues .

 

 I don’t want to start an argument, but the fact that you seem to be looking down at other fans and acting like you’re the main authority of this franchise is somewhat irritating. Most of your comments on this subject have come off as kind of condescending to not only the MonsterVerse films and their filmmakers, but the fans of this franchise as well. In your last response you keep mentioning that other fans don’t get something or that they don’t understand a certain issue, and because of that you seem to act like you’re above them, in a way it’s almost insulting. Arrogant attitudes and Gate-Keeping have caused a lot of damage to various fandoms and I don’t want to see the Godzilla fandom suffering the same fate. 

Again, I don’t want to fight (let’s leave that to the monsters), but I feel like we can have debates without acting like a purist and putting people down. Honestly, there’s so much crazy fighting and awful crap happening in the world, it doesn’t need to crossover into our fandoms...

"Neither beast nor man. Something monstrous."

Trash panda

MemberAnguirusApr-22-2021 8:46 PM

Agreed.

Ah shit I’m using my wrong eye again. Sorry that was meant to be behind your back

G. H. (Gman)

AdminGodzillaApr-22-2021 10:54 PM

"While they don’t flat out say it in the films, it’s pretty easy to make a connection between these three plot points (an example of show, don’t tell)."

I'm amused you mention, "it’s pretty easy to make a connection between these three plot points" when it took a paragraph that long to connect the dots. I feel like a lot of this reads as fan conjecture--It goes less the way of world building and smacks more of plot convenience for individual filmmakers to tell their own stories. Which is fine, actually. It helps filmmakers put their own stamp on material, but makes a poor argument for continuity. For example: If Godzilla and the MUTO come from a time when the Earth's surface was, "10x more radioactive," and they've remained closer to, "the Earth's core" where they can feed on natural radioactivity, how is Monarch and Apex still alive from their excursion to Hollow Earth? They're closer to the radiation of the core than Serizawa was when he unceremoniously dragged a nuclear weapon to Godzilla and was exposed to fatal amounts of radioactivity. There's some astronomical holes in this logic and I don't believe, "show don't tell" applies when there's no consistency with what they're trying to tell.

"Radiation is never mentioned in the story, but according to your own words, Godzilla is always a metaphor for nuclear weapons. So just because it’s not out right stated that somehow means that it doesn't apply in that certain scenario? If Godzilla always represents nuclear weapons, no questions asked, then wouldn’t the idea of him raising a son be the equivalent of a nuclear warhead having a baby?"

This entire argument hinges on the fallacy that I've said Godzilla is "always a metaphor for nuclear weapons." Please read again, because I did not say that. As a matter of fact, I have been very careful not to say that. I have even made multiple points to say it's not even about the bomb, but how Godzilla has evolved culturally from that metaphor into the post-war. So there's clearly a misunderstanding or projecting here. I submit a paragraph from my first post in this thread:

"But let's ignore the bomb for a moment. Godzilla has been adapted to represent the transition of Japan into capitalism - the marketing that comes with it - the deconstruction of nuclear families - the Cold War - violent attacks on women - nationalism - Japan's pollution issue of the 1970s - the post-war world, etc. To quote Matt Frank, 'the specifics of Godzilla’s creation and narrative relevance have been honed and modified and pushed by over half a century’s worth of cultural evolution, modification, and revolution unique to Japan. That’s why Japanese Godzilla movies hit differently, even when they struggle themselves, compared to the US-made Godzilla movies.'"

Now if an individual story brings the concept or theme of nuclear proliferation, weapons and fears into play, I believe it should honor the character's existence as an outlet for cultural trauma. But if it does not, there's usually some residual meaning of post-war Japan that he takes on. Example: Godzilla's attack on nationalism brought on by post-war sentiments in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah.

"Wait, you stated that those movies ignore the anti nuclear theme, but then you state that they focus on post-war Japan and the issues that “were directly effected by the events following their bombing”. So... which is it? Are the films connected to the atomic bomb or not?"

To quote one of the best lines from Shin Godzilla, "Post-war lasts forever," and the beginning of Japan's post-war can be traced to their defeat after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. To help understand, it's probably best to say, "it's all connected." That doesn't mean each film is specifically about the atomic bomb, or atomic-phobia, etc.

Historically, Japan's post-war ignited a plethora of talking points: The rise of capitalism in the country. The rise of pollution in 1970s Japan. The Cold War. The list goes on. Just because events and topics follow or relate back to the bombing, whether it be directly or indirectly, does not mean they are about the bomb. I hope that clarifies Godzilla either being only about the bomb or "something else" and instead helps relay that it all has a socio-politcal connection--Or perhaps evolution.

"So wait, you completely trash on Godzilla vs Kong because it lacks a message and in your eyes “lacks substance”. But now you're saying that King of the Monsters shouldn’t have had a message?"

Not at all. I was referring specifically to its handling of nuclear weapons. I've already stated Dougherty was on the right track by focusing on environmentalism, which the movie probably should've stuck with. There's an element of Eco-fascism to it that isn't very comfortable, but that's an entirely different topic.

"Honestly, all that I’m getting out of this conversation is that you really dislike the MonsterVerse movies because they are made in America. If they were made by Toho I feel like you probably wouldn’t be so negative towards them. Yes, the MonsterVerse has its flaws, I’m not denying that, however relentlessly ripping the films apart while completely ignoring flaws that exist in the Toho films is pretty one-sided and hypocritical. I absolutely love the Toho films (if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here talking about them) but even I’ll admit that they have their issues."

Absolutely Toho's films have their issues. In fact I'd argue there have only been three or so truly good Godzilla movies in the last 37 years. Most in that time frame have had issues very similar to the Monsterverse in terms of storytelling, but none have made the egregious thematic issues that King of the Monsters has.

The reverse of your accusation is I don't think the Monsterverse would get nearly the praise it has been receiving if it were remade shot-for-shot with Japanese actors and tokusatsu styled effects. If anything it would only reveal how sub-standard they are. I've even asked Monsterverse fans this question point blank and they have admitted their love for these movies wouldn't be the same if Toho or some other Japanese company made them--Which says a lot.

"I don’t want to start an argument, but the fact that you seem to be looking down at other fans and acting like you’re the main authority of this franchise is somewhat irritating. Most of your comments on this subject have come off as kind of condescending to not only the MonsterVerse films and their filmmakers, but the fans of this franchise as well. In your last response you keep mentioning that other fans don’t get something or that they don’t understand a certain issue, and because of that you seem to act like you’re above them, in a way it’s almost insulting. Arrogant attitudes and Gate-Keeping have caused a lot of damage to various fandoms and I don’t want to see the Godzilla fandom suffering the same fate."

You're welcome to have that perception, but then I am at liberty to share mine. I have not been looking down at other fans for liking these films, I've merely offered a rebuttal to a topic you yourself have opened. If it seems like I'm coming off as condescending to the Monsterverse films and/or their filmmakers, then it's because I don't think they've done anything to win higher respect--Which, frankly, makes sense as I've made it clear I don't think very highly of all these movies. Two in particular.

As for me believing fans, and I quote myself here, "misconstrue" things, that's hardly a form of gatekeeping. I've opened up my opinions for scrutiny just as you have. It's what happens when these conversations are made public. I have not, however, resorted to name calling or disrespecting and I've even included sources. I'm not sure what more you want short of agreeing with you--And not everyone is going to. There's certainly far more aggressive discourse out there, including from professionals.

Let's also not rush to the shield of gatekeeping just because someone has an impassioned rebuttal against your opinion. Though it amuses me how I'm accused of it when one of the Monsterverse directors gets a free pass:

"It wouldn't be a true Godzilla film if you didn't touch upon those things, otherwise you're just making a big dumb monster movie. There has to be a sprinkle of it, otherwise you're not being faithful to the original intent of the series. Anyone who thinks otherwise is not a true Godzilla fan." [Source]

In the name of the father, son and the holy Dougherty, Amen.

"'Nostalgic' does not equal 'good,' and 'standards' does not equal 'elitism.'" "Being offended is inevitable. Living offended is your choice."

SasquaDash

MemberAnguirusApr-23-2021 7:58 AM

G. H. (Gman)

 

     Sigh...

 

"I'm amused you mention, "it’s pretty easy to make a connection between these three plot points" when it took a paragraph that long to connect the dots. I feel like a lot of this reads as fan conjecture--"

"So there's clearly a misunderstanding or projecting here."

"You're welcome to have that perception, but then I am at liberty to share mine. I have not been looking down at other fans for liking these films, I've merely offered a rebuttal to a topic you yourself have opened. If it seems like I'm coming off as condescending to the Monsterverse films and/or their filmmakers, then it's because I don't think they've done anything to win higher respect--Which, frankly, makes sense as I've made it clear I don't think very highly of all these movies. Two in particular."

"Though it amuses me how I'm accused of it when one of the Monsterverse directors gets a free pass"

"In the name of the father, son and the holy Dougherty, Amen."

 

 

This is the condesending attitude that I'm talking about...

 you constantly have a snarky tone to your replies, as if you think our thoughts are inferior to your own, acting as if your above us...

"Neither beast nor man. Something monstrous."

Xenotaris

MemberGiganApr-23-2021 11:38 AM

Condescension is not very nice and not very Cash Money

ALIEN VERSUS PREDATOR UNIVERSE

sonictiger

MemberGiganApr-23-2021 11:59 AM

Y E S

Using Cash Money is very cash money of you

“Calling yourself a hero make you a self-mythologizing narcissistic autocrat!”

G. H. (Gman)

AdminGodzillaApr-23-2021 6:21 PM

SasquaDash,
I won't pretend I'm not poking fun at Dougherty, but as for the rest (especially that third paragraph you quoted) I don't know what to tell you except read it differently.

"'Nostalgic' does not equal 'good,' and 'standards' does not equal 'elitism.'" "Being offended is inevitable. Living offended is your choice."

Djdndnejwnwn

MemberGiganApr-23-2021 6:34 PM

It’s easier to assume that others are being rude on the internet. I have ranted about this multiple times.

expecting the worst, sets you up for thr worst

SasquaDash

MemberAnguirusApr-23-2021 6:39 PM

G. H. (Gman)

Honestly, this debate has been going on for a while and I really don't want it to devole into an argument...

So can we just agree to disagree, and call a truce?

 

 

Also, sorry if I came off as too combative, I can get a little defensive when comes to certain series that i'm passionate about.

"Neither beast nor man. Something monstrous."

G. H. (Gman)

AdminGodzillaApr-23-2021 8:41 PM

"I can get a little defensive when comes to certain series that i'm passionate about."

Which is welcomed. The point of discourse is passionate discussion.

"'Nostalgic' does not equal 'good,' and 'standards' does not equal 'elitism.'" "Being offended is inevitable. Living offended is your choice."
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