The following article is full of spoilers for Godzilla: King of the Monsters. You have been warned. We have a spoiler free review here if you prefer.
Despite their being over 30 movies to Godzilla’s name, Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the third entry in Legendary Pictures’ MonsterVerse. The first was 2014’s Godzilla, followed by the 2017 prequel Kong: Skull Island. Not only are they linked by their giant monsters (with King Kong himself being way bigger than his classic depiction), but also the presence of the monster-studying organization Monarch. Coincidentally, the character Houston Brooks, originally played by Corey Hawkins in Kong: Skull Island, briefly returns in King of the Monsters, now played by Joe Morton.
The post-credits from Skull Island is elaborated in King of the Monsters, showing that the likes of Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, and Ghidorah are all referenced by ancient civilizations. It becomes more apparent that Godzilla himself has been worshipped presumably longer than any other deity and his rivalry with Ghidorah spans back thousands of years. Ghidorah is also identified as an extraterrestrial, possibly opening things up for an appearance by fellow major alien antagonist Gigan to appear in the future.
The movie’s finale centers around a battle between apex predators Godzilla and Ghidorah while their respective allies Mothra and Rodan fight each other in the background. Rodan is impaled, Mothra is slain by Ghidorah’s laser breath, and Godzilla is briefly defeated. It’s only due to Godzilla’s radiation levels going critical (thanks to Dr. Ishirō Serizawa sacrificing himself by detonating a nuclear bomb in front of Godzilla earlier on) that Godzilla gets his second wind.
In the final minutes of the battle, Godzilla turns into Burning Godzilla, an ultimate form introduced in 1995’s Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. While the original take treated it as a worldwide extinction event that needed to be stopped, here it’s the necessary step in destroying Ghidorah’s regenerating body once and for all.
A wounded Rodan and the other established kaiju appear in the immediate aftermath to bow down to Godzilla now that he’s established himself the alpha. Ghidorah is gone and order is returned to the titans. Even Rodan is allowed mercy as one of Godzilla’s subjects.
The initial credits show plenty of newspaper and online headlines. It acts as an epilogue, giving us some interesting information:
– Monarch is now going public with its findings instead of attempting to shroud itself in secrecy. Considering the “redacted” style of the credits, it’s hard to say just how open they’re being.
– A giant squid is discovered, which may be a reference to Gezora. Gezora was part of Godzilla’s expanded universe, but never appeared in a Godzilla movie outside of stock footage. Gezora did appear in various Godzilla video games and comics.
– Mothra is regenerating in a cocoon after her Super Metroid-like “death” scene. It really is hard to keep a titan down for good in these movies.
– The return of the titans appears to be extremely beneficial to humanity. Despite their radiation and size, the monsters’ presence has been healing the Earth. Especially their dung. We’re actually getting the coexistence Serizawa wished for, making it curious why Alan Jonah and his terrorist cell are still working towards their goals.
– Everything is leading to Skull Island and the hollow earth pockets underneath. Now, the movie did not shy away from its connection to Kong: Skull Island. Kong was mentioned various times and was shown briefly in recorded footage. He just happened to be MIA during Ghidorah’s mandated worldwide destruction. Perhaps that in itself will be a plot point.
Both Monarch and the titans are converging to Skull Island for one reason or another. Now they’re stepping onto Kong’s turf and he can’t ignore that. Since the old movies had Godzilla and the others living on Monster Island, this could be a thing where they plan to simply take over Kong’s island for themselves. To push the cliffhanger, the last image of the initial credits is a cave drawing portraying Godzilla and Kong battling it out. Is that their history or is that just a vision of the future?