Godzilla has never been scarier since his mushroom cloud-shaped head loomed over the fleeing villagers of Odo Island in 1954’s Gojira, a dark and depressing film that thrust the sacred beast of the apocalypse to the forefront of popular culture and kickstarted his 60-plus year movie career. Audiences knew what to expect with every following film in the expansive series, which wavered in tone depending on the era the film was released in. However, several key concepts were always guaranteed: lots of destruction, plenty of chaos, nuanced conversations about the usage of atomic weapons, and pure monster mash fun.
Back in 2016, the franchise remained dormant since 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars, which under-performed at the box office and put the series on a twelve-year hiatus, the longest one at the time. With the success of the 2014 American reboot, which ushered in Legendary’s MonsterVerse film series, Toho, the company behind Godzilla, decided to make a stand-alone film that harkened back to the franchise’s roots. They approached Hideaki Anno, best known for the anime series, Neon Genesis Evangelion, to write and direct the film. Shinji Higuchi, a frequent Anno collaborator and the director responsible for the two live-action Attack on Titan films, joined his friend to direct and coordinate the special effects for the sequences involving Godzilla, who, for this time around, was brought to life near flawlessly by computer-generated effects. Their Godzilla is the scariest and most imposing iteration of the gargantuan kaiju ever to appear onscreen.