This year marks the 65th Anniversary of Godzilla. Over the years, the giant kaiju has gotten dozens of movies, gone through several reboots, and fought plenty of other giant monsters. Godzilla started off as a Japanese monster movie developed by Toho, but the character is now known all across the world.
The number of movies may seem overwhelming since there are nearly 30 films in the original series alone. The series is broken down into the Shōwa, Heisei, Millennium, and Reiwa periods. Much like any franchise that has been running as long as Godzilla, there are high points and low points of the series. Here is Godzilla: The 5 Best Movies According To Rotten Tomatoes (& The 5 Worst).
10 Best: Godzilla Vs. Destoroyah - 100%
Everybody is bound to have their favorite Godzilla movie, but according to Rotten Tomatoes, Godzilla Vs. Destoroyah is the best film in the series with 100%. The film was released in 1995 and introduces the monster Destoroyah. The film ties in the original film by explaining that Precambrian crustaceans were mutated after the Oxygen Destroyer was set off in 1954.
Destoroyah proves to be a formidable foe for Godzilla and is even bigger than the King of Monsters. The film is also remembered for introducing the “Burning Godzilla” form, which was used in the most recent Godzilla movie.
9 Worst: Godzilla (1998) - 16%
Out of all the Godzilla movies, the American remake in 1998 is deemed the worst film in the franchise by Rotten Tomatoes. The film sits at a measly 16%, which almost seems generous. Upon the release of Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla, the film was panned by fans and critics alike. For the most part, people didn’t really like anything about Emmerich’s take on Godzilla.
The film had poor acting, directing, and writing, but what angered many fans was the design of Godzilla. The creature was drastically changed from previous versions and was made with CGI, which also doesn’t stand up to today’s standards.
8 Best: Gojira - 93%
While it doesn’t take the number one spot, the original 1954 Gojira takes the number two spot with a 93% Tomatometer rating. The 1954 film was the very first appearance of Godzilla, who was formed from American nuclear weapons testing.
When the film was released, it actually got mixed to poor reviews from fans and critics, likely because the devastation from World War II was still fresh in people’s minds. Despite the initial reactions, Godzilla is now fondly remembered for the intuitive special effects, creature design, and the underlying themes of the story.
7 Worst: Godzilla’s Revenge (All Monsters Attack) - 25%
Many TV series have a “clip show” every few seasons, which is basically a new episode that is mostly just clips from older episodes. That is basically what happened with Godzilla’s Revenge (All Monsters Attack). The film still had a new story, but used a lot of footage from previous Godzilla films due to a low production budget.
The film sees a young boy named Ichiro visit Monster Island in his dreams and befriends Minilla (Godzilla’s son). They bond over being bullied, while they watch Godzilla battle different monsters. This was during the period of Godzilla where the films were child-friendly, with this film making that painfully obvious. Godzilla started off as a terrifying monster, but at this point, he was almost laughable.
6 Best: Mothra Vs. Godzilla - 92%
Mothra first appeared in Ishirô Honda’s 1961 film Mothra, but the character squared off against Godzilla three years later in Mothra Vs. Godzilla. Starring Akira Takarada, Yuriko Hoshi, and Hiroshi Koizumi, Mothra Vs. Godzilla sees an entrepreneur buy a giant egg, only to turn it into a tourist attraction, rather than letting scientists study it.
The egg turns out to be Mothra, who just so happens to hatch just in time to save Japan from Godzilla’s wrath. The film even sees Mothra sacrificing herself in order to stop Godzilla, but in future films, Mothra ends up teaming up with Godzilla to defeat other monsters.
5 Worst: Godzilla: King Of The Monsters - 40%
The newest Godzilla film, unfortunately, finds itself with one of the lowest scores on Rotten Tomatoes. Godzilla: King of the Monsters was released at the end of May and sees the MonsterVerse introduction of the classic characters Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah. While King of the Monsters has some truly epic monster fights, the rest of the movie fell flat for fans and critics.
Most people go to the theaters to see giant monsters duking it out on screen, but the story with the humans was so poor that it almost canceled out how well done the monster fights were. Regardless, Godzilla will be returning next year for Godzilla Vs. Kong.
4 Best: Shin Godzilla - 86%
After taking a 12-year hiatus from Godzilla movies, Toho returned to distribute Shin Godzilla. Shin Godzilla (aka Godzilla Resurgence), was a reboot of the original Godzilla, which saw Japan once again dealing with a giant monster attacking their city. Much like the original film, Shin Godzilla had an underlying theme about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the Tohoku earthquake.
The film drastically changed Godzilla’s design and even gave him different evolutions. Unlike the previous film in the series at the time, Godzilla: Final Wars, Shin Godzilla did very well at the box office in Japan, but there aren’t any plans for Shin Godzilla 2.
3 Worst: Terror Of Mechagodzilla - 43%
The final film in the Shōwa era was released in 1975 and was titled Terror of Mechagodzilla. The sequel to the 1974 Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla got back to the darker Godzilla territory, but even that couldn’t save the film. The film not only saw the return of Mechagodzilla, but also introduced a new kaiju by the name of Titanosaurus.
Many people claim that after a while, all of the Godzilla films started to blend together because of how similar they were. After Terror of Mechagodzilla was released, Toho would take a nine-year break until they released The Return of Godzilla in 1984.
2 Best: Godzilla Vs Mechagodzilla II - 83%
One of the most well-known characters in the Godzilla series is Mechagodzilla. Mechagodzilla first appeared back in 1974, but the character made a triumphant return for Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla II in 1993. What’s different about this Mechagodzilla is that the head was salvaged from the Mecha-King Ghidorah and reversed engineered to become a weapon for the United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Center.
Despite having “II” in the title, this film is not a sequel to the original Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla from the ‘70s. The film got mainly positive reviews, with people praising the film for the action sequences and monster battles.
1 Worst: Godzilla: Final Wars - 45%
The last Godzilla movie Toho would distribute before taking a 12-year break was Godzilla: Final Wars. The film saw the return of the alien species known as the Xiliens as well as several other kaiju to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Godzilla. Godzilla: Final Wars was one of the most expensive films for Toho to make, but, unfortunately, it didn’t do well at the box office, thanks to The Incredibles and Howl’s Moving Castle.
Everything about Godzilla: Final Wars was over the top. The acting and story were incredibly cheesy, but for many fans, Godzilla: Final Wars is one of those movies that is just so bad that it’s good.