Though King Ghidorah is already considered to be Godzilla's greatest enemy, Godzilla: King of the Monsters makes him even better, taking their rivalry to the next level. Not only is Ghidorah a fearsome foe in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, but director Michael Dougherty succeeds in delivering the best version of King Ghidorah ever.
Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan collide in the third installment in Legendary's MonsterVerse. Directed by Mike Dougherty, King of the Monsters sees the return of Godzilla after a group of eco-terrorists, led by Jonah (Charles Dance), come up with a plan to wake up the 17 Titans scattered across the Earth. What follows is an epic battle of giant monsters that threatens to destroy all of civilization. Monarch is caught in the middle as Godzilla faces off against the leader of the Titans, King Ghidorah. The three-headed dragon is brought to life through motion capture by actors Alan Maxson, Jason Liles, and Richard Dorton, who portray the right, center, and left heads respectively.
So far, Godzilla: King of the Monsters hasn't been the huge, box office hit Legendary Pictures had hoped, and negative reviews from critics certainly haven't helped. However, reactions from fans have been extraordinarily positive, as many feel that King of the Monsters did exactly what was expected of it. The movie has been praised for capturing the spirit of Godzilla while also managing to change the meaning of Godzilla. Also, King of the Monsters' handling of Ghidorah proves that Godzilla isn't the only monster in the movie to receive a meaningful update.
Ghidorah Was Always One of Godzilla's Best Villains
First appearing in 1964's Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, the alien menace known as King Ghidorah has been a thorn in Godzilla's side for 50 years. In his first movie appearance, King Ghidorah was portrayed as a destructive force who came to Earth after wiping out all of civilization on the planet Venus. In his first heroic role, Godzilla teamed up with Mothra and Rodan to defeat Ghidorah. Ghidorah returned as the main antagonist in several Toho movies, including Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, Destroy All Monsters, Rebirth of Mothra III, and more.
King Ghidorah's multiple appearances in Godzilla movies has cemented his spot at the top of the list of Godzilla villains. Prior to the release of King of the Monsters, Ghidorah and Godzilla have clashed a total of six times, which means that Godzilla has fought the alien invader more than any other monster.
Why does Toho keep bringing back Ghidorah for more fights with Godzilla? One reason why Ghidorah is thought of as Godzilla's greatest enemy is that Ghidorah is one of only two villains -- the other being Mechagodzilla -- who Godzilla has needed help to beat. In all the times they've fought in Toho movies, only twice has Godzilla defeated King Ghidorah in one-on-one matchups. In Destroy All Monsters, it took the combined efforts of several giant monsters to bring down the three-headed dragon.
King Of The Monsters Didn't Change Ghidorah Much
When it was first announced that Godzilla: King of the Monsters would become the first Hollywood-produced film to feature King Ghidorah, Rodan, and Mothra, fans were understandably concerned about how the three beloved kaiju would be portrayed. King of the Monsters was true to the legacy of the original characters by only making minor tweaks to their designs. Ghidorah's golden scales, three heads, two tails with bludgeoned tips, and gravity beams were all part of his original appearance, and each of them was carried over to the MonsterVerse. Among the things that were updated about Ghidorah's design were his legs, the size of his wings, and the shades of yellow on his scales.
King of the Monsters also keeps Ghidorah's alien origins. Like his Toho counterpart, the MonsterVerse's Ghidorah is a powerful creature from outer space who lays waste to every civilization he comes across. At some point in the past, his travels brought him to Earth, where he remained for centuries in a block of ice in Antarctica.
Ghidorah is the most sinister of all the Titans. Whereas Godzilla stomps through cities without intentionally bringing harm to innocent people, King Ghidorah purposively wreaks havoc on the people around him. Ghidorah's power is recognized by the other Titans. While Godzilla and Mothra don't regard him as the alpha, both are aware of the threat he poses to the world. This is the King Ghidorah that Godzilla fans are familiar with, and have been awaiting for decades.
How King Of The Monsters Still Improved Ghidorah
For Godzilla fans, King of the Monsters delivers an accurate portrayal of Godzilla's biggest rival while also finding a way to improve him in more ways than one. First of all, King of the Monsters gives Ghidorah his best story. In the movie, Ghidorah's alien origin is what causes Emma (Vera Farmiga) and Jonah's scheme to fall apart. In waking up King Ghidorah, they unleashed a weapon they never truly understood to begin with, and for this reason, they nearly brought about the destruction of the planet. Their plan rested on the Titans battling and restarting civilization, but no one accounted for Ghidorah being an outsider and having plans of his own. Ghidorah woke up the other Titans and sought to terraform the Earth.
Godzilla's epic battles with Ghidorah showcased another major improvement made to Monster Zero. In their final showdown, Ghidorah flies Godzilla high up into the sky and drops him, nearly killing Godzilla. Ghidorah pushed Godzilla to the edge throughout the fight, biting him, blasting him, and hitting him with everything he had. It took a sacrifice from Mothra to give Godzilla the advantage he needed to win.
Ghidorah in King of the Monsters threatened Godzilla in a way that previous versions never could, though to be fair, in several of these movies, Ghidorah was never allowed a fighting chance. Godzilla never had to make a miraculous comeback against Ghidorah because it was never necessary. It was three-against-one in Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster, and two-against-one in Godzilla vs. Monster Zero. After Godzilla and Anguirus dealt with Gigan in Godzilla vs. Gigan, the pair teamed up to take down Ghidorah. Ghidorah was vastly outnumbered in Destroy All Monsters when he had to face Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, Gorosaurus, Spiga, and Anguirus, all at the same time.
Even though Ghidorah has such a long history as a Godzilla enemy, Toho movies with King Ghidorah as the main villain haven't actually given him an opportunity to show why he's Godzilla's greatest enemy. King of the Monsters achieves this perfectly by giving Godzilla the opponent he deserves.
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