Godzilla has been stomping around since 1954 and has appeared in over 30 different movies during his time on the big screen. The green dinosaur-looking kaiju is known for visiting cities ⏤ with a preference for Tokyo ⏤ and leaving absolute destruction in his wake. Godzilla is not just a giant green monster, however; he can also breathe blue fire and is extremely hard to kill.
In 2014, a western attempt at a Godzilla reboot was made and a modern universe of films was born: the MonsterVerse. The primary monsters featured in this universe are Godzilla and King Kong, who in 2021 finally came to blows in an epic on-screen battle of the ages. With a combined box office gross just south of $2 billion, the MonsterVerse is alive and well, and now that there are four films in its collection, we felt that a proper ranking was in order.
Without further ado, here’s our ranking of the MonsterVerse films released thus far.
4. Godzilla vs. Kong
The most recent entry in the franchise, Godzilla vs. Kong had many things going for it. The film came out in 2021 and was the culmination of everything the franchise had been building to, namely Godzilla and King Kong beating the living daylights out of each other. This movie takes the bottom spot on this list not because the film is bad, but because the plot is not the best and the third act’s reveal ⏤ the battle with Mecha-Godzilla ⏤ was quite disappointing. The film did itself no favors by telegraphing within the first few minutes that Mecha-Godzilla was going to make an appearance later on. Giant robotic eyes tend to give that kind of thing away.
3. Kong: Skull Island
Kong: Skull Island retroactively seems to have had one purpose: rebooting the King Kong story so the character would be viable in a future match against Godzilla. Starring Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, and John C. Reilly, the film took place on Skull Island with Kong and an array of other monsters. Skull Island did a great job of letting audiences empathize with the title gorilla while showing the brutality of the monsters. It was a commercial success and achieved its goal, but what was more exciting was the prospect of new monsters.
The creatures in Skull Island ⏤ the skull crawlers ⏤ were somewhat terrifying and played well against Kong. They may have even been the best part of the film, which was also weirdly funny thanks to John C. Reilly being a comedic standout. The comedy didn’t mix well with the horror aspects of the film, however, leading it to be better than Kong: Skull Island but not good enough to land in second place.
2. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
The sequel to Godzilla (2014), Godzilla: King of the Monsters was epic. Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah all appeared as well as several other monsters. The fight between Godzilla and King Ghidorah was one of the best monster fights ever put on the big screen. The movie still had plot issues just like Godzilla vs. Kong, but the sheer number of monsters introduced and the caliber of the fighting places it at number two.
The plot itself is great as well. Godzilla had awoken, as did the two MUTOs he fought in Godzilla. Now other monsters were starting to wake up and they needed a leader. King Ghidorah picks off the other monsters one by one and the film ends with a stand-off between Ghidorah and Godzilla, with Godzilla reigning supreme and being labeled ⏤ you guessed it ⏤ the King of the Monsters.
The top spot goes to the reboot of the Toho monster himself, Godzilla. Starring Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Elizabeth Olsen, Godzilla stands above the other MonsterVerse films for two reasons. First, a major tonal shift occurred in the sequels whereas the first film is an action-horror hybrid. The sequels don’t quite capture the same fear that members of society feel when a giant lizard starts destroying their city. Godzilla really fills the audience with a sense of dread. The second reason that it takes the top spot is because the fights are the best of the series. No other movie has nailed the choreography of every single fight quite like Godzilla did.
The film’s latter half mostly takes place in the dark, and this leads to one of the greatest scenes in any western Godzilla film. The moment where Godzilla charges up his blue flame to disintegrate one of the MOTUs was absolutely fantastic. The moment is atmospheric, lights up the city accompanied by the brilliant piercing sound effect, and is replicated throughout the series later on. Moments like this are why Godzilla takes the top spot.
There you have it, our ranking of the MonsterVerse films released so far. May we be granted more great giant-lizard flicks and television shows in the future.