Helmed by Takashi Yamazaki, ‘Godzilla Minus One’ transports us to post-World War Two Japan, where the devastated nation attempts to rebuild, but the U.S. nuclear tests have awoken an ancient monstrosity. As the war comes to an end, kamikaze pilot Kōichi Shikishima lands on the Japanese base on Odo Island and is accused of cowardice. Later that night, Godzilla emerges from the sea and begins attacking the garrison, decimating everything in its path. Having an opportunity to fire upon the monster, Shikishima hesitates, resulting in the annihilation of his entire unit, with him as the sole survivor.
Overcome with guilt, Shikishima takes in a widow and an orphan after returning to Japan and begins working as a minesweeper. The American atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll baptize Godzilla, and it heads towards the Japanese mainland. The 2023 Kaiju movie treats us to awe-inspiring visuals as Godzilla wreaks havoc on a coastal city, as we follow Shikishima on his compelling quest for redemption and revenge. There is a unique thrill and catharsis experienced through monster movies and Kaiju movies like, ‘Godzilla Minus One,’ which can convincingly depict scale and destruction, along with a riveting personal narrative.
10. The Meg (2018)
Exploring the depths of the Mariana Trench with his crew, Naval Captain Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) suspects there is something ancient lurking in the waters. Colossal bite marks on their underwater research station point to a megalodon, a 20-foot-long shark that was thought to be extinct for millions of years…up until now. The creature feature by director Jon Turteltaub plays on our primal fear of the vast unknown depths in the first half of the film, then brings the megalodon to a crowded beach for mass panic and carnage to ensue. When moving just beneath the surface of the water, the thrill of the megalodon’s awe-inspiring scale is comparable to scenes of Godzilla passing under the massive warships and dwarfing them.
9. Reign of Fire (2002)
In the directorial vision of Rob Bowman, ‘Reign of Fire’ sets the stage in a dystopian future where dragons, awakened from a long slumber, wreak havoc and decimate civilization. The plot centers on Quinn (Christian Bale), who leads a group of survivors in a post-apocalyptic London. Their struggle for survival intensifies when the emergence of a colossal, alpha dragon, threatens to annihilate the remnants of humanity.
As Quinn and his band of survivors join forces with an American soldier (Matthew McConaughey), a perilous mission unfolds to annihilate the alpha dragon and end the reign of terror. Epic battles against the dragons unfold, emphasizing the desperate fight for the survival of the human race, similarly hopeless to Shikishima’s battle with Godzilla in ‘Godzilla Minus One.’ With breathtaking visual effects and a gripping storyline, ‘Reign of Fire’ is sure to captivate fans of ‘Godzilla’ with its thrilling portrayal of a world plunged into chaos by fantastical creatures.
8. Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (2017)
In the directorial hands of Kobun Shizuno and Hiroyuki Seshita, ‘Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters’ takes us to a futuristic Earth besieged by colossal creatures. After humanity faces defeat against Godzilla and other monsters, a group of survivors, led by Captain Haruo Sakaki, give up the battle and venture out to find a new planet to call home. Unable to do so, Haruo seeks revenge for humanity’s defeat, making a fateful decision to return to Earth and confront a titanous Godzilla, who has now ruled the planet for 20,000 years.
As the remnants of humanity use their advanced weapons against the overpowering force of Godzilla and fail to dent the Kaiju’s defenses, they resort to desperate measures of mutual destruction. The film features an ancient Godzilla in its most titanous form, towering past the clouds, sure to enthrall new fans of the series who have missed out on it.
7. The Host (2006)
Directed by Bong Joon-ho, ‘The Host’ takes us on a thrilling ride through the streets of Seoul as an amphibious monster emerges from the Han River. The creature, created from toxic chemicals, kidnaps Hyun-seo, the daughter of a snack bar owner named Gang-du. Blamed for the monster’s rampage, Gang-du and his dysfunctional family set out to rescue Hyun-seo from its lair.
As the plot unfolds, the film seamlessly blends horror, satire, and family drama. The Park family, each member uniquely flawed, confronts not only the physical threat of the monster but also societal and bureaucratic challenges. If you liked the development of human stories and political satire in ‘Godzilla Minus One,’ your interest will be piqued as ‘The Host’ explores family bonds while critiquing bureaucracy and society.
6. Rampage (2018)
Under the direction of Brad Peyton, ‘Rampage’ unleashes a spectacle of destruction and mayhem. A genetic experiment goes wrong and transforms a wolf, a gorilla, and a crocodile into colossal, aggressive beasts. Primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) has a bond with the gorilla, George, and forms an unlikely alliance with a genetic engineer, Dr. Kate Caldwell, to prevent a catastrophe as the monsters rush towards Chicago.
As the mutated creatures obliterate any security forces in their path, fans of Godzilla’s destructive side will revel in the film’s spectacle of city demolition in epic proportions. Racing against time, Davis and Kate work on finding an antidote for the creatures and rely on George to curb the creatures’ rampage, resulting in colossal kaiju battles.
5. Wrath of the Titans (2012)
Helmed by director Jonathan Liebesman, ‘Wrath of the Titans’ narrates a mythological epic that follows the heroic demigod Perseus (Sam Worthington). Set in a world of Greek Mythology, where gods and monsters coexist, Perseus embarks on a mind-boggling quest to save the Greek Pantheon from the clutches of the treacherous Titans. The ancient beings seek to overthrow the gods and unleash chaos upon the Earth. Perseus navigates the Underworld, battles ferocious creatures, and confronts long-buried secrets about his own lineage.
The film features striking monster battle sequences including the monstrous Chimera and the fearsome Makhai, culminating in a confrontation with the primordial Titan, Kronos. If you enjoyed the visual spectacle of ‘Godzilla Minus One,’ ‘Wrath of the Titans’ is filled to the brim with visually stunning battles amidst an action-packed odyssey.
4. Cloverfield (2008)
Under the direction of Matt Reeves, ‘Cloverfield’ takes a unique approach to the monster movie genre, presenting a found-footage perspective of a mysterious attack on New York City. The plot revolves around a going-away party for Rob Hawkins, which abruptly turns into a night of chaos when a massive creature attacks the city. The film is seen through the lens of a handheld camera. As the group navigates the dangerous streets, their journey intertwines with the monstrous unknown, leaving glimpses of destruction and terror.
The narrative cleverly combines suspense and emotional turmoil, keeping the creature largely obscured, and heightening the sense of fear and uncertainty. If you liked ‘Godzilla Minus One’ for its portrayal of human survival amidst a calamitous monster attack, ‘Cloverfield’ and its chilling found-footage style narrative can provide a fresh look at the same genre with great immersion.
3. Shin Godzilla (2016)
Directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi, ‘Shin Godzilla’ revitalizes the iconic Japanese kaiju with a modern twist. The third reboot of the classic franchise begins with the familiar premise of a colossal, radioactive creature emerging from Tokyo Bay, wreaking havoc and leaving destruction in its wake. The government, initially perplexed by the unprecedented threat, struggles with bureaucratic red tape and its inherent inefficiency in crisis management.
As the monster evolves rapidly, transitioning from a sea creature to a towering, destructive force, a group of experts and officials scrambles to devise a strategy to thwart Godzilla’s rampage. The narrative highlights the key themes that have made the franchise so iconic, ingeniously combining political satire, social commentary, and monstrous spectacle. The monster itself takes a more classical appearance, its smaller head gaping into a giant-toothed maw, made terrifying using modern visual effects.
2. Kong: Skull Island (2017)
With Jordan Vogt-Roberts in the director’s chair, ‘Kong: Skull Island’ thrusts us into a visually stunning and action-packed reimagining of the King Kong mythos. Set in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, the plot follows a diverse group of scientists, soldiers, and adventurers who embark on an exploratory mission to the mysterious Skull Island.
Upon arrival, their small army is torn apart by the colossal and enigmatic Kong, a giant ape defending the island from monstrous creatures. As the expedition devolves into a struggle for survival, the team discovers the island’s prehistoric ecosystem and battles the formidable Skullcrawlers, which were responsible for the death of Kong’s species. The film balances awe-inspiring spectacle with character-driven narratives, portraying Kong not merely as a monster but as a protector of the island’s delicate balance. With breathtaking visuals and intense action sequences, ‘Kong: Skull Island’ is a must-watch for ‘Godzilla’ fans because of its mirroring themes, and also because of the giant ape’s addition to the monsterverse with Godzilla himself.
1. Pacific Rim (2013)
With Guillermo del Toro at the helm, ‘Pacific Rim’ catapults us into a world besieged by colossal creatures known as Kaiju, which rise up from the bottom of the ocean. To counter the monstrous threat, humanity creates massive humanoid robots called Jaegers, piloted by pairs of skilled individuals. The narrative centers on former Jaeger pilot Raleigh Becket, who is reluctantly pulled back into the fight alongside a rookie pilot, Mako Mori.
Seeming to have been pushed back, the Kaiju soon returned, with stronger variants specialized to take out certain Jaegers. Veteran crews and their giant mechs are destroyed, leaving the seemingly mismatched Becket and Mori as the last line of defense. Much like ‘Godzilla Minus One,’ the film features plenty of urban destruction, with an iconic sequence of the Jaeger using a freighter as a baseball bat and going to town on a category IV Kaiju. ‘Pacific Rim’ is highlighted as a Kaiju film because of its cathartic human resistance to the Kaijus’ onslaught, in the form of giant robots uppercutting their reptilian faces.