It’s time to dive into the rich legacy of Godzilla, King Kong, and other legendary Titans with our ranking of the MonsterVerse movies. The iconic reptilian, Godzilla, has become a household name since his first appearance in the 1956 film Godzilla, directed by Ishirō Honda. If you’re familiar with the lore, have read Godzilla comics, or watched any of the many adaptations of the mega lizard, then you’re likely aware of his powerful counterpart, King Kong, and perhaps his longtime best friend, Mothra. Beyond these Titans lie numerous colossal creatures waiting to be unveiled.
And while the legacy of Godzilla and King Kong boasts a wealth of lore, it’s never too late to dive headfirst into this epic saga. The MonsterVerse offers an abundance of excitement, making it one of the most enjoyable franchises to explore. Now that Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is streaming on Apple TV+, we decided to curate a guide to help you through the epic world of these enigmatic creatures.
4. ‘Godzilla’ (2014)
Kicking off our ranking of the MonsterVerse movies is Godzilla (2014). The film distinguishes itself as the most grounded and serious entry among the four. It dives into the destruction brought on by natural disasters, with a pronounced emphasis on the human experience. Boasting a stellar cast including Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Bryan Cranston, the film, unfortunately, lands at the bottom of the list, primarily due to the scarcity of Godzilla’s screen time and the abrupt departure of Bryan Cranston’s character.
However, don’t let these factors stop you from watching. It is a captivating reintroduction to the megastar, featuring stunning cinematography that will undoubtedly leave you in awe and wanting more.
3. ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ (2021)
If you walk into a movie titled Godzilla vs. Kong expecting a deep analysis of a showdown between an ancient dinosaur and a massive gorilla, you may not be the target audience. That being said, there are plenty of positive things to discuss. Godzilla vs. Kong delves into the mysteries of the Hollow Earth, providing insights into where these giants come from and how they thrive.
The several epic clashes between Kong and Godzilla add intensity to the movie, making it a thoroughly enjoyable experience. This film not only met fan expectations of a massive spectacle, but also understood the assignment of delivering a grand scale of entertainment. However, it lands second to the bottom in our MonsterVerse movie ranking, primarily due to the lack of a compelling human storyline.
Despite conflicting with our earlier ranking, the best MonsterVerse movies excel when they strike a balance between humanity and colossal creature battles. Maybe that’s asking for a lot about movies centered around giant fictional monsters, but it’s not impossible to achieve and would give the film a major bump in quality.
2. ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ (2019)
Reigning supreme as the King of the Monsters? Absolutely. But claiming the title of the King of the MonsterVerse? Not so fast. Securing second place is Godzilla: King of the Monsters. This film distinguishes itself on multiple fronts by giving Godzilla a nuanced personality, motivations, and goals beyond mere destruction. Adding to its epic scope is the introduction of three monsters—Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidora. All who bring a visually stunning dimension to the story.
The film skillfully captures the enormity of each Titan, delivering breathtaking clashes, and showcases pure love for the franchise within every frame. Plus, the human element adds depth, contributing to the movie’s overall strength. However, its ascent to the top spot is hindered by the astronomically high stakes — literally, world-ending. Additionally, the storyline has somewhat puzzling plot holes regarding certain military tactics, preventing it from claiming the title of being the king of the MonsterVerse.
1. ‘Kong: Skull Island’ (2017)
Kong protects, Kong attacks.
Kong: Skull Island marks the return of King Kong to the big screen since Peter Jackson‘s 2005 film. This installment skillfully blends the magnificent presence of Kong with intricate human-monster interactions, sealing its spot as the strongest of the MonsterVerse movies. The portrayal of Skull Island is well-executed, weaving a narrative that genuinely invests viewers in the characters and their Titans. The film successfully engages in world-building, providing insights into the government organization Monarch and introducing the mysteries of the Hollow Earth.
Enhancing its appeal, Kong: Skull Island boasts another incredible cast featuring Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, and John Goodman. While the characters and storyline may not break new ground, the movie compensates with breathtaking visuals. The island’s monsters, creatures, and awe-inspiring fight scenes propel it to the top of our list.
Expanding the MonsterVerse
The MonsterVerse franchise stands as one of the best and most captivating cinematic universes. A large part of its appeal lies not only in its iconic titans like Godzilla and King Kong, but also in the storytelling and visual spectacle it brings to the screen. As the franchise expands, it promises to give fans an ever-growing world, introducing monsters, exploring uncharted territories, and delivering on the promise of epic battles that leave a lasting impact.
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