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Why I dislike Mothra and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

Part I: Mothra

Mothra is a trash kaiju. She dies in almost every movie she's in, her attacks are weak and boring, and she brought a lot of weird occult themes to the Godzilla series that never needed to be there.

In the Showa era of Godzilla films, Mothra is a kaiju that lives on Infant Island. She's a protector of the natives, who worship her as a "goddess". Only a few films in, and we've already got idolatry. I wouldn't mind it so much, if the series didn't go out of its way to validate the backwards beliefs of these Mothra occultists.

The occultists of Infant Island perform a ritual for Mothra
The Infant Island cult performs a ritual for an oversized insect. I can't think of a lamer idol to worship.

Ask yourself this- why has the divine status of Mothra never been questioned in a directorial manner? Varan, who used to be called a god by local islanders, was explained to be just a dinosaur. Why does Mothra get a free pass here? The Shobijin are also suspicious entities, as they're frequently associated with the occult practice of "telepathy". Why was it necessary to include all this magic garbage? The first Godzilla film was heavily rooted in science fiction; it was meant to be a metaphor for nuclear war. When did kaiju worship get added into the mix? Mothra. That's when.

Part II: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

I caught this movie on release day. I traveled to the fanciest movie theater in town with some high school friends. They weren't Godzilla fans, but it didn't matter. It was a fun way to end my senior year. At the time, I didn't really notice the obvious blasphemies and heresies that the film espoused, mainly because I was not a Catholic at the time. However, after re-watching it with fresh eyes, the film has soured substantially.

In all fairness, I don't think it's the worst Godzilla movie. It's shot well, the effects are decent, and the fights are just as bombastic as I wanted them to be. However, the film doubles down on the themes of kaiju worship through some laughably unsubtle shots and dialogue choices.

King Ghidorah roars right next to a giant cross
I didn't know Godzilla was directed by Zach Snyder.

Of course, this is the big one. Apparently the director was really proud of this shot, because it was shown on multiple security cameras later on. And no, the shot was not altered in the security footage. It made no sense, but it wasn't supposed to. The only purpose of that shot was to communicate the director's message, and that message was blaringly obvious- "King Ghidorah is a replacement for God".

Now, this shot isn't too bad by itself. Out of context, it could be interpreted as an expression of King Ghidorah's pride, which could have been interesting. Imagine if King Ghidorah saw himself as a god, and his motive for conquering Earth was to be worshipped by humans. That would be an interesting spin on the kaiju formula, and it contrasts with Mothra's "peaceful mother goddess" narrative. But instead of doing anything interesting with that concept, this movie decided to play it straight. Characters refer to the Titans as "the old gods", "the first gods", and other blasphemous names. Godzilla even has an underwater shrine city dedicated to him, which conflicts with every previous origin story. So no, you don't get a cool Ghidorah motive, and you don't even get a faithful backstory for Godzilla. All you get is cringeworthy kaiju worship.

In conclusion, this movie sucks. For some reason, that girl from Stranger Things is in it too. Will Godzilla vs. Kong (2020) rectify any of the issues I have with the Legendary-era films? I won't hold my breath.

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