I don’t know about you, but all I’ve been seeing lately are commercials for Godzilla vs. Kong, which is hitting theaters at the end of this month. I remember being totally surprised that one of its predecessors, 2017’s Kong: Skull Island (starring Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson), was actually hugely entertaining. I hope we all feel the same way about this next installment!
With that in mind, I figured I’d provide a rundown of 7 other noteworthy kaiju movies from the past 15 years.
Godzilla (2014)– This was the first movie in Legendary Entertainment’s “MonsterVerse,” and it rebooted the Godzilla franchise with a surprisingly emotional take on why the gargantuan monster from the deep came back to scare the crap out of humankind. Or maybe that is not what the big guy was ever all about? Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe and a pre-Avengers Elizabeth Olsen are determined to find out — and save the world in the process.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters – Next up we have a film that’s both the sequel to Godzilla as well as one of the prequels to the upcoming Godzilla vs. Kong. Watanabe returns, but otherwise it’s an all-new cast of characters (played by Kyle Chandler, Millie Bobby Brown and Vera Farmiga) who must figure out how to get both Godzilla and Mothra to help them battle a mysterious three-headed Titan called “Monster Zero.”
Monster Hunter – New at the Box and Redbox On Demand, this adaptation of the popular video game stars Milla Jovovich, who knows a thing or two about slaying video-game baddies from her long-running stint as the face of the Resident Evil franchise . In Monster Hunter (directed by her husband, Paul W.S. Anderson), her character is sucked through a portal to a world where gigantic monsters terrorize humans. Can she survive … while also ensuring these monsters don’t come back home with her through the portal?
Colossal – This dramedy isn’t your typical kaiju movie — its big monster has a just-as-big secret. While star Anne Hathaway is truly great as an alcoholic who returns to her childhood hometown to try to clean up her life, the standout performance comes from Jason Sudeikis, who’s currently riding a wave of award wins thanks to his Apple+ series Ted Lasso. In Colossal, he plays an old friend of Hathaway’s who reconnects with her upon her return home. Anyone who’s a fan of Sudeikis’s comedy work needs to make sure they witness him giving his darker side some love in this deeply original film.
Pacific Rim and Pacific Rim: Uprising – It turns out that in the future, kaiju are not willing to remain hidden away in the depths. Instead, they erupt from the sea and are intent on wiping out human civilization as we know it. All that stands between us and them are kaiju-sized battle bots called Jaegers, created specifically to bring the towering monsters down. In the first film, Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi and Idris Elba play Jaeger pilots, and in the sequel, their legacy is carried on by John Boyega, Scott Eastwood and Cailee Spaeny.
Cloverfield – The oldest film on this list, Matt Reeves’ found-footage monster film from 2008 was so popular and so buzzed-about that it might’ve served to kick off the whole kaiju-film renaissance that came after. It follows a group of friends in New York City on the night a huge alien monster crash-lands and starts annihilating Manhattan. Exciting news for fans of this J.J. Abrams-produced movie: a direct sequel is now in the works, with Abrams attached once more. However, word is that it will not be shot in the same shaky-cam/found footage style — news that makes my exceedingly sensitive stomach rejoice.