Look, I get it.
I fully understand why there are some people out who cannot stand Godzilla vs. Megalon. I mean, Godzilla vs. Megalon is a film that totally goes against everything that originally made Godzilla unique. When Godzilla first showed up and destroyed Tokyo, he was relentless and he ruthless and he was destructive. He didn’t care about humanity. One of the most haunting scenes in the original Gojira features a mother holding her children while Godzilla approaches. Godzilla was created to be a symbol of chaos and madness. For a nation that was still struggling with the trauma of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Godzilla was a nightmare come to life. That’s something that was made very clear in the original Gojira and it’s a theme that’s still present in the American cut of the film, Godzilla, King of the Monsters.
That, however, is not a theme that you’ll find in Godzilla vs. Megalon. There is a nuclear explosion at the start of the film, of course. It rips apart Monster Island and it also angers an underwater civilization. The underwater people retaliate by summoning their God, a giant beetle named Megalon. Why would an underwater civilization worship a beetle? Who knows? Once the beetle starts attacking humanity, it’s up to Godzilla to save the day.
Of course, someone has to let Godzilla know what’s going on. That mission falls to Jet Jaguar, a humanoid robot that is briefly controlled by the bad guys before the good guys override their commands. Jet Jaguar actually gets more screen time than Godzilla and, from what I’ve read, Jet Jaguar is one reason why a lot of hardcore Godzilla fans dislike this film.
Yes, Jet is kind of silly but, when you’re fighting a giant beetle, you do what you have to do. Godzilla doesn’t seem to have a problem with him.
Perhaps realizing that it’s going to be really difficult for a beetle to defeat both a dinosaur and a robot, the underwater people contact a bunch of aliens who agree to lend them Gigan, who is a really cool monster who has a chainsaw in his chest for some reason.
It all leads to knock-down, drag-out fight, one that sees Godzilla going in for a flying kick. Basically, it looks more like a tag team wrestling match than anything else but again, it’s all about the saving planet and if you don’t cheer when Godzilla goes flying through the air, I don’t know what to tell you.
Now, those who complain that this film feels like it was made for children have a point. It definitely does have something of a chidlish feel to it and the fact that it was one of the more financially successful Godzilla films outside of Japan led to a lot of people assuming that all Godzilla films were like this one. Whenever anyone rolls their eyes at the thought of Godzilla being a serious metaphor for nuclear war, it’s probably because the only Godzilla film that they’ve seen is this one or the original King Kong vs. Godzilla.
So, don’t get me wrong. I full understand why some people don’t like this movie but …. well, I do like it. Or, I should say, I always enjoy it when I see it. Seriously, it’s just all so silly and rather innocent. It’s pure fun, which may go against what Godzilla is meant to represent but, at the same time, it’s impossible for me not to smile whenever I watch it.
Fortunately, though, Jet Jaguar never appeared in another film. He did an okay job in Godzilla vs. Megalon but, by the end of the movie, you could tell he was starting to let his new-found fame go to his head.