Out of nowhere Godzilla wades ashore without warning and proceeds to lay waste to the surrounding area with not a hint of the nice-guy persona he’s been carefully been crafting for the past 15 years or so.
What the hell, Godzilla? A heel turn on your 20th movie? Say it isn’t so!
Well, in a rather inspired move, Toho decided to (sort of) mix up the usual formula and create a little mystery with their latest offering and it’s was about time too as the rot was most definitely starting to set in on the long running series. Since the ’70’s started Godzilla had been in an ever goofier talespin mired by budget cuts and corner cutting and it was showing, but the arrival of a brand new, shiny arch villain pumps new life into a very overused formula.
You see the Godzilla rampaging through the country and nearly fatally wounding good mate Auguirus turns out to be a robot doppelganger created by ape-like aliens whose planet is being utterly effed by a pesky black hole (even multi-storey monsters aren’t safe from identity fraud it seems). The real Godzilla shows up to clear his name and unmask the imposter like a 160 foot Scooby Gang only to be soundly beaten by the sinister dreadnaught. Local towns people pledge their faith in local legend, the dog-faced deity, King Caesar to vanquish the metal marauder and the stage is set for both Caesar and Godzilla to team up against the robot for the fate of the earth.
In the pantheon of Godzilla villains none have made an impact as fast and as huge as Mechagodzilla. Despite turning up rather late in The Big G’s rogue gallery, MG is essentially Venom to Godzilla’s Spider-Man; an evil mirror to our hero who packs plenty of punch and he almost single handedly pulls the entire series up by it’s boot straps. His first third rampage gives the film more weight and recalls the days when our scaly hero didn’t fight for the side of Earth, plus he looks super fucking cool despite sporting an egg shaped dad bod (who the hell designs a robot with love handles and a paunch?).
NOT looking super fucking cool is the other creature making his movie debut, King Caesar who, despite a sizable build-up, turns out to be somewhat of a damp squib and looking like a mangy, massive shaggy rug come to life and if anything, detracts from the hot Zilla on Zilla action that plays out over the final reel. The final fight is magnificent (when it doesn’t include Caesar) with arterial spray and a vast array of dazzling rainbow coloured weaponry splash all over the screen with a palpable feeling that for once, Godzilla has bitten off more than he can chew until he pulls off a nifty trick involving magnatising himself.
A long overdue upturn in series quality and a legitimately memorable villain really works overtime to make the twilight days of the early movies a high point.
Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla does the double.