Within the particular discourses of political statements made in the genre movies, the monster genre remains one constantly using the spectacle to draw attention to the larger issue of America’s nuclear fetishism and gleeful destruction of ecological balance. Gareth Edwards’ “Godzilla” (2014), however, being American solely, aims to project America as a victim and, subsequently, a hero.

Godzilla (2014) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

In 1999, Project Monarch scientists Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins) are flown in by a mining company in the Phillippines to investigate a uranium mine whose floor had collapsed into a deep cavern. Inside this cavern, Serizawa and Graham find the skeleton of what closely resembles Godzilla and the colossal spores of an unknown creature– one dormant and the other freshly hatched. The trail outside the cavern indicates that the creature that has broken out from one of the spores has made its way to the sea.

In Japan, connected to the Phillippines by sea, the Janjira Nuclear Power Plant reports unusual seismic activity, which Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston), the plant supervisor, cannot label as just aftershocks of an earthquake. His co-worker and wife, Sandra Brody (Juliette Binoche), along with a team of technicians, ventures into a reactor to trace the source of the disturbances. While the team is in the reactor, a tremor occurs, which results in a breach. Sandra tries to escape the cloud of gas from the reactor coming their way but fails. Joe goes down to save her. Unfortunately, since she fails to run towards the checkpoint on time, he is forced to close the door to prevent the entire city from getting exposed. The entire power plant complex crumbles before the eyes of their son, Ford, who watches it from his school classroom.

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The film then cuts to fifteen years later and travels to San Francisco. Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), now all grown up and serving at the US Navy EOD, is back to his wife and son after fourteen months. However, his time with the family is cut short as he gets the news of his father being arrested in Japan for trespassing the quarantine zone of Janjira. When he arrives in Japan, Joe asks Brody to help him remove the curtain from the truth: that the tremors are not the cause of earthquakes. Brody accompanies Joe to their old house to retrieve old data, which can be important to prove Joe’s claims.

Joe and Brody arrive at the quarantine zone and find out that, surprisingly, the place is free of radiation. The father and son find the ruins of their old house. When they come out of the house, after having retrieved the discs and some precious belongings, they are detained. Both of them are taken to a facility that has been set up where the Janjira plant existed once. The facility is set up around a colossal chrysalis of an unknown creature. It is here that Dr. Serizawa and Joe meet for the first time. Joe frantically explains there is a creature that is feeding off the radiation of the plant and emitting strong electromagnetic pulses. Drawing up all the energy from the plant, a giant winged creature emerges from the chrysalis and destroys the establishment. Joe gets stuck in the debris and succumbs to his injuries.

Godzilla (2014) Movie Ending Explained
Elizabeth Olsen in Godzilla (2014)

The US Navy task force, led by Admiral William Stenz, carefully tailors the narrative in favor of an earthquake. The creature, dubbed by them as ‘MUTO’– Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism, is nowhere to be traced. Subsequently, they seek help from Serizawa and Graham. They explain to Ford that, in 1954, the USS Nautilus awakened an ancient alpha predator, the Godzilla, at the top of a primordial ecosystem. These creatures consumed the radiation of the Earth as a food source. However, gradually, when the radioactivity of the Earth’s surface subsided, the creatures adapted to live deeper in the oceans. They explain that their organization, Monarch, is a multinational coalition formed in secrecy to form a better understanding of these unknown creatures.

Also, Read: Neocolonial Anxieties in Bong Joon-ho’s ‘The Host’ (2006)

Serizawa harks back to his discovery of the skeleton in the Philippines in 1999. He reveals that the creature, although resembling the Godzilla, was killed long ago by the insect-like creatures that they face at present. The spore of one of the creatures hatched as a mining company unknowingly drilled into its tomb. The hatchling made its way to the nearest source of radiation, the Janjira power plant, across the sea. It remained cocooned there for fifteen years absorbing all its radioactive fuel to gestate and grow. Ford reveals his father’s obsession with echolocation. Serizawa believes that if the MUTO was talking, there must be something that was talking back. They indicate that this can be the Godzilla.

The Navy task force reports the disappearance of a Soviet nuclear submarine and attributes it to the MUTO. The MUTO is found chewing off the submarine on O’ahu island, Hawaii. Instantly, the task force reports something else approaching from the Pacific, presumably the Godzilla. Godzilla’s arrival causes a tsunami in Honolulu. On the other hand, the MUTO travels to the main city and destroys the metro that Ford is in. He almost escapes death.

The Godzilla and MUTO engage in a battle, and Godzilla starts chasing it. Serizawa explains that the MUTO’s call was actually not meant for the Godzilla, and the Godzilla was only listening. It was, in fact, a mating call for the other spore that was disposed of by the US Army in Nevada. The dormant spore hatches, and a female MUTO, much larger in size, emerges and destroys Las Vegas. The female MUTO has been dormant and was waiting for the male to mature. This time they have come together to reproduce.

Now that the monsters have hit too close to home, Stenz orders his task force to arrange for nuclear warheads so that all three creatures– the Godzilla and the two MUTOs– can be destroyed in the open ocean with minimal risk to the city. Serizawa objects as he believes Godzilla is enough to fight the MUTOs and that it has reappeared to restore balance. Ford, who has managed to return to the US, joins the task force in delivering the warheads. He also boards the train carrying them to San Francisco.

Read More: All 20 Godzilla Monsters, Ranked

Godzilla (2014) Movie Ending Explained:

Who wins the battle between the Godzilla and the MUTOs?

The train carrying the warheads is destroyed by the MUTO, and it starts devouring them. The remaining MUTO is airlifted the next morning, along with Ford. The warheads are deported to San Francisco, where the monsters will converge. Upon Godzilla’s sightings, warheads are dropped, but the male MUTO manages to sneak away the warhead and pass it over to the female who is in the Chinatown area. Resembling an act of nesting, the female MUTO protects the warhead by forming a nest. Since the warhead is now at the center of the downtown area, 100,000 civilians are automatically put in the blast radius. Ford and his team go for a HALO insertion to rescue the warhead before it detonates.

With no time in hand, the force carries the warhead to a boat and decides to take it to the sea. Ford stays back and destroys the nest. All this happens while the Godzilla and the MUTOs engage in a battle. Believing that Godzilla has died after killing a MUTO, Ford makes his way to the seashore to get the boat of warhead out in the sea. However, the second MUTO poses a threat. As Ford almost accepts his fate, Godzilla arrives and kills the last MUTO. Ford is rescued before the warhead detonates. The next morning, he reunites with his wife and son at the shelter. Godzilla, exhausted from the battles it fought, gathers it’s energy and goes back to the sea, leaving people to ponder on his essentiality in this nature vs man fight.

Godzilla (2014) Trailer:

Godzilla (2014) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, Letterboxd
The Cast of Godzilla (2014) Movie: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Bryan Cranston
Godzilla (2014) Movie Genre: Sci-fi/Action, Runtime: 2h 3m
Where to watch Godzilla

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