Call Godzilla what you want but one thing is for sure: the scaly, gigantic, radioactive-beam spewing creature is one hell of a pop icon.
It has its very own Hollywood Walk of Fame star.
And is a tourism ambassador for Tokyo with its likeness placed on top of a 52-m building despite having obilerated Shinjuku three times.
Indeed, the 65-year-old (it first appeared in 1954) king of monsters is simply irresistible.
With its 35th film, Godzilla: King of the Monsters (in theatres May 30), just right around another smashed skyscraper, we take a look at five Godzilla films to watch before you die.
5. Godzilla (1998)
Widely panned as the worst Godzilla film ever… Wait a minute, why is this abomination even here then?
Hang on, we can explain.
Despite a cliched plot and bad acting, it still plays an important role in bringing Godzilla to a wider audience, being the first Godzilla film to be produced entirely by a Hollywood studio.
But yes, it is so bad that it scooped a few Razzies for its efforts (or rather, the lack thereof) and we guess it says quite a bit if people remember the film more for the official soundtrack than the film itself.
4. Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001)
If there’s an award for movie title that describes the entire movie accurately, Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack will definitely win. Hands down.
It sounds like a cheesy slugfest and it appears as a cheesy slugfest.
Despite its cheesiness, the movie’s theme is surprisingly dark, special effects great and battles sequences ultra-violent; all three are vital ingredients for a successful monster movie.
Definitely a must-watch for any kaijiu otaku.
3. Mothra vs Godzilla (1964)
Sometimes Godzilla cannot make up its mind: is it here to destroy the world or is it here to protect it?
In this iteration, Godzilla is the villain hell bent on bringing death and destruction and humans are well, humans. Who’s the good guy to save the day?
Enter Mothra -- a kaijiu modelled, as its name suggests, after a moth.
Don’t be put off by its kawaii looks though, Mothra is still strong enough to can take on Godzilla anytime.
It is also the only kaijiu who is interested in protecting Earth it seems. Awww.
2. Shin Godzilla (2016)
Here comes an award-winning (the good awards) version of Godzilla. It won seven awards at the 40th Japanese Academy Prize, including Best Picture and Best Director.
To be honest, Godzilla films are not really darlings at awards shows. But what set Shin Godzilla apart from other Godzillas is its realism: How people and the government struggle to cope with a terror as fearsome and godlike as Godzilla.
It follows the original Godzilla, with its political undertones and draws inspiration from real-life events like the Fukushima disaster.
Speaking of the original...
1. Godzilla (1954)
Numero uno, ladies and gentlemen.
With special effects well ahead of its time, legendary actor Takashi Shimura in the frame and as an allegory of sorts, it’s little wonder why this film is considered a true classic.
The premise, while simple, still manages to weave in heavy social commentary of the horrors of nuclear weapons and wars, particularly the carnage that happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Movie critic Roger Ebert even wrote that “properly decoded, it was the Fahrenheit 9/11 of its time”.