Godzilla vs Destroyah (1995)
The weapon of mass destruction known as the Oxygen Destroyer has an interesting history in the Godzilla franchise. In the original 1954 film, the weapon was used to stop Godzilla’s reign of terror in Tokyo. In Godzilla vs Destroyah, the device is triggered once again, causing the birth of the latter creature as a result.
Dougherty also decided to bring the Oxygen Destroyer back for King of the Monsters. There’s a scene where it’s used to try and kill Godzilla and Ghidorah when they’re slugging it out in the middle of the sea. Unfortunately for humanity, both creatures survive while all other ocean life dies.
Furthermore, there’s a nod to this movie during the final battle between Ghidorah and Godzilla in Boston. During the fight, Godzilla’s nuclear juice starts to heat up, which gives the human characters a limited amount of time to vacate the area before he turns explosive. Perhaps the nods to the 1995 epic was the Dougherty’s way of hinting at the arrival of Destroyah in a future sequel?
Godzilla vs Biollante (1989)
I already included Jurassic Park in this list due to its thematic similarities with King of the Monsters. However, the Godzilla franchise has always had a pro-environmental and anti-corporate/militaristic message. The original film, with all its nuclear war metaphors, is also a commentary about man-made chaos disrupting nature. Then there’s the silly Godzilla vs Hedorah, which saw our hero take a stand against pollution and discover his inner hippie. I could go on.
As far as Godzilla movies about the environment go, however, Godzilla vs Biollante is one of the best to explore these ideas. Biollante, of course, is a plant monster who came about as the result of greedy corporate and military types messing around with monster DNA. King of the Monsters also alludes to corporations being interested in obtaining Titan DNA for their own nefarious means. Here’s hoping Biollante shows up in the Legendary series in the near future.
Destroy All Monsters (1968)
The arrival of the King Ghidorah spells trouble for the world in King of the Monsters. Upon landing on Earth, the big baddie finds a way to control some of the Titans and sends them on a destructive rampage. Naturally, some people don’t have much sympathy for the beasts. The government really wants to eradicate the creatures. People carry signs that read “Destroy All Monsters.” Those are fun nods to this gem from 1968.
Destroy All Monsters revolves around some kaiju teaming up to defeat Ghidorah. A monster battle royale follows. More than anything, though, Destroy All Monsters is worth a watch because, like Dougherty’s film, it’s a gathering of some of the best monsters in the Godzilla lore. If strong ensembles are your cup of tea, then Destroy All Monsters is the Glengarry Glen Ross of Japanese creature features.
This was another movie that influenced the director going into the latest Godzilla sequel. While discussing King of the Monsters in the lead up to its release, Dougherty said his movie was like Aliens, while Gareth Edwards’ predecessor was more like Alien:
“Whereas the first movie was really about Brody’s character kind of weaving his way through that adventure and Monarch kind of was the backdrop for that. Here Monarch is the focus because I find that concept really fascinating.”
It’s a fitting comparison. Edwards’ movie is a slow burn and rooted in mystery. The sequel, on the other hand, is much more action-packed and digs deeper into the mythology behind the monsters. Watch both movies back-to-back for different vibes that complement each other rather well.
Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995)
Unless humans pose a threat to the Titans in King of the Monsters, some of the them are more than willing to co-exist alongside our species. One of the ideas explored in the movie is humanity’s ability to communicate with the creatures and how that relationship goes way back.
This idea of communication between humans and monsters was a big part of the 1978 Godzilla cartoon series as well, which also inspired Dougherty and co. when they conceived King of the Monsters. But for monster films that feature a synergy between humans and creatures, I’d like to recommend the 1995 Gamera reboot. Here, a young girl forms a spiritual bond with the titular gargantuan turtle and it’s just wonderful. Additionally, this is one of the best kaiju flicks ever made.