In just a few weeks, Singular point of Godzilla is finally on Netflix, and that means we get a brand new version one of our favorite super robot friends, Jaguar Jet. To celebrate, we look back at its origin story in Godzilla vs. Megalon, and find a movie that is, for better or worse, the epitome of the silly and fun monster movie.
Treating monster movies like nothing but dumb schlock is just big, silly fights and nothing below the surface is nothing new. From the origins of the genre to Western successes like this year Godzilla vs. Kong, there will always be a place for a monster movie that trades depth or, in some cases, same logical consistency– for the wide-eyed show of monster-on-monster action. Who needs intelligence when you can have cities razed to the ground by larger-than-life titans, anyway? Godzilla’s film career is no exception, of course, but the years 1973 Godzilla vs. Megalon could be the ultimate example of a movie that goes up or down on how much you can enjoy giant sized shenanigans and joyful stupidity on any semblance of seriousness.
A film that feels almost equally embraced (especially for its special guest star and final fight streak) and vilified (for its lackluster plot, over-reliance on repurposed imagery, and absurd elements) by big G fandoms. over the years since, Godzilla against Megalon is really the kind of movie to know your expectations to enter. It never comes across as trying to be more than the sum of its parts (parts that are, admittedly, stretched to the point of breaking), but if you go there you wait for the franchise to say something about the world like his biggest entries are capable of doing that, well, what you’re going to find here is more of something more like “What if Godzilla let down a fool, and it was so good that he did it?” two times?”
Godzilla vs. MegalonThe threadbare plot of Us mostly takes Godzilla away as the focus. After their underwater civilization is ravaged by humanity’s nuclear tests – the same tests that gave us the King of the Monsters in the first place – the Seatopian Avengers, led by Emperor Antonio (Robert Dunham), release their monstrous god Megalon to destroy the surface world. As Godzilla and his friends on Monster Island are sidelined by shockwaves from a recent nuclear test, the Seatopians target a Japanese inventor named Goro Ibuki (Katsuhiko Sasaki). They want to use Ibuki’s latest invention, a humanoid robot named Jet Jaguar, to control Megalon’s path of destruction on Earth. As Goro and his assistants fight captivity to regain control of Jet Jaguar – and the JSDF struggles to stop Megalon’s assault on Tokyo – eventually Goro succeeds and uses Jet Jaguar’s control system to make the robot call Godzilla for help. After Jet Jaguar inexplicably dons his Ultraman and grows to monstrous size, the robot and King of the Monsters team up to take on a team battle between both Megalon and Godzilla’s recent rival, Gigan (mostly via repurposed footage of the years 1972 Godzilla vs. Gigan).
That’s … that, really. Godzilla vs. Megalon just doesn’t have much to do to justify its already worn-out 80-minute battery life, as it oscillates between the unconvincing threat from the Seatopians and Goro’s attempts to break free from their captivity to regain access to Jet. Jaguar. Focus on infamous Jaguar Jet as part of a children’s competition by Toho production studio to design a new monster for the franchise – makes the movie look less like a Godzilla movie and more than a pastiche of Ultramanthe greatest successes of. As fun as the robot is, it’s hard not to feel like it’s almost irrelevant for what Godzilla was at this point in its history, well in its monstrous and gruesome threat evolution arc. to one of Japan’s greatest heroes. Even then, the film struggles with what it wants to do with Jet Jaguar when it comes up against the liberal reuse of past footage, as production crumbles under intense demands for Godzilla’s resurgence in consciousness. cultural. post-king Kong vs. Godzilla.
And yet, when you put aside the pieces of Godzilla vs. Megalon that doesn’t quite freeze (which is, admittedly, a pretty important piece), there’s still something there, deeply primal in its basic simplicity, that makes it charming elements. The final fight between Jet Jaguar, Godzilla, Gigan, and Megalon is a messy delight, and the first time the film feels like it actually has some sort of kinetic energy after its meandering build-up. Even if you put the famous side dropkick– in which Jet Jaguar pins Megalon so that Godzilla can glide on his tail like he’s spitting in the face of anything divine physics responds to in order to kick him with two feet straight to the chest – it’s a wonderful piece of monster on-robot action on monster. After making 80 minutes more like 120, it’s like Godzilla vs. Megalon finally said “Well, you like fighting, don’t you?” The film has never aimed higher, and at least it keeps its promises.
That the legacy he left for the franchise in this regard – the perception of the monster movie genre as nothing more than shock and awe, and silly rubber suits that shatter against each other – was quite a positive thing is a whole different matter. On the one hand, Godzilla vs. Megalonthe cultural cache of in the years that followed meant monster movies, Godzilla or otherwise, still face this uphill battle over whether or not they want to be more than a show. On the other hand, it’s a reminder that franchises as big as this one, as varied as this one, sometimes have room to be content with the cheap thrills that make blockbusters the joy they are. No matter what you feel for Godzilla vs. Megalonthe fragility of, or the bizarre origin of Jet Jaguar in its threadbare roots, it is something satisfying about a giant robot and the King of all Kaiju shaking hands after a job well done and calling it a day no matter how seriously you take your monster movies.
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