Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, the fifth film in the Heisei series of Godzilla films, was envisioned to be its last, and the creators knew that they wanted to make something special because of this. Whilst their initial plan was to remake Godzilla vs King Kong, they were unable to secure the rights to Kong, and had to come up with something else. This was when the decision was made to have Godzilla fight against one of his most iconic monster foes, Mechagodzilla. The previous films in the series had brought back iconic monsters like King Ghidorah and Mothra, so now it was time for his mechanical nemesis to make a return.
Unlike many of the Godzilla films in previous eras, the Heisei era followed a pretty decent chronology, and events from one film would directly influence and track into another. As such, elements from the previous movies would make small appearances here, in part to continue the continuity, but also in the expectation that this would be the final film in the series.
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Following the events of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, the United Nations have established the United Nations Godzilla Countermeasures Center (the UNGCC) to combat any further incidents involving the kaiju. The military branch of the UNGCC, called G-Force, travel to the remains of Mecha-King Ghidorah and their scientists reverse engineer the technology to create two powerful weapons: a flying gunship called Garuda, and a giant robot modelled after Godzilla himself, Mechagodzilla.
Years later, a team of scientists on a remote island come across what appears to be a giant Pteranodon egg. The egg is giving off strange telepathic signals which brings both Godzilla and Rodan to the island, where the two creatures end up fighting. Whilst the monsters battle, the scientists make away with the egg. Godzilla defeats Rodan, but finds the egg has gone. The scientists bring the egg to Kyoto, where it hatches to reveal that it was actually a baby Godzilla creature inside. The adult Godzilla is heading towards the facility, drawn by the baby’s psychic call.
Mechagodzilla intercepts the monster en route and the two of them battle; a fight in which Godzilla emerges victorious. Despite this, the scientists have been given enough time to figure out that the baby Godzilla has a secondary brain, and are able to use this knowledge to come up with a new battle strategy that they believe can be used to finally kill Godzilla once and for all.
And this was the plan for a while. Godzilla was going to die at the end of this film. There was a version of the script in which Godzilla overcomes the flying weapon Garuda, but is ultimately killed by Mechagodzilla. Another draft saw Mechagodzilla killing the monster, and his escaping life force energy travelling to the baby and mutating it into an adult monster (something that was later used in Godzilla vs. Destroyah). But Godzilla had lost the final two battles in the last two films that he’d been in, and if this was to be his last film then surely he should come out on top? The decision was made to have Godzilla emerge victorious, and the result was the first film in a while where Godzilla wasn’t portrayed as the antagonist, with the previous four films having done so.
Whilst the plan for this to be the final film didn’t stick, the decisions made here did have something of an effect, and the way Godzilla was portrayed here would go on to influence the films that would come next, with many considering this to be the ‘gold standard’ of the Heisei era.
When the film was released, it was marketed as being the final one, and a big push was made to hammer that fact home. It was also announced that this would be the final time that Akira Ifukube, the original Godzilla composer, would work on the series; a fact that would be proven wrong as he would return another half dozen times. The film was marketed with a children’s programme called Adventure Godzilla-land, which had the two rival monsters as news anchors, as well as dance routines. Toho also opened a Godzilla-themed simulation ride called Monster Planet Godzilla.
With its change in formula to make Godzilla into the hero, the return of iconic monsters, and new power-ups and transformations for the monsters, Godzilla vs. Mechadozilla II became an instant hit. Thanks to that, and the delays in the US made Godzilla movie, the franchise was guaranteed to continue on.
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II was released on 11th December 1992.