Any list of favorite monsters that does not include Godzilla is immediately suspect. I can trace my love for Godzilla back to a cartoon I watched in the 80’s when I was a kid. In the series, a team of scientists, adventurers, or something on a ship, would call on Godzilla to help them when they ran into mysterious monsters (which they did quite often). If I remember correctly, they even had Godzookie (Godzilla Jr.) on the ship with them. Anyway, the image of Godzilla raising from the ocean in this carton stuck with me.
When I grew older, I found out about the Toho films, but it was difficult to find ways to actually watch them. I caught one or two on television once in a blue moon, but until DVDs arrived, I had to imagine what the films would be like. Upon finally seeing them, in all their dubbed and sometimes cheesy awesomeness, it was indeed glorious.
When Godzilla 2000 was released in American theaters, I was over the moon. I finally got to see Godzilla on the big screen. (Side note: I got to meet Tsutomu Kitagawa last weekend at a local convention. He was the actor in the Godzilla suit for Godzilla 2000 through Final Wars. He was extremely nice and very cool.)
The less said about the 1998 U.S. Godzilla movie the better. That was an extreme disappointment. The 2014 U.S. Godzilla movie was actually pretty good, and the newest Godzilla: King of the Monsters is very good. People complain about the human drama taking away from the monster carnage, but Godzilla movies have always had a human plot that sometimes makes more or less sense and causes cut-aways from the monsters. I think the CGI Godzilla lends itself more to that then the man-in-suit simply due to the logistics of it, but that is a critique for another post. (Place me firmly in man-in-suit camp if anyone is polling.)
The Godzilla roar is instantly iconic, the blast of energy from his mouth is always impressive, and those plates sticking up from his back, parading down and along that massive tail, announce that Godzilla is truly king of the monsters.