The only Godzilla film in the public domain, and probably the reason why these films never quite caught on here in the States.
Do I personally think this is one of the most notorious and poor entries in the Godzilla series? Actually no, it's wild and certainly could be considered the black sheep of the Showa series but I enjoyed it for what it is. The story centers around an inventor named Goro who somehow, I wish I knew how, independently created a robot named Jet Jaguar who gets swept up in a plot of underground humans, a bug kaiju, and quite possibly the most iconic tag team duo in history. The film was originally supposed to be all about Jet Jaguar as our hero but thinking it wouldn't perform well, Toho added Godzilla and Gigan to try and up the box office profits. Now you can tell that from watching the movie, Godzilla really only shows up for the big fight and a brief scene where Jet Jaguar and him meet. I don't have a huge problem with that but it is kinda silly for a movie named Godzilla Vs. Megalon. But I think Jet Jaguar is awesome, the design is unapologetically 70s, the concept was very much based on other heroes like Infra-Man and Kamen Rider, and the fact that a child designed Jet Jaguar for a competition and got to see his creation on the big screen is pretty amazing. It's a shame Haruo Nakajima bowed out of the role in the last film, I honestly thought he was there until the end of this era but Shinji Takagi does mighty well giving personality and power to the king. But yeah, this movie is kinda weird when you step back and look at it. Not at all to say the production is bad, the cast does decent work, the production design is cool, you can tell and the special effects director at this time Teruyoshi Nakano said so too, that the effects crew working on this put a lot of work into it. It's such a shame the budgets for the effects got so limited, I can't even imagine trying to make all this work with a genuine inadequate amount of money, and I just have monumental respect for the effects creators of these movies and more importantly this genre, even if it wasn't flawless. The final fight is worth it, it's pretty awesome in it's own outrageous way, with plenty of explosions, tag team moves, and one of the most absurdly hardcore badass moves ever put to cinema. I can't obviously speak for audiences in 1976 when this was released to the States, but they pretty much shit on this movie. Now I know the climate of viewing cinema has changed, and all for the better I say, but if I watched a piece of japanese cinema about giant monsters fighting even if it was hacked to hell in editing, I couldn't bad mouth it. But the stigma this movie got transcended generations even to this day, if you tried to sit someone down to watch a Godzilla movie from the 60s or 70s they would probably object due to the quality. Oh it's a rubber suit, oh it has dubbing, blah blah blah, it drives me up the wall. Do I blame this movie? Hell no, it has a cult following all of it's own, with lots of it's own idiosyncracies that makes it so popular whether in a positive or negative light. And if you're wondering what camp I reside in, I can recite almost the entirety of the Jet Jaguar song. I rest my case. 2.5 stars, 5.5/10. Final two coming your way.
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