Hey Matt! A couple of years ago, you made an "essential viewing" kaiju film list on this blog. Now that time has passed since then, are there any changes/updates you wanna make to that list?
I still stand by the majority of the list, however I would probably update it thusly:
Gojira - Needs no introduction
Rodan - A great example of a horror film turned kaiju eiga.
King Kong vs Godzilla (JP version only) - The best kaiju comedy ever produced
Mothra - A lovely mix of kaiju and fantasy with a dash of musical comedy.
Frankenstein Conquers the World - Wild, weird, and wonderful.
Matango - Excellent j-horror through a Toho lens.
Mothra vs Godzilla - Quintessential Godzilla “VS” movie.
Ghidrah TTHM - Another kaiju comedy, this one is basically Roman Holiday but with monsters.
Monster Zero - Rounding out the “Shōwa Trilogy,” this is the prototype for all kaiju/alien invasion flicks.
Godzilla vs Biollante - Intricate storytelling and dynamite special effects, the best of the Heisei era.
The Gamera Trilogy - Possible the best kaiju eiga ever made. Better than the majority of the Godzilla series.
GMK - The best of the post-60’s Godzilla franchise to this day. Nothing else really comes close.
Final Wars - If you want to see a bunch of crap thrown at the screen where nothing really works and yet it kinda also DOES work.
Shin Godzilla - Your mileage may vary but worth watching if you want to see what the fuss is about.
Kong: Skull Island - Easily the best American-made big budget kaiju movie to date.
Colossal - Just damn good. Challenging and compelling.
Special considerations/caveats -
King Kong (original) - A undeniable classic but requires lots of context for its paper-thin heroine and uncomfortable racism.
Harryhausen movies - Watch a few of these BUT keep in mind that they are remembered for their effects, not their stories or characters.
War of the Gargantuas - Worth watching if you can forgive totally disposable human characters for some of the best monster acting put to screen.
Godzilla (2014) - The first act and final battle are the best aspects here. The middle hour or so is largely un-compelling.
Reptilicus - I unironically love this film, including how terrible it is.
All kaiju movies have SOMETHING to offer, so don’t take this list as gospel!