Movie Reviews

All 4 Versions Of Godzilla's Atomic Breath, Power Levels & Origins Explained

Summary

  • Godzilla’s standard blue atomic breath attack is a concentrated beam of radioactive power, capable of destroying buildings and injuring other monsters.
  • Heisei Godzilla introduced an elevated form of the atomic breath, glowing red and known as the “spiral heat ray,” which became more intense with external power sources.
  • Shin Godzilla’s atomic breath was bright purple and highly destructive, starting as a black smoke that transformed into an orange fire and then a precise, narrow beam capable of heavy destruction.



Godzilla‘s destructive atomic breath is his most famous feature, and it has changed in both color and power level over the course of the King of the Monsters’ extensive history. While Godzilla’s atomic breath is most famously blue, it has shifted shades multiple times as Godzilla has powered up or taken a new form. With Godzilla set to debut a brand-new pink atomic power in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, it’s time to look back on the history of the monster’s mighty heat ray.

While Godzilla’s strongest attack is usually some version of the atomic breath, it has changed in color and shape based on how strong Godzilla happened to be at the time. Its form has changed many times, ranging from the mist-like radioactive breath of the original 1954 Godzilla to Godzilla Minus One‘s atomic bomb-like single blast. While his standard blue atomic breath is deadly on its own, Big G usually has another level of power he can access, which often transforms his atomic breath into something even more spectacular and devastating.



4 Godzilla’s Blue Atomic Breath

Godzilla’s standard atomic breath attack is typically a whitish blue.

Godzilla’s standard blue atomic breath attack typically takes the form of a concentrated beam of radioactive power. It’s capable of destroying buildings, military weapons and most other structures with one blast, and is capable of burning and injuring other monsters. Some versions of Godzilla use the atomic breath more liberally than others, but it is typically his primary attack when battling against other monsters, especially as a finishing maneuver toward the end of a fight.


Godzilla’s atomic breath was seen in his first appearance, Toho’s 1954 original Godzilla. In that movie, it was referred to as a “radioactive spray” and presented as a colorless vapor that was superheated enough to melt tanks, buildings and other structures, and also start intense fires. Godzilla first used his atomic breath on an opponent in 1955’s Godzilla Raids Again, where the radioactive spray proved strong enough to kill Anguirus after their bitter fight. Godzilla’s atomic breath first took on its bluish hue and beam-like shape in King Kong vs. Godzilla, and it maintained that shape throughout the movies of the Showa Era (1954-1975), Heisei Era (1984-1995) and the Millennium Series (1999-2004).

Legendary’s Monsterverse brought back the neon blue beam in 2014’s Godzilla, although Godzilla really only used it as a final resort as opposed to his primary weapon. As Godzilla has been powered up multiple times during the events of the Monsterverse, his atomic breath has grown more powerful and concentrated. He now uses the atomic blue glow that radiates throughout his body as a display of dominance when threatened, and will fire his atomic breath much more often once fully charged, as seen in Godzilla vs. Kong.


Godzilla’s blue atomic breath was at its strongest in Toho’s Godzilla Minus One, and in doing so brings Godzilla’s atomic breath back to its roots. Given that Godzilla himself is a walking metaphor for the horrors of nuclear war, Godzilla Minus One restores that terror with Godzilla’s atomic breath, which directly mimics the effects of a nuclear bomb detonation. Complete with a mushroom cloud, violent kinetic blast, and long-lasting effects on its victims, Godzilla Minus One‘s version of the blue atomic breath is truly lethal.

3 Godzilla’s Red Atomic Breath

Heisei Godzilla introduced an elevated red form of his atomic breath.


Godzilla’s standard blue atomic breath remained during the Heisei (1984-1995) and Millennium (1999-2004) Eras, but an elevated form of that atomic breath was introduced that glowed a vibrant orange or red. Godzilla’s atomic breath took on an advanced form known as the “spiral heat ray” when Godzilla gained additional power from an external source. In its first appearance in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Godzilla gained use of the red spiral heat ray after a dying Rodan transferred his life force to the radioactive lizard.

Godzilla Red/Orange Atomic Breath Appearances

Movie

Year

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II

1993

Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla

1994

Godzilla vs. Destoroyah

1995

Godzilla 2000: Millennium

1999

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus

2000

Godzilla: Final Wars

2004


Godzilla would return to the spiral heat ray to finish off SpaceGodzilla in Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, and used an even more intense version (the burning spiral heat ray) to end Destoroyah once and for all in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. The ultimate version of Godzilla’s red/orange atomic breath was used in Godzilla: Final Wars. Known as the Burning G Spark Heat Ray, that version of Godzilla’s atomic blast was strong enough to blast Kaiser Ghidorah all the way to the edge of space and destroy him completely.

Godzilla 2000: Millennium and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus featured a unique variation of Godzilla’s atomic breath. In both movies, Godzilla’s atomic powers presented with a bright orange color, which was reflected in Godzilla’s dorsal plates when he fired his atomic breath. That version of his atomic breath seemed to be much more incendiary than the typical energy beam, and produced a fiery explosion whenever it was used.


Related: Does Godzilla x Kong Borrow An Idea From A 28-Year-Old Movie?

2 Godzilla’s Purple Atomic Breath

Shin Godzilla’s atomic breath was bright purple, and was highly destructive.

2016’s Shin Godzilla introduced a unique, more horror-focused version of Godzilla, and with that new version came a new form of Godzilla’s famous atomic breath. Shin Godzilla’s entire body glowed when using his atomic powers, likely taking a page out of the Monsterverse’s design playbook. However, unlike Legendary’s more traditional blue hue, Shin Godzilla glowed with a bright, almost neon purple.


Shin Godzilla’s atomic breath blast played out far differently from any other iteration of Godzilla seen on the silver screen. Shin Godzilla’s atomic breath began as a thick black smoke, which turned into a stream of bright orange fire (known as the “thermal flame”) that can engulf entire sections of a city in seconds. Once that blast became concentrated, it evolved into the bright purple radiation heat ray, which was a highly-focused, narrow, and precise beam capable of heavy destruction across great distances. Shin Godzilla was even capable of firing this heat ray out of his dorsal plates and tail, enabling him to attack many different targets at once.

1 Godzilla’s Pink Atomic Breath

Godzilla will have pink atomic powers in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire.


Legendary’s current version of Godzilla got another upgrade in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire. Thanks to his destruction of the Titan Tiamat and takeover of his lair, Godzilla assimilates some of Tiamat’s DNA and absorbs a massive amount of solar radiation, which combines to give him his pink atomic power. The pink version of his atomic breath seems much more volatile than previous iterations in the Monsterverse, as it’s a much less concentrated beam. However, it also seems to be more potent than even the charged-up version of Godzilla’s atomic blast into the Hollow Earth from Godzilla vs. Kong.

In order for Godzilla to defeat Skar King and Shimo, he needed to level up his primary weapon. His atomic breath getting the upgrade was important not only in battling the two Titans, but also to dispel the icy damage that Shimo did to the atmosphere in the final fight of Godzilla X Kong. His pink atomic breath appeared to have been completely dispelled by the end of Godzilla X Kong, but it’s possible it reappears due to the next threat Godzilla faces.


Which Color Of Godzilla’s Atomic Breath Is The Most Powerful

As far as a concentrated beam against a single opponent is concerned, the Burning G Spark Heat Ray from Godzilla: Final Wars is widely considered to be the most powerful version of Godzilla’s atomic breath. However, as far as the cumulative destructive capability of a single blast is concerned, Godzilla Minus One‘s nuclear bomb-like atomic breath is considered the most powerful. Godzilla’s atomic breath is a defining feature of cinema’s most beloved monster, and considering Godzilla‘s recent incredible box office run, it seems likely that audiences haven’t seen the last major change for his mightiest attack.

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