'Shin Godzilla' Ending Explained: What's With Those Last Shot Skeletons? [Spoilers]

What's Going On In The Last Shot Of 'Shin Godzilla'?
  • Adventure
  • Science Fiction

The last shot of Shin Godzilla (yes, there will be spoilers) is of Godzilla’s tail. A plan set in motion by the surviving members of the Japanese government (Godzilla iced the prime minister) used the municipal machinery of Tokyo and surrounding cities to load up Godzilla’s body with a coagulant that stymies its internal fission, freezing it in place. Godzilla ends the movie as a statue, frozen in the center of a decimated Tokyo. At the tip of its tail, hardened into death or hibernation, are a multitude of skeletal creatures.

The natural explanation for the ending of Shin Godzilla is reproduction: the little guys frozen in Godzilla’s tail in the last shot are baby Godzillas (btw, Shin Godzilla retcons the origin of the name, it’s now more Godzilla than Gojira). But that’s not quite right. Sure, the little skeletal figures have Godzilla’s signature dorsal fins, but they also have human-like skulls and long arms. They look nothing like Godzilla.

Godzilla is up to his old tricks in the first trailer for 'Godzilla: Resurgence.' Photo: Toho Studios

The last shot of 'Shin Godzilla.' Photo: Toho Co.

There’s something thematic going on here. Anyone familiar with the work of Shin Godzilla director Hideaki Anno (who co-directed with Shinji Higuchi) knows his fixation on human mutability and the confusing interplay between our individual selves and the other souls around us. The End of Evangelion revolves around a techno-spiritual conspiracy to dissolve the boundaries between human bodies, melting all of our minds into a collective ocean of consciousness. Explaining the end of Shin Godzilla isn’t about Godzilla, it’s about us.

Shin Godzilla is about the people of Japan banding together to assert their own power and importance on the international stage, stepping out from under the protective but smothering dome of United States military power to defeat Godzilla on their own terms. But Shin Godzilla is about more than just Japan, it’s about our collective powers as a species. The movie downplays protagonists and individual heroes. Instead, Godzilla is defeated by career bureaucrats doing a good job, sharing responsibility and working together. We may get bogged down in committee meetings, but together we’re stronger than any god.

Godzilla exhibits a number of peculiar qualities in Shin Godzilla, which is explained in part by its incredibly dense DNA. Godzilla’s threat is described as insurmountable due to its genetic complexity, which will make it responsive to anything we can throw at it. Godzilla is simply more evolved than us.

One of Godzilla’s powers is the ability to adapt to any threat. In Shin Godzilla it evolves through multiple “forms,” freezing in place or retreating into the ocean to undergo a rapid adaptive mutation. It’s a creature that’s harnessed the power of evolution in itself, requiring hours, not generations, to become something different and stronger.

So when Godzilla is defeated by a collection of tiny beings working together against its single massive form, what would be the natural next evolutionary step? They’re not babies. The ending of Shin Godzilla is more than that. If committees defeated Godzilla, then Godzilla will become a committee. The last shot of Shin Godzilla depicts Godzilla evolving into its next form: an army of humanoids to match collective power with collective power.


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