It was 1954 when Gojira first hit the big screen in Ishiro Honda's now iconic monster movie, made as a reply to the USA dropping two atom-bombs on Japan less than a decade earlier. But American audiences never saw that aspect of the movie, since the film was drastically re-edited two years later to remove all references to the war while adding American star Raymond Burr. The creature's name also morphed into Godzilla.

GodzillaBryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor Johnson in 'Godzilla'

And the franchise has been resilient ever since, with literally hundreds of movies, short films and TV shows continuing or retelling the story. In most of them, Godzilla is battling other monsters like Mothra, King Kong or of course Mechagodzilla. One of the monster's most classic appearances is in the 1969 short Bambi Meets Godzilla. And the original 1954 Japanese movie was finally released worldwide in 2005.

More: read our full review of 'Godzilla'

Hollywood attempted to revive the creature in Roland Emmerich's big-budget 1998 action blockbuster, which never caught on with either critics and audiences. So when British special effects artist Gareth Edwards launched his career with the small-budget 2010 hit Monsters, the big studios came calling. Rather than work his way tenaciously up the ladder, he was immediately given a huge budget to relaunch Godzilla for another generation.

Fortunately, Edwards stuck to his guns, keeping the film gritty and character-based while including enough mayhem to please fans of mass-destruction. Now it's up to audiences to ask for more.

More: 'Godzilla' is more a growling than roaring success

Watch the extended trailer for Godzilla: