The title of this movie is Rodan, yet there are two Rodans* (Rodi?). The science talking guy in the movie calls Rodan’s species “Rodan.” The characters in the movie call each Rodan “Rodan.” That is like seeing your dog and saying, “Look, there’s blood hound.” Largely, the movie is about the Rodan coping with this identity crisis, the results of which are tragic.
Rodan first comes into the world of 1956 via an egg that has warm water washed over it from a mining operation going down near his lair. We are going to go ahead and assume that the first Rodan is male** because males always come first (its in the Bible). A few days later Rodan presumably rips ass and the egg hatches. Being in an egg since prehistoric times has given Rodan quite the appetite as he goes to town on some giant caterpillar things called Meganulons. A few days later (?) there is a mysterious UFO flying at super sonic speeds above the skies of Japan. I will kill the suspense right here and let you know that it is Rodan. After playing a game of “chase the Rodan” with a fighter jet, Rodan destroys the plane and then eats a honeymooning couple taking pictures near Mt. Aso (which kinda sounds like Steven Seagal saying, “Asshole.”).
Rodan’s real coming out party happens when he arises from his lair in Mt. Aso in front of a group of military personnel, scientist, and the main character of the movie. Shortly afterward, Rodan’s better half, Rodan, makes her first appearance. Together they fly to the city of Fukuoka and destroy the it, along with its large collection of models. One of the Rodans (we will assume the female) pulls a curious move and goes to ground in the city. You see, Rodan’s “weapon” is its super sonic speed, with its resulting jet wash (I know this from Top Gun) laying to waste anything it flies by. So while the Rodans were having great success flying by Fukuoka and wreaking havoc, the female wants to go to ground and get shot a bunch. After many models collapse, the Rodans fly back to their lair.
The demise of the Rodans happens when the volcano they live in has an eruption triggered by the military blowing the hell out of the area with missiles. Seemingly imperious to human weapons, the Rodans oddly spend way too much time in their lair. By the time they fly out, the volcano is completely erupting. One Rodan flies out unharmed (probably the male), while the other Rodan is clipped by the exploding lava, falling down into more lava and dies. Apparently grief-stricken (?), the male Rodan flies in the lava and dies along with his counterpart.
How does Rodan stack up as a kaiju? Not very well. First off, its weapon is not really a weapon. Second, Rodan had little personality. Much of this blame comes from the little character development that was given to them in the movie. Tragically, the most personality Rodan has is when the female one lands in the city and flaps her wings. It is the only time there is any real showmanship from either of them, as Rodan shows some moxie (and in the face of danger). Third, between said landing, their the stubbornness to exit their lair, AND the fact that they live in a fucking volcano, the Rodans do not bring much intelligence or even survival instincts to the table. Finally, the Rodans make an annoying high-pitched jet noise every time they fly by.
The bit of showmanship is the only thing that saves Rodan(s) from three Johnny Cashes.
*Ergo, the singular and plural tense of Rodan will make little sense throughout this post.
**From everything I have come across on the information super highway, one Rodan is male and the other is female. There was no point in the movie where they proved or even concluded this, but the internet is never wrong.