Godzilla's signature weapon is his distinctive atomic breath. Godzilla's dorsal plates glow ominously, and then he lets loose with a concentrated blast of radiation from his mouth. This power is commonly mistaken for breathing literal fire.
Godzilla has been shown apparently being able to adjust the intensity of his ray, varying from a blast of superheated vapor, such as in the 1950s and 1960s, to a beam with explosive and kinetic properties, in the 1970s and onward. The ray is usually portrayed as being neon blue, though in Godzilla 2000: Millennium and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, it is a reddish orange to signify an increased level of power.
In Godzilla 2000 and Godzilla vs. Megaguirus, Godzilla's atomic breath was shown as having incendiary properties and was strong enough to destroy a miniature black hole, while in Godzilla: Final Wars, it possessed incredible range, amazing power and pin-point accuracy, able to hit a target in outer space and kill most kaiju with a single shot. Also in Godzilla: Final Wars, Godzilla also demonstrated his ability to actually change the intensity of his atomic breath when fighting Keizer Ghidorah. With a quick turn, Godzilla's breath went from the iconic blue beam to the intensity of reddish orange which literally caused the monster Keizer Ghidorah to explode in the upper atmosphere.
A variation of the standard atomic ray in the Heisei series was the red "spiral ray" which he acquired as a result of absorbing the Rodan's life energy. This ray was so powerful that only a few blasts of it were sufficient to completely destroy MechaGodzilla and SpaceGodzilla, though Destoroyah was able to withstand several hits. In Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, a variant of his spiral ray was seen when King Ghidorah used his golden gravity beams on Godzilla. Godzilla was somehow able to draw strength from the gravity beams and used the absorbed energy to fire a blast of blue energy wrapped in a golden spiral that completely destroyed King Ghidorah. The spiral ray returned in Godzilla: Final Wars, where it was strong enough to push Keizer Ghidorah to the edge of space, destroying him in an explosion visible from the surface of the Earth.
Godzilla 2014 Atomic Breath
Godzilla fires his Atomic Breath in Godzilla
In Legendary Pictures' Godzilla, Godzilla's atomic breath was more of a focused, fiery shaped energy beam that Godzilla spews out. Godzilla only used it against the M.U.T.O.s after he had taken a severe beating and was already growing weaker, showing that Godzilla only uses it as a last resort against opponents he can't physically overpower on his own. Though it doesn't appear to have the same destructive properties as the versions prior, the blasts were strong enough to severely weaken, and eventually kill, the female M.U.T.O. While it may not have the destructive force of its predecessors, this version of Godzilla's atomic breath is still incredibly deadly in its own right. It is, however, entirely possible that Godzilla never used his atomic breath at its full power, seeing as how Godzilla was already extremely weak when he began using it, so whether or not it's capable of more is unknown at this point. The neon-blue glow on Godzilla's dorsal plates begins at the tail and goes all the way to the top of his neck in this film.
In the video game Godzilla: Save the Earth, Godzilla can also use a variation of his Atomic Breath called the Final Beam, a beam of energy that resembles his regular Atomic Breath except for the fact it is far more powerful and is purple in color. In Save the Earth he can also launch huge fireballs from his mouth as well.
quote:Pretty sure this is Godzilla lore dating wayyyyy back.
atomic breath? What is the origin of this?
How were they supposed to explain it ? Everyone had just seen it for the first time.
I'm pretty sure they tried to explain other stuff, not trying to explain why Godzilla fights melee the entire movie - then all of a sudden breathes atomic breathe - they might have wanted to touch on it perhaps.