This was not my first, second or even fifth Godzilla movie. So it didn't really shape my thoughts of the character, which is good, since in this movie Godzilla really has no character at all. He just plows through buildings and is the stand in for the atomic bomb. I don't know how I would have reacted to him if this had been my first movie. I would have liked it, I think, but the next movie would have certainly been a revelation.
I first read a filmbook of the movie in Atlas' Movie Monsters #3, which came out in early 1975. This was long before the days of any home video, so these filmbooks were great to have. It told me the entire movie, so I was well prepared when it finally aired on KWGN Channel 2 some Sunday morning. So nothing surprised me about that ending.
Watching it now I quite enjoy it, from the stark direction of both Honda and Morse and the effects which are still astounding to this day. I don't think any monster movie before this had ever shown such devastation to a city and a people before. These days it's just as compelling with everything that can go on in the world.
It's so well done that I've never cared much for any other solo Godzilla movie, because unless he has a reason to do what he does, it's really kind of boring. And of course, every other Godzilla movie need this one as a start, But it doesn't need them.