Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire Review

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Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

When the Monsterverse was established, I wasn’t the biggest fan. But I’m happy to say that I’ve really come around to it. After the earth-shattering battle between Kong and Godzilla, the two parted ways with a sense of respect. But when a distress signal comes from Hollow Earth, Kong realizes there is a great threat that awaits. Scar King, an evil ape intent on destroying the surface world is coming, so Kong must recruit his once great foe to take him down. Can the two put aside their differences and save earth? Or will the surface world fall?

Positives:

I knew exactly what to expect when I bought my ticket for this movie. I anticipated an over the top, action packed monster extravaganza with a so-so human story. “Godzilla x Kong” delivered just that. It *gasp* gives audiences everything they want. While I enjoy a movie that makes me think or provides unexpected surprises, sometimes two big ol’ monsters slugging it out is all I want. This is a phenomenal film to see in a packed theater on the biggest screen possible. I attended a screening with a large group of friends, packed to the brim with Godzilla and Kong fans alike. Lots of energy, kaiju t-shirts, and cheering for these monsters. It is one of the most straightforward, entertaining filmgoing experiences I’ve had in a while. For better or worse, this is exactly the film audiences expect it to be. For me, it’s definitely for the better.

Monster fights are the main draw here. Without hesitation, director Adam Wingard doubles down on the titan mayhem and provides a sweeping spectacle of action-packed battles. Fans have long been requesting that the monsters get more screen time, and they certainly get it here. Kong in particular gets lots of time roaming around Hollow earth, going on hunts, searching for his family, and meeting another species of apes along the way. These scenes are largely dialogue free, providing another kind of language between the apes. They communicate heavily through body language which was neat to see. Just being present in this world is enough for me, where going on this journey with Kong and being captivated by the spectacle is very satisfying. The special effects were top notch as usual. While “Godzilla vs. Kong” still reigns supreme with the CGI, the color patterns and classic kaiju style are more present here. “Godzilla x Kong” embraces the mythology and lore surrounding the titans, creating intrigue and the desire to see more. I’m game for that!

The story has a surprising amount of heart throughout Kong’s story. After he discovered Hollow Earth in the previous film, he longs to find his family in this one. The relationship he developed with Suko was a nice touch. It adds another layer to Kong’s character and gives him something to fight for moving forward. Plus, the added tension between him and Scar King is a good conflict so that Kong can free his people. I enjoyed that Godzilla always felt present throughout the story. While he gets far less screen time than Kong, his preparation for the threat looms throughout the story. He is often seen battling other creatures in order to absorb radiation, hoping to be prepared for the inevitable battle ahead. His pink power up is awesome looking. It gave him a fresh presence and emphasized how powerful he is. There are two notable fights in the film, one between Kong and Scar King and the final battle featuring all the monsters. Kong vs. Scar King felt small scale and personal, but the visceral nature of the fight was riveting. The concluding confrontation in Rio De Janeiro is absolutely bombastic. But the massive scale of the fights within the skyscrapers is pure spectacle. Fans will have an absolute blast with this one.

Negatives:

As expected in a Monsterverse movie, the human side is the weakest part. After the success of “Godzilla Minus One”, fans may expect the human story to be stronger now. Hopefully the filmmakers of the Monsterverse take note of that moving forward because the humans here are completely overshadowed by the titans. I’m not even saying they need to be on the level of “Minus One”.  It’s a completely different story with a different approach. But I still believe they can step up their game a bit. I really hope fans can separate the two types of movies though. One is telling a human centric war story that happens to include Godzilla, while the other features some of the most impressive monster action available. Both can exist and be enjoyed. It’s like choosing an ice cream flavor. Some days chocolate sounds better, but others vanilla hits the spot. Having the option for both is important. The more monster movies the better!

Conclusion:

“Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” is everything I wanted it to be. The monster action is top notch, featuring a different battle every few minutes. The film is fast paced, energetic, and an absolute blast. The monsters get their story developed further which is a nice surprise. Although the human characters are still pretty thin, the world building and exploration into titan mythology is worth it. I had a childlike grin on my face the entire time. Being entertained in a packed theater full of monster fans was the mission. Sometimes that is all I want as a filmgoer. Movies like this are here to entertain us. While it may not be a brain teaser, the ridiculous premise and battle sequences are well worth the price of admission. See it on the biggest, loudest screen possible!