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Godzilla X Kong The New Empire 2024 (4)

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire Review: A Monstrous Mess

Last year, the world was taken by storm by the release of Godzilla Minus One, and for good reason. Up to that point, audiences had been graced with thirty-six movies in the Godzilla franchise and while they’re all somewhat entertaining, Minus One set a new standard for how these movies should be made, and to make things even more impressive, it was made on a budget of just $10-12 million. While that’s still obviously a lot of money, it’s absolutely nothing compared to what budgets are being tossed into Hollywood productions.

For example, the last film in the MonsterVerse franchise, Godzilla vs. Kong, had a budget of $155-200 million. It’s not an awful movie by any means, but it’s also nothing special whatsoever. It’s a big popcorn action spectacle but it offers nothing in terms of real substance like Minus One does.

Perhaps that film just set the standards too high, or maybe it’s just that Adam Wingard‘s Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire isn’t all that good. If you’re literally looking for nothing else other than to see these two colossal beasts battle big monsters for two hours, then you’ll probably have some fun with this one. But personally, I found myself being quite bored relatively often and couldn’t help but wish I was watching Minus One instead. Heck, even Kong: Skull Island is better than this movie.

The plot weaves together elements from previous MonsterVerse movies. We follow Kong as he discovers a tribe of his kind in the hidden depths of the Hollow Earth and encounter Godzilla as he polices the balance between humans and titans on the surface. The introduction of a tyrannical ape leader, Skar King, and the climatic-manipulating titan, Shimo, serves as the catalyst for an unprecedented alliance between Godzilla and Kong. This should set the stage for a monumental clash; however, the film becomes bogged down in its own complexities.

One of the major issues with The New Empire is its pacing. The first act delves into the intricacies of Hollow Earth with a meticulousness that, while visually impressive, does little to advance the plot. When the story does pick up speed, it often feels rushed, leaving little room for character development or emotional investment. This is particularly disappointing given the strong performances from the returning cast. Rebecca Hall‘s portrayal of Dr. Ilene Andrews, Kaylee Hottle‘s nuanced performance as Jia, and Brian Tyree Henry‘s comic relief as Bernie Hayes stand out, but the script does not provide them with enough material to truly shine.

The new characters, too, are underdeveloped. Dan Stevens‘ character, Trapper, and Alex Ferns‘ Mikael, are given significant screen time. However, their backstories and motivations remain frustratingly opaque. This lack of depth extends to the titular titans. Kong’s connection with Jia, a highlight of the previous film, is underutilized, and Godzilla’s character arc feels repetitive. Their eventual alliance, while epic in scale, lacks the emotional punch that fans of the franchise have come to expect.

Visually, the film is a triumph. Wingard’s direction shines in the battle sequences, particularly the climatic showdown in Rio de Janeiro. The CGI rendering of Godzilla, Kong, and the new titans are meticulously detailed. The film brings these iconic characters to life with stunning realism. The set pieces in both the Hollow Earth and the surface world are equally impressive.

Overall:

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is a film of contrasts. It boasts spectacular visual effects but is let down by a convoluted plot. Fans of the MonsterVerse will find elements to enjoy, and the battles between titans are undeniably thrilling. However, as a standalone film, it struggles to find coherence in its grand narrative vision. It’s a disappointing addition to the storied franchises it represents.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire Review: A Monstrous Mess
  • Acting - 6/10
    6/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 7/10
    7/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 4/10
    4/10
  • Setting/Theme - 4/10
    4/10
  • Watchability - 5.5/10
    5.5/10
  • Rewatchability - 3/10
    3/10
Overall
4.9/10
4.9/10
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