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Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

April 19, 2024
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At least this one is better than Godzilla vs. Kong, and fortunately, that’s saying a lot, considering how disappointing that film was.

Set three years after 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire sees a new threat rise to challenge these titanic titular monsters after a hidden signal coming from the depths of Hollow Earth is picked up by the Monarch corporation, leading the last survivor of Skull Island’s Iwi tribe, Jia (Kaylee Hottle), her keeper, Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), Titan veterinarian Trapper (Dan Stevens), and returning conspiracy theorist Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) to investigate. Switching back and forth between Kong’s struggles against a newly revealed enemy, Skar King, the oppressive leader of a long-lost tribe of Kong-like apes, and Godzilla’s attempts to keep the balance against the world’s Titans as he gathers his strength for an oncoming battle, it isn’t long before things take a turn for the worst, leaving one giant lizard, an oversized ape, and a bunch of puny humans left standing to save the day, the world, and the future of everyone on Earth.

Feeling more like a sequel to the solid Kong: Skull Island as opposed to a joint flick featuring both monsters in equal measure, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire leans into the entire reason why we go to see movies like this in the first place: giant kaiju socking one another in the face with absolutely no regard to what happens around them is a blast to see on the big screen. Bolstered by a bunch of scenes that are the definition of popcorn entertainment and single-handedly make this movie worth the price of admission, I can’t stress enough how fun and exciting the action sequences are in this one, to say nothing about how hype it is when Godzilla and Kong eventually team up to throw down. Suffice it to say, I came for these fights and wasn’t disappointed.

But of course, this movie can’t coast along on its battles alone. Outside of the usual story filler of humans doing incredibly dumb and inconsequential things, there’s really no plot to speak of besides the threat of some vague evil version of Kong wanting to muck things up for everyone. Yet what irked me the most with this one is that while Godzilla does have a few great moments, he felt a little short-changed in the sense that he doesn’t seem to have too much of a purpose other than to travel around the world sucking dry radioactive areas and beating up fellow Titans all in the name of achieving his final form. Conversely, this gives Kong more time to shine, arguably making him the best and most layered character in the film, a kind of care and attention I wish Godzilla was offered, as well.

So while I can’t say that this one is a good movie, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire satisfies enough where the giant kaiju action is concerned to a point that its pointless human characters and overall “meh” story can be overlooked far more easily than I expected. That being said, I’m hoping the inevitable next entry in this series brings together all the best elements of each movie that came before it to bring fans something of actual substance while still finding ways to have 500-foot-tall monsters chuck buildings at one another.

At least this one is better than Godzilla vs. Kong, and fortunately, that’s saying a lot, considering how disappointing that film was. Set three years after 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire sees a new threat rise to challenge these titanic titular monsters after a hidden signal coming from the depths of Hollow Earth is picked up by the Monarch corporation, leading the last survivor of Skull Island’s Iwi tribe, Jia (Kaylee Hottle), her keeper, Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), Titan veterinarian Trapper (Dan Stevens), and returning conspiracy theorist Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) to investigate. Switching back and forth between Kong’s struggles against a newly revealed enemy, Skar King, the oppressive leader of a long-lost tribe of Kong-like apes, and Godzilla’s attempts to keep the balance against the world’s Titans as he gathers his strength for an oncoming battle, it isn’t long before things take a turn for the worst, leaving one giant lizard, an oversized ape, and a bunch of puny humans left standing to save the day, the world, and the future of everyone on Earth. Feeling more like a sequel to the solid Kong: Skull Island as opposed to a joint flick featuring both monsters in equal measure, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire leans into the entire reason why we go to see movies like this in the first place: giant kaiju socking one another in the face with absolutely no regard to what happens around them is a blast to see on the big screen. Bolstered by a bunch of scenes that are the definition of popcorn entertainment and single-handedly make this movie worth the price of admission, I can’t stress enough how fun and exciting the action sequences are in this one, to say nothing about how hype it is when Godzilla and Kong eventually team up to throw down. Suffice it to say, I came for these fights and wasn’t disappointed. But of course, this movie can’t coast along on its battles alone. Outside of the usual story filler of humans doing incredibly dumb and inconsequential things, there’s really no plot to speak of besides the threat of some vague evil version of Kong wanting to muck things up for everyone. Yet what irked me the most with this one is that while Godzilla does have a few great moments, he felt a little short-changed in the sense that he doesn’t seem to have too much of a purpose other than to travel around the world sucking dry radioactive areas and beating up fellow Titans all in the name of achieving his final form. Conversely, this gives Kong more time to shine, arguably making him the best and most layered character in the film, a kind of care and attention I wish Godzilla was offered, as well. So while I can’t say that this one is a good movie, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire satisfies enough where the giant kaiju action is concerned to a point that…

6.9

Kaiju Crazy

The Verdict

6.9

7

Brian is first and foremost a nerd in every way shape and form. He likes to compare himself to a black hole, consuming any and every form of entertainment unlucky enough to get caught in his gravitational pull. It's not uncommon on any given day for him to read a couple comics, settle down with a good book, watch a few movies (inside and out of the theater), catch up on his ever growing but never depleting Hulu queue, challenge himself with a few good video games, listen to any music he can get his hands on and, of course, write his heart out. He spends every waking moment dreaming up interesting and intriguing concepts and ideas that will hopefully one day inspire and entertain anyone looking for an escape from their daily lives. Graduating from Full Sail University in good old humid Florida, Brian currently lives and works in New York City and is waiting for the day when all he has to do is wake up and create something unique and new for people to enjoy. He is always in the process of writing scripts and stories and is constantly on the lookout for ways to enhance and build his creative drive. After all, life is just one big story, all that really matters is how you strive to make it the best story possible. Disclaimer: Brian does not actually have powdered green skin in case anyone was wondering. A Skrull I am not. Blame the guys at the Color Run for this one.

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