Review – Godzilla X Kong : The New Empire

The MonsterVerse has been described as “fun” many times throughout its history, and the new entry Godzilla X Kong : The New Empire is no exception. While the Monsterverse has been littered with mostly positive entries, there has been the occasional misstep (King of Monsters anyone?) The New Empire propels the series forward by putting the human characters last and letting Kong and the Hollow Verse be front and centre. While Godzilla is still a part of the story, this really is about Kong and his connection to Hollow Earth and finding more of his kind. It’s told with director Adam Wingard’s trademark use of neon colouring and synth sounds that have really carved out his idea of what the Monsterverse is. 

Set a few years after the events of the previous movie, Kong is living in Hollow Earth, settled into his new home, he is starting to feel the sting of being completely alone. He makes his way back to Earth through new access points that have opened up between the two places. His infected tooth is replaced by vet Trapper (Dan Stevens) the newest of the human cast. When Godzilla senses Kong in his territory and a greater threat rising from the uncharted territory of Hollow Earth, the two titans must once again team up to take down a threat that threatens to destroy both worlds. 

Stevens is the perfect addition to the cast, his romantic past with Ilene (Rebecca Hall) creates an interesting dynamic and their chemistry is really evident here. Unfortunately, Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) is back and is just as annoying, if not more than the previous film. He offers nothing of substance apart from being the screamy, whiny annoying one that can apparently interpret Jia (Kaylee Hottle) dreams that are calling her down into Hollow Earth. The focus this time around is on the monsters, in particular Kong who takes the front and centre of the story as his exploration through Hollow Earth to find more of his kind is an engaging journey to watch. The majority of this is done with no dialogue and strikes a great balance in an otherwise very loud blockbuster story. 

Wingard puts his usual neon flair into the striking visuals of the monsters and the world they inhabit. Godzilla going Barbie pink is a nice mix up and adds to the colour palette that this series is well known for. The designs of the new creatures are close to Avatar, but definitely not from Pandora. There are a few surprises that I don’t wish to spoil, but the Kongs as seen in the trailer each have a unique design and their personalities all just fit well into the DK Country characters with Cranky Kong (Scar King), Diddy Kong (the orange baby one) and of course the main man Kong, who really leads front and centre here. 

Sidelining the human characters while still making them an important part of the story was a smart move. Honing in on Jia and Ilene and how they fit into this new world is fascinating to watch. Hottle steals every scene with her wide, curious eyes, and her relationship with Kong is still as sweet as it was in the last film. The mo-cap provided by Allan Henry for Kong and the other creatures helps the transition to a digital character have the soul and heart that this character requires in this film to embark on his journey. 

When the action sequences finally kick in, the film goes hard. There is an incredible sequence with no dialogue for 15 minutes with Titans v Titans, monsters vs monsters, smashing and bashing each other attempting to come out on top. This movie does a lot of country hopping making it feel like a truly international affair with portals from Hollow Earth popping out all over the planet. The sheer amount of anticipation when a Titan heads for a portal to see where they pop up was a key part of the excitement of this film. 

If you are heading into this film looking for cohesion or a complex arc, you will definitely not find it here. There is a sense of whimsy and fun in this series that is really dialled up to eleven in this story. The neon colour palette and links to Godzilla’s nuclear history is on clear display here and while he is sidelined for Kong to take the main story this time around, there is enough interaction to still deliver on big action. 

The recent Godzilla Minus One may make this film pale in comparison, however it is important to note that this franchise is completely separate and it’s important to keep the history of the Monsterverse in mind when consuming this film. It is a big, dumb, loud action flick that delivers on its promise of larger-than-life action sets that are best viewed on an IMAX screen (or the biggest one you can find!) 

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The MonsterVerse has been described as “fun” many times throughout its history, and the new entry Godzilla X Kong : The New Empire is no exception. While the Monsterverse has been littered with mostly positive entries, there has been the occasional misstep (King of...Review - Godzilla X Kong : The New Empire