Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire movie review

Godzilla X Kong: the New Empire is a one-hour, 55-minute rollercoaster ride of non-stop action, full of titanic battles and eye-melting visuals we’ve come to love with 21st-Century Godzilla. It’s not subtle, nor should it be. It’s not perfect, either. It is tons of fun to watch in a theater, though, especially in iMax. There’s something for long-time Godzilla fans and newcomers alike.

Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire plot

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire wastes no time getting into the action. Following their last dust-up, 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong, the pair of titans have settled into an uneasy peace. As long as they stick to their respective realms, everything should be fine. Kong rules the Hollow Earth while Godzilla keeps the surface safe from other titans. Naturally, it doesn’t take long at all for things to go haywire.

Aboveground, a Monarch station begins receiving inexplicable electrical signals from Hollow Earth. These same signals are picked up Jia (Kaylee Hottle), the last surviving member of the Iwi tribe from Skull Island, causing her adoptive mother, Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) no end of worry. To make matters worse, Godzilla awakens on the surface from a snooze in the Colosseum, following a battle with Scylla in Sicily. Generally, Titans are only active when there’s another Titan on the loose. Something is clearly going on. Godzilla appears to be gearing up for something; especially when he defeats Tiamat in their Arctic lair to drain the world’s largest energy source. Monarch assembles a team to investigate, led by Dr. Andrews with help from Trapper (Dan Stevens), an adventure-seeking Titan veterinarian, and Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), a Hollow Earth conspiracy podcaster, who provides some much-appreciated comic relief.

Meanwhile, below, Kong has been exploring, looking for other members of his kind. He encounters a sinkhole near his cave home, leading to a previously unknown region of Hollow Earth. Much to his surprise, Kong finds fellow great apes in the area. It turns out to be a rather unpleasant surprise, however, when they immediately turn on Kong, including a young ape, Suko, who although he be little, he be fierce. This tribe of apes is ruled over by the Skar King, another great ape that’s bent on world domination, aided by an enslaved Titan, Shimo. The Skar King discovers the area inhabited by the Hollow Earth’s Iwi people features numerous different portals to the surface world and decides to attack, intent on exacting his vengeance. Fortunately, Kong, Godzilla, and a freshly-awakened Mothra arrive in the nick of time to take a final stand against the Skar King in an epic battle in Rio De Janeiro.

Is Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire Worth Watching?

Absolutely! Especially in the theater (catch it in iMax if you can.) While it’s probably not cinema by Martin Scorcese’s standards, it is a wildly entertaining thrill ride. Adam Wingard’s direction keeps the action racing across the screen, rushing from one set-piece to the next. And while some of the human interactions may seem slightly flat, forced, or unconvincing, you’ll also see Kong eat Titan sushi with a baby Kong before dashing across a suspension ridge made from some behemoth’s spine. Not to be uncritical, but if you like Kaiju movies, what more could you want?

It does have some heart to pair with the insane production values, too. The parallels between Jia and Kong both feeling displaced and not knowing where they belong in the world tugs on the heartstrings. While other reviewers found the character of Trapper to be irritating, I didn’t find that to be the case. I thought he brought some much-needed levity to the happenings as well as a certain hard-to-pinpoint energy from the pulp/Golden Age sci-fi in Kong and Godzilla’s DNA.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire might not be fine cinema, but it’s a damn fine movie. It’s entertaining as hell, with every second bursting with exotic, imaginative lifeforms and gorgeous, otherworldly visuals. It’s perfect for a date night, a night out with fans, or for families with slightly older kids.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire was screened at Regal LLoyd Center theater in Portland, Or.

J. Simpson is a prolific academic writer, journalist, and critic, specializing in dark, experimental, and avant-garde art. You can follow him on LetterboxdTwitterInstagramThreadsBlueSky, and GoodReads.

Related post

Leave a Reply