Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire Review | This One Has Middling Aspirations on a Bigger Canvas

The latest Monsterverse film, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, is actually one film that feels a lot lighter in terms of the way it focuses on giving popcorn entertainment. The writing of the film has a lot of cliched tropes. But unlike the predecessors, which were way too dark and occasionally exhausting, this one wasn’t pushing too much on that path. With a deliberate effort to create some funnier communication between the monsters, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is partly a guilty pleasure film.

So Kong has moved to the Hollow Earth. He has marked it as his territory and the outer layer now belongs to Godzilla, who is taking a nap at the Colosseum. But the folks at Monarch find out that something fishy is happening in Hollow Earth as their outpost there received some distress signals, and Dr. Ilene Andrews’ adopted daughter Jia also had similar visions in her dream. The team’s efforts to find out the reason behind it and how they solve that problem is what we see in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire.

As I walked out of the theater, the thing I really missed the most was the anxiety I felt when I saw Roland Emerich’s Godzilla on a TV screen in my childhood. The technological advancements were so minimal back then that they actually had to use some really smart craft in filmmaking to create a sense of fear. The smoke coming from the manhole cover and the roads cracking up, etc., are still vivid in my memories. The kind of practical elements they took into consideration were so good that you literally feared that scene where you would eventually see the creature in its full stature. The advancement of CGI has made things a lot easier for the makers, and sadly, there is no effort nowadays to impress you with the craft.

Adam Wingard is definitely trying for that commercial blockbuster material, and the script by Terry Rossio, Simon Barrett, and Jeremy Slater is trying to club a lot of tropes into one to stage it like a big showdown. The Kong track, in my opinion, almost felt like a KGF story where a savior arrives at this place to save the people of his tribe. Godzilla, on the other hand, is just on a world tour in order to find nuclear energy, and on the way, it casually demolishes every place in the world that has some heritage value. The climax portion of the film has these ultra slow-motion coordinated fight sequences, which can create ripples of screams in the audience. But because of the lack of surprise and also the way the movie is trying to project these monsters as heroes in an unintentionally comical way, I felt that the franchise was slowly leaving the intricacies and was becoming easier and flat. The visual effects are really good in those portions that show this new world inside the Hollow Earth, but there are moments in some of the set pieces in the real world where the action felt lifeless.

It is one of those movies where the role of the human actors was considerably lesser. In fact, there are many areas in the film, where one can see the whole drama happening only among the monsters. I really didn’t want the movie to move to a real location, as the collateral damage scale was just too much. I mean, I felt bad for the people of Rio De Janeiro. Rebecca Hall reprised her role as Dr. Ilene. Brian Tyree Henry and Dan Stevens were basically included as the comic reliefs for the film along with Kaylee Hottle as the Iwi girl Jia.

The audience was actually laughing seeing the reactions of the monsters in most of the action sequences that had them fighting each other. I really felt that some of the regional language troll video makers could do a regional fun dub for those sequences. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is easy and uncomplicated for the eyes when compared to the predecessors, which were borderline exhausting. But it is a compromised franchise film, that has a bigger canvas but no creative aspirations.

Final Thoughts

It is a compromised franchise film, that has a bigger canvas but no creative aspirations.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.