Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire Review

‘Godzilla x Kong’ Leans into Family-Friendlier Tones, Does it Work?

Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures have added another entry into the Monsterverse. In this new film, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, Godzilla and Kong are joined by human counterparts as well as some fellow kaiju. Much like the previous film, the tone is more family-oriented than the initial entries of the franchise. Does this work for it or against it? There are some minor spoilers in this review so consider yourself warned!

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, “follows up the explosive showdown of Godzilla vs. Kong with an all-new adventure that pits the almighty Kong and the fearsome Godzilla against a colossal undiscovered threat hidden within our world, challenging their very existence—and our own. [It] delves further into the histories of these Titans and their origins, as well as the mysteries of Skull Island and beyond, while uncovering the mythic battle that helped forge these extraordinary beings and tied them to humankind forever.”

I’ll start with what didn’t really work for me so I can end on a good note. The Monsterverse has leaned more and more towards a family friendly tone. While this makes the films more accessible to a wider audience age range (something I typically appreciate), it is making these films more homogenized. Unlike Godzilla (2014) or Godzilla: King of Monsters (2019), the last few films in this franchise feel like they are trying to be more like Guardians of the Galaxy. You know what I mean, it all circles around the ragtag group of misfits and classic rock needle drops. It feels more and more like these movies are trying to fit the comic book movie mold versus a kaiju film mold.

There was so much time spent on the moments around the human characters that the kaiju battles leading up to the final act felt very rushed, especially the battle between Godzilla and Tiamat. This could be ok if you built the characters up and gave them more development but sadly, both sides seem to suffer this fate. This is especially apparent when you look at a film like Godzilla Minus One where the characters are so well written and developed that you don’t mind a little less Godzilla because you are so invested in their story.

All of that said, I actually did enjoy the film. The third act definitely saves the movie. When Godzilla and Kong finally team up, with some help from Mothra (All Hail Queen Mothra) it becomes what feels like a buddy cop film. The way they nod at each other and fight together is a sight to behold and frankly a lot of fun. It’s very reminiscent of over the top 80s action movies. There is a moment where Dan Steven’s character Trapper leads some of the creatures of Hollow Earth to the fight and you could feel the audience energy and see people fist pumping. The same happened during the final fight.

Speaking of the cast, it is always a joy to see Rebecca Hall on screen. Both she and Dan Stevens are incredible in pretty much everything they are in. Bryan Tyree Henry also returns as Hayes. While we obviously spent time getting to know them in Godzilla vs. Kong, it would have been nice to get a bit more development and connection to them. The audience does get some, I just wish we got about 15 more minutes of it.

Another thing this film has going for it is its visuals. The cinematographer, Ben Seresin, worked with director Adam Wingard on Godzilla vs. Kong and the seamlessness of the two films lends a consistency of visual tone that is missing when you look at the rest of the Monsterverse films. I’d definitely recommend seeing this on the biggest screen possible because it is really awe inspiring.

Overall, the film isn’t bad by any means and I think a lot of folks will have a good time with it. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire will be in theaters this Friday, March 20th. Do you plan to check it out? Let us know in the comments below!

My Rating: 3.5/5

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