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MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire’ is way over the top and we like it that way

The fight scenes are cinematic. They are loud and big and brutal. It’s bloody and gruesome and it’s what you come to the cinema to see.

The first twenty minutes of ‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire‘ was a struggle for me. The movie – set later in the future after the events of ‘Godzilla versus Kong’ and explores the lore that was established by the Apple TV series ‘Monarch: Legacy of Monsters’ – departs from the previously established characteristics of both monsters and works to humanize King Kong even further. He is now living in the Hallow Earth but will go back to our world as he is suffering from something as mundane as an infected tooth. This large-scale sequence of King Kong having his tooth removed by the humans is big, outrageous, and so silly that it was jarring for me at the start. This was all necessary set up to let us know the full shift in tone of this film.

Once I was able to finally align myself with the movie did I start to enjoy how unserious it was about everything. This iteration of the world manages to create futuristic technology despite having huge monsters destroy cities in mere minutes. Monster attacks are commonplace, and Godzilla always comes to fight them. But the world is in shambles, but it also isn’t? Okay. All the power and majesty that both King Kong and Godzilla possessed in previous films have all gone as the humanization of them has just turned them into loveable spectacles of power. When they fight, it gets crazy enough that there are some wrestling moves that get sneaked in and they come from the weirdest characters to boot. When one monsters manages to do a suplex, it’s so left of center that the whole cinema I was watching in went insane (and so did I) and I just knew that I had to throw everything out the window. This movie, directed by Adam Wingard and written by Terry Rossio, Simon Barrett, and Jeremy Slater, were going for the spills and thrills. 

After all, after the first two movies and we were faced with Mechagodzilla, where else can you go? How serious can you get?

So all the human stuff – played by Rebecca Hall, Dan Stevens, Bryan Tyree Henry, and Kaylee Hottle – is just context to help us understand why the big fight scenes are coming. They attempt to create a mother-daughter story between Hall’s Dr. Ilene Andrews and Hottle’s Jia, the last survivor of the Iwi tribe of Skull Island, but it never really flies because it has no real connection between the upcoming battle between King Kong and the film’s main antagonist, Skar King.

To heighten the film’s over-the-top nature, the fight scenes between King Kong and Skar King almost look like clips of a Tekken match. It’s fast paced and brutal. It’s acrobatic. They use sophisticated weapons. And there’s one scene that manages to defy gravity (literally) and on the big screen, it’s a blast.

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In a way, all the human stuff is dispensable. It’s just needed for us to be able to follow through with the story, to have people explain things out loud what we are seeing – thankfully, King Kong, Godzilla, Skar King, and a younger ape don’t talk because that would be too much – so that we can properly contextualize all the big fight scenes that we’re waiting for and so that we can see how King Kong ends up with a mechanical arm (as seen on the trailer).

The fight scenes are cinematic. They are loud and big and brutal. It’s bloody and gruesome and it’s what you come to the cinema to see. It leans into the silliness of the exercise so that it can utilize all possibilities for large-scale monster fighting that we have come to expect in a movie like this.

After all, we’ve seen Godzilla fight monsters on different cities already in the first installments and we’ve even seen Godzilla and King Kong duke it out against each other and then Mechagodzilla in the last one. Where else can they go? They went silly and we are all the happier for it.

My Rating:



Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is now showing. Check screening times and buy tickets here.

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Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire
Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
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