Godzilla x Kong : The New Empire / The Film Serves the Purpose of What They Set Out to Do

Godzilla x Kong : The New Empire / The Film Serves the Purpose of What They Set Out to Do

© 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Who would have thought a chest-pounding beast and a radiation-spewing monster would team up together for another round within their monster universe? The latest entry feels like every other recent American production of Kaiju epics from Legendary Pictures. They’ve taken a different path from the Japanese productions, particularly the Oscar-winning “Godzilla Minus One.”

Fortunately or unfortunately, “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” follows directly as a sequel to 2021’s “Godzilla vs. Kong,” a simple movie inspired by the original 1962 Toho Studios’ produced “King Kong vs. Godzilla.” In that one, the giant lizard is pitted against the big ape as its foe.

The film offers an unusual twist to the plot at the heart of Legendary’s Monsterverse series. With the last entry in the Monsterverse franchise, “Godzilla vs. Kong” follows up on the explosive showdown between the two with an all-new cinematic adventure, where the mighty Kong and the fearsome Godzilla join forces to battle a colossal, undiscovered threat hidden within the world. In this latest entry, director Adam Wingard kicks things off with his two titans separated between Hollow Earth and Mother Earth. By cross-cutting between the action sequences, Godzilla roams above ground keeping the city-destroying rampages to a minimum while Kong romps around in Hollow Earth.

Godzilla X kong The New Empire© 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

In Hollow Earth, there’s a subterranean jungle which contains exotic lost civilizations and a cavernous lair propped up by giant crystals. Kong develops a relationship with a big-eyed scamp of an ape who he meets while exploring there. The younger ape is essentially like an abused child who is treacherous, selfish, and coward due to his circumstances and grew up in a cult. kong offers a good parenting model, in a way, a single creature who leads a very  solitary life, has been an orphan himself.

The returning human characters include an anthropologist and Monarch Corp’s Irene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) who oversees Kong in his home, the Hollow Earth, and her adopted daughter, the last remaining human from Skull Island, Iwi native Jia (Kaylee Hottle), communicates with the giant ape using sign language. They try to figure out the connection between mysterious energy pulses detected through the Monarch Project’s monster-measuring device and the frenzied drawings that Jia has been making at her school desks and scratch paper.

They team up with podcaster Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) and Trapper (Dan Stevens), Ilene’s poetry-spouting ex-boyfriend who is also a veterinarian who can extract an infected tooth from the titan and is also a pilot who flies into the Earth’s center when Kong is hurt. Meanwhile, confusing distress signals seem to emanate from the underworld.

The relationship Between mother Irene and her daughter Jia’s semi-spiritual connection to Skull Island’s mysteries feels half-baked since the story hardly causes them to evoke any emotion. Even though the human ensemble provides exposition and a cringe-worthy comic relief, the film just doesn’t provide much in terms of solid emotion or care for the human characters. Godzilla is treated here mainly as a mayhem-producing force which contrasts to what’s going on at Hollow Earth until the final showdown — unpleasant to watch for a guy who comes from the Land of Rising Sun.

Godzilla x kong : The New Empire © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

But fortunately, the film gets into great spectacle, with the showdowns rousing and often brilliantly choreographed, particularly with the finale, a multiple-monster main event full of creatures fighting around on the margins. Sometimes, the film is tendency to rush through the sequences; relationships that might’ve been extraordinary had they been presented with slow paced approach with care. At least, the monster design is consistently creative.

When you look back on the genesis of the original King Kong in 1933, people went to see the spectacle rather than think about a complicated plot. That’s what American productions has been aiming for “Spectacle” films, as compared to Japan’s metaphorical tale which starred a titan formed by a nuclear bomb set in the aftermath of WWII. This latest film is not meant to be a comparison to “Godzilla Minus One” or any other “Godzilla” films. Once Legendary and Toho made a licensing agreement, the franchise always served as a celebration of Monsterverse. And when you look at the percentage of critics vs audiences on RottenTomatoes. The film serves the purpose of what they set out to do…making a “Spectacle” films for the audiences.

But at the end, what’s important for the Monsterverse in the future is learning from what the 15 million dollar production of “Godzilla Minus One” did as opposed to ILM-led production of Hollywood films. But now that its effects creator/Director Takashi Yamazaki has signed with CAA, he might change the landscape of tentpole films in the U.S if he teams up with ILM.

Grade : B

If you liked this article, Please share the comment below. 

My review of “Godzilla Minus One

Godzilla x Kong : the New Empire© 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Check out more of Nobuhiro’s articles. 

Here’s the trailer of the film.


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