• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying GameParadise! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

Official Review Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire Review

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire serves up a berserk dreamscape with plenty of payoff to please the MonsterVerse faithful. Shame about the human stuff, though.
 
 

Official Review

GxK-website-wide.jpg

You've gotta respect when a movie knows its audience. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is effectively what would happen if you took a thread from r/Godzilla and put it up on screen: a visually stunning, sensory extravaganza that's all crescendo and no build-up. The stakes are high – though not quite firmly established – and the entire film presents action payoff after action payoff. It's utterly breathless – unless that breath is bellowing out a massive stream of ice or fire. Especially in IMAX, it's a 1 hour and 55-minute amusement park ride; I was oohing and ahhing through the entire thing, wondering what was lurking around the next corner – or, as this outlandish universe would have it, behind the electrified plasma wall. I just couldn't take it too personally when it all didn't quite add up.




This story is pretty clearly made with MonsterVerse novices in mind – which would be great if that were the case for anyone who's going to see the fifth film in the series, but that person is difficult to envision. (Maybe Godzilla Minus One served as their introduction to kaiju movies, and now they want to check out The Big G's noisier, flashier American output.) We know that not one, but both of these titular alpha titans come with decades of built-in lore, and those who will be first in line are superfans who have memorized every. single. detail. To have the human characters once again experience shock and confusion from yet another "electrical anomaly" – in a universe where seismic waves and electric currents have factored into Godzilla's appearances since time immemorial – infantilizes the most passionate audience members and presents a missed opportunity for some more imaginative writing. Sure, going back to these basics keeps The New Empire aligned with the classic mythology, but at this point, our characters should be recognizing these signals from the get-go. There's a chance to build here – we don't have to play stupid and lose respect for the characters out of the gate.

The New Empire sets up its "Godzilla above, Kong below" dynamic early, so we know that after 2021's Godzilla vs. Kong the two frenemies have come to an understanding of mutually assured destruction should they stray from their respective lanes. But, as a shock to no one, that fragile peace doesn't last for long. Kong serves as the main monster throughout The New Empire, which immediately casts him in a more human, sensitive light that's easy to empathize with. Showing clear signs of aging through graying fur, the leviathan is weaker and more vulnerable than ever before – at one point, he's taken out by a toothache.

rev-1-gxk-fp-001rv3-high-res-jpeg-1711593701527.jpeg

His sense of mortality is what sells a desire for familial connection, and that drives most of the plot for both monkey and man. It's also what sees Rebecca Hall's Dr. Ilene Andrews disappointingly go from the strong, intelligent protagonist of Godzilla vs. Kong to a mother-like figure softened by love for adopted daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle) and… an old college buddy? It doesn't help that, though she is arguably the main human character, Ilene's opportunities to shine suffer under the heavy weight of the Titans. Kong's emotions, and those of the other apes he seeks out, come across stronger than hers do.

On top of all of that, Andrews takes a back seat to new addition Trapper – a monster veterinarian played by Dan Stevens – only serving the purpose of pushing certain plot points forward by reading them aloud from ancient ruins. There are a few feigned moments of emotion that fall flat – the question is, why even bother presenting the idea of a mother/daughter connection in a monster movie?

There's no time for emotions! A new, more intellectually-advanced villain spurs the team of world savers to – what else? – come together to save the world. While small details are brushed under the rug, Wingard's imagination for non-stop action and awe-inspiring visuals is at an all-time high. There are textures in Godzilla x Kong rarely seen on the big screen, with brightly oozing guts, frozen meat blasts, and glowing plasma veils.

rev-1-org-fp-031-high-res-jpeg-1711593701528.jpeg

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is sensory overload.

While that's all certainly impressive, and the worldbuilding is literally out of this world, there are far too many elements at play in The New Empire. It's sensory overload. Wingard, an avowed fan of both title characters, has perhaps gone overboard, quickly plunking us down in a world that blends ancient wisdom, advanced technology, and primeval lands. It all looks great, but because we're rushing through many of these environments it's hard for any of them to make a lasting impression. Before we can even ask ourselves, "How does Brian Tyree Henry's Bernie figure everything out so fast?" we're on to the next location. The only depth we're getting is that of Hollow Earth – though The New Empire goes deeper on the Titans' subterranean home turf than either Godzilla vs. Kong or the Apple TV+ Monarch series.

The New Empire borrows heavily, creating a mash-up of fan-favorite bits and pieces from past sci-fi hits. There's a sprinkle of Jurassic Park in every acre of Hollow Earth, a near doppelganger for the orcs from Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones' Night King in Titan form, and a straight-up Stargate. And did someone order a new volume of Guardians of the Galaxy? I'm not just talking about the classic rock hits on the soundtrack: Trapper makes for an unlikeable leader in the snarky Chris Pratt mold. Think Star Lord with an Australian accent and more irritating.

rev-1-org-fp-034-high-res-jpeg-1711593701528.jpeg

The new villain, on the other hand, is a fierce adversary beyond compare. The Skar King is ruthless, terrifying, and grotesque, and he's enslaved Kong's species into doing… what, exactly, is unclear, but it's rendered Hollow Earth into a Mordor-esque hellscape, and that alone establishes him as a threat. In addition to his sweeping reach and a gnarly whip made out of bones, Skar King's most fearsome weapon is the control he wields not only over the ape race, but also over Shimo, an ancient creature said to be the most powerful Titan of them all.

Backup comes in the form of an evolved Godzilla, who takes on a shocking pink hue after a battle that I wish we got to see more of. Kong, fitted with a fresh beast glove, teams up with his new ride-or-die to face off in an outrageous battle with Skar King. It's absolutely incredible to watch, taking monster-on-monster action to new heights. Is it worth slogging through the human-drama undercard leading up to this royal rumble? Sure. I could've done without Hall and company, but boy is it fun as hell if you don't think about it too much.

Verdict

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is a textbook visual thrill ride punctuated by brief moments of forced emotion and little else. Director Adam Wingard has a lot of fun with textures, colors, and camera work, and he's adept at giving fans the over-the-top monster action that they demand via an imposing new villain. Unfortunately, there's no time to spend on making things make sense or even matter all that much, and what few emotional punches are thrown lack the necessary wind up to connect, save for some very well done moments between Kong and his Hollow Earth kin.

Comments

There are no comments to display.
 

Item information

Added by
admin
Views
1,139
Last update
Author rating
4.00 star(s)

More in Movies

More from admin

Back
Top