March 25, 2024

REEL | 'Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire' Smashes the MonsterVerse

"Aggression is his love language."
Rebecca Hall Adam Wingard | Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire
Warner Bros. Pictures / Legendary Pictures
Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard returns for the fifth MonterVerse entry in the strangely titled mega team-up sequel, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire. As that awkward title might suggest over its predecessor, our two lead monsters are not facing off against one another but rather tag team-up to protect the (Hollow) Earth from more ancient underground kaiju monster threats.

Starring Rebecca Hall, sporting a new pixie haircut, in the clear lead scientist role alongside Brian Tyree Henry's goofy conspiracy podcaster, Dan Stevens' offbeat veterinarian to the giant animals, and Kaylee Hottle as the deaf Kong-whisperer daughter Jia, they all venture into the creature-filled centre of the Earth to investigate a mysterious signal. This sets off a chain of events that leads to a string of video game-style, CGI-filled monster battles very much in the vein of a professional wrestling match set to the backdrop of demolishing more of the world's premiere cities.

Scripted by Terry Rossio, Simon Barrett, and Jeremy Slater, the first-hour zips along as a fun 1980-90s-style action blockbuster throwback with copious classic rock needle drops and Wingard's trademark sense of stylish low-budget thriller direction. Once our heroes figure out what's going on, a series of expository sequences over explains the goings-on of the various apes, telepathic native tribes, and some dense ancient mythological lore going back centuries.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is enough mindless, bombastic fun until it's not. Wingard wisely sidesteps the boring military or government actions with a more contained story with only minimal references to the greater interconnected Monarch universe that loosely ties everything together. This is an all-out spectacle of the brawny variety in sharp contrast to the cerebral original 2014 Godzilla film that birthed Legendary's current incarnation of the monster team-up franchise.

More | YVArcade / Inverse / Polygon / ScreenCrush

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