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Home > Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire (2024): A Review

Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire (2024): A Review

Image 1 - Godzilla and Kong in ‘Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire’ | Image: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

The Titans Claw their Way Back to the Big Screen

If there is any movie that should be watched right now, it is Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire. It’s probably a safe bet to say that this is the biggest film out there at the moment (quite literally). Following the events of Godzilla vs Kong (2021), this is the second time these gargantuan beings have crossed over within Legendary’s Monsterverse.  However, unlike before, this film mostly focuses on the two kings working together instead of their usual rivalry. But how does this film hold up compared to its predecessor? Is it well worth the hype? Here is what to expect for those who are thinking about watching. 

Non-Stop Ground-Shaking Fun 

Any Godzilla or Kong fan knows that the real action belongs to the monsters. The excitement of these films is mostly woven through the action and fighting scenes–and boy, is there a lot. The majority of this film is nothing but fun, fast-paced battles. Prepare for a colossal amount of destruction, intense chase scenes, mind-blowing monster abilities, and suspenseful music. 

Like Godzilla vs Kong, there is a lot of jumping around from one place to the next, but it’s not to the point where the plot becomes an incoherent mess. Since most of the film focuses on the monsters and minimizes the amount of human interactions, the chunk of these scenes are pretty much self-explanatory. Additionally, the film does an excellent job of balancing out how much screen time each Titan gets.

Despite the title, Kong is the one who is put under the spotlight for the majority of the film. Viewers get to witness how Kong is holding up in his new home at the Hollow Earth. Here, he has been searching for traces regarding his species and any possibility of his family surviving. 

Not only that, but this is the first time fans get to see Kong set out on an adventure and wield his own weapon. And based on the trailer alone, it seems like Kong will eventually find more of his species, but not after taking down the fearsome Skar King first. While there is a greater emphasis on Kong this time around, that does not mean Godzilla doesn’t have his own fair share of screen time. 

Previous films (Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Godzilla vs Kong) have established that Godzilla is essentially the king of the monsters. So, in this movie, Godzilla shows up more as a cameo and most of his scenes are just him taking down one kaiju after another. If anything, these moments are meant to reinforce Godzilla’s dominance and that he is truly an unstoppable force. This isn’t necessarily bad writing, as these scenes just add more fun action, and everyone pretty much knows Godzilla’s story at this point.

The Titans Reign Supreme 

Let’s be clear about one thing: this isn’t Godzilla Minus One. The human characters aren’t fully fleshed out to the point where they show any significant growth or display any raw, realistic emotions. That has never been the point of Legendary’s Godzilla and Kong franchise, anyway. 

Minus One is explicitly a Toho Co. film, so those viewers who have set up high expectations for the human characters in this film are bound to be disappointed. Surprisingly, there is one character who actually has more of their backstory developed and plays a central role in aiding the Titans, but for the sake of spoilers, that is all that will be mentioned about them. 

But other than that, some examples are how there is a ton of plot convenience, and the scriptwriting is bland at best. The dialogue between the human characters falls flat, and some of their interactions feel forced or just basic.

There were some moments that were genuinely funny and serious, while other scenes had characters react unrealistically to the events happening on screen. Issues like these can be jarring, but again, the main point of these films is to show the action and not so much the how, when, and why. However, it should be noted that the poorly written dialogue does not discredit the actors’ performances. Each of them did the best they could with the lines they were given and still managed to do an excellent job of exhibiting emotions through believable facial expressions and body language. But overall, this just goes to show that, if anything, the human characters are just the meal before the dessert.

Human characters aside, there is actually a scene where Kong interacts with his fellow ape Titans, and not a single word is spoken. While there is no audible dialogue between the apes, the audience can still easily tell what the creatures are thinking through their mannerisms, body language, and facial expressions. Interestingly, this makes for a rather powerful and unique scene, as there are not many moments like this in cinema when it comes to animals and action movies.

Image 2 - Godzilla in ‘Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire’ | Image: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

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Stunning Atmospheres with Eye-Catching Fights

Like any Monsterverse film, the special effects are largely a part of what makes the action scenes and world feel so alive. From wide shots that display breathtaking views of the Hollow Earth to the bright, vivid colors expressed through the Titans’ powers, the cinematography of this film is top-notch. 

There are many overhead camera views of Kong exploring the Hollow Earth, where the monsters are equally as large and terrifying, the plant life is rich, the mountain regions are stunning, and the sunsets gorgeously reflect off the sparkling water. The are also supernatural elements included in this world, like large glowing crystals, weird and gelatinous curtains of energy, and areas that defy the logic of gravity. 

The CGI for the fight scenes is also done well. Godzilla dons his natural blue color when he first appears and shoots down enemies with his atomic breath. Later on, viewers get to witness his rose-colored transformation which is arguably a more sleek and cleaner design.  The fight scenes between Kong and Skar King are also incredibly thrill-inducing, with Kong slashing his axe to fend off attacks and Skar King using his Whiplash to deliver flexible and threatening blows. It’s also just a blast to see these two intelligent creatures go toe-to-toe, using their environment (like throwing large boulders or chunks of buildings at each other) to their advantage to help them get the upper hand over the other. 

The final battle is most definitely the best part of the film, as it uses a lot of colorful CGI, wide camera angles, and suspenseful music that will have viewers wanting more. There is also an impressive wide shot that quickly zooms in as it shows Kong and Godzilla running toward Skar King and his minions for a final stand. 

Also, a few secret Titans make a surprise appearance which veteran fans would be more than happy to see on the big screen. These titans have bright, colorful designs that are majestic yet threatening and add a lot of flavoring and color to the environment. Overall, the film does an excellent job of creating an atmosphere that is so vibrant and alive. 

Is it Worth the Hype? 

Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire is just a fun film all around and has some of the best CGI and atmosphere compared to most movies today. Fans who are there purely for the action are sure to be in for a wild ride. The plot is simple and straightforward for anyone to understand, even for viewers who are unfamiliar with the franchise. Because of this, viewers will not have to worry too much about watching the previous films (except perhaps Godzilla vs Kong) and can still have an enjoyable time. Like other Monsterverse films, the movie suffers the most in its writing for the human characters, but even their moments were minimized to allow for more time to enjoy the big, thrilling fights with the Titans. 

Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire is available now in theaters and is directed by Adam Wingard and written by Terry Rossio, Simon Barrett, and Jeremy Slater. It stars Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, and Dan Stevens. The film is rated PG-13 and has a runtime of 1 hour and 55 minutes. 

Image 2 - Kong in ‘Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire’ | Image: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire Official Warner Bros Trailer 2

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Author

Marc Agbayani's favorite genres to write are fantasy, science fiction, horror, action,n and mystery. His inspiration for writing stems from his love of various forms of pop culture, such as the film series Star Wars by George Lucas and the video game series The Legend of Zelda by Shigeru Miyamoto. In his free time, he enjoys writing, reading, listening to music, going to the gym, and hosting game nights with friends