Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire – Film Review

In the age of super-hero franchises, there is one franchise that is standing out from the crowd. That being the MonsterVerse. This may be a term you have not heard of before, but it is essentially the universe where Godzilla and Kong co-exist.

Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have released four films since the first Godzilla flick back in 2014. Most recently, in 2021 with the release of Godzilla vs. Kong. Now in 2024, the next instalment of this monster franchise is set to be unleashed. Titled Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, we see the two Titans partner up buddy cop style to defeat a new Titan that is threatening their very existence.

Set after the discovery of a new realm beneath the Earth’s surface known as Hollow Earth, and following on from the defeat of Mechagodzilla, the two opposing Titans setup their own territorial zones. Godzilla on the surface, protecting Earth from the various Titans above and Kong below in Hollow Earth, searching for others just like him.

Awakening from his Roman Empire nook, Godzilla senses a new threat and seeks out a way to charge up his powers like we have never seen before. Meanwhile, the outpost in Hollow Earth picks up an unidentified signal emanating from a completely unknown area within the region. At the same time, Jia (Kaylee Hottle), begins to hallucinate and senses that Kong may be in danger.

Concerned for her wellbeing, Jia’s adoptive mother and Monarch research scientist, Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall) enlists the assistance of conspiracy theorist turned podcaster, Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) to investigate the source of the drawings and the possible connection to Kong. Upon discovering the link, Andrews also enlists the aide of Titan Veterinarian known as Trapper (Dan Stevens) and head into Hollow Earth. What they discover will threaten not only humankind’s very existence but also the survival of the epic Titan’s themselves.

Directed by Adam Wingard, with a screenplay by Terry Rossio, Simon Barret and Jeremy Slater, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is an exciting and action-packed film, but it isn’t without its flaws. Whilst the acting from the main cast is great with a fantastic performance from Kaylee Hottle’s in her portrayal of Jia, the dialogue and the choice of soundtrack are weak.

The 80s era song choices are most certainly brilliant tracks, but their use within this film is questionable. It just didn’t seem to fit in with the vibe of the scene. I guess this is why Hottle’s performance stands out. As a deaf actor, her reliance on body language and expression to convey emotion is truly exceptional, and alongside such poor writing, it only highlights her performance even more.

In fact, it is the areas of the film with no dialogue at all that are the strongest. This is evidently clear during Kong’s arc of the film and his discovery of others just like him. Whilst the Titan can sign in conversations with Jia, it is the interactions between Kong and the others like him that impressed me. You could clearly see that they were communicating and even with the lack of subtitles (not that they were needed), I knew exactly what they were saying. It is clear the creatives behind this film did their research into primate communication and social structures, and incorporated this into the film because as CGI as it is, it still feels authentic.

There is of course plenty of action and Titan battles to keep you entertained throughout the film’s almost two hour run time and the lack of substance in human character writing is easily forgotten when Godzilla and Kong finally join forces. Although, I had hoped it would have happened earlier in the film because the payoff in the end felt rushed.

Although the film is specially formatted for IMAX, I wouldn’t say it is IMAX worthy. But definitely head to the cinema quick because I am not sure how well this hit-miss film will last before it curls back up among the Colosseum to rest for good. If you’re confused by that statement, you’ll just have to go see it for that reference to make sense!

Overall, Godzilla x Kong is a classic action popcorn flick, plenty of excitement and just enough surprises to keep your attention. Is it worth seeing in the cinema? Of course it is! Watching these giant beast duke it out on your TV at home would be an injustice.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is now showing in cinemas around Australia. Check your local guides for session times.

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