This review of Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is going to be difficult. The reason is that I just recently watched Godzilla Minus One. We did a review of it here and I completely agree with it. In fact, Minus One is not just a great Creature Feature, it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while.

The New Empire is not one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while. Comparing the two is like comparing a steak dinner at a fancy restaurant to a nearly gone-off ham sandwich from a petrol station.

New Empire stars Rebecca Hall, Bryan Tyree Henry, Dan Stevens, Kaylee Hottle, Alex Ferns, and Fala Chen. It’s from returning director, Adam Wingard who also, unfortunately, serves as a writer, along with Terry Rossio and Simon Barrett.

The Story

I have seen Skull Island and Godzilla vs Kong, but I can’t tell you a thing about them now. There are giant monsters, they fight, that’s about it. This movie follows that theme, the official story is:

Two ancient titans, Godzilla and Kong, clash in an epic battle as humans unravel their intertwined origins and connection to Skull Island’s mysteries.

The main focus of the story is about Kong trying to find his own kind. The main problem with this is that you need to explain it, which is very difficult if your main character doesn’t talk. The purpose of the humans in the movie is just as narrators to tell us what’s going on.

Kong lives in the Hollow Earth, the place under the surface of the planet. Godzilla is on the surface fighting other titans. All is good, other than that Godzilla, while fighting other titans, kills thousands, maybe millions of people but that never seems to matter.

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Kong gets a sore tooth and heads back up to the surface to see a dentist. He has the tooth pulled and replaced with a new one. I’m not making this up. Anyways, Ilene Andrews (Hall), Bernie Hayes (Henry), and Jia (Hottle), all from the original, go and follow Kong down to Hollow Earth.

Joining them is Trapper (Stevens) who’s a vet and giant ape dentist and Mikael (Ferns) as their “security guard”. I say security guard, but Ferns is ridiculous in the role. Don’t get me wrong, I like him as an actor, but as a highly trained military man, no. It looks like I could outrun him.

Mild spoiler though, he dies early on in the most obvious “That guy is going to die” moment I’ve ever seen.

On the surface, Godzilla is prepping for something that’s going to take place, he’s obviously got Spidey-senses. He’s eating up nuclear power and battling monsters that emit power, just to build his power for the end of the movie.

Back in Hollow Earth, Kong meets some of his kind and goes off looking for more of them and we learn that Jia is the key to everything. Then there’s a whole back story of an evil ape, trying to get back to the surface. He once fought Godzilla, but who “somehow” managed to banish him to Hollow Earth?

There is also an indigenous people that live in Hollow Earth, but that doesn’t really go anywhere. They are all mute and communicate via telepathy and mild hand signals. They are only there to show off the ruins that explain the plot. Apparently, they appeared in Skull Island.

This is all perfectly explained by Andrews, who is shown a tablet, that she reads perfectly and tells the story like a narrator. If the humans weren’t in this movie, you would have absolutely no idea what was going on. There is more character development with Kong than there is with any of the humans.

Kong goes back to the surface to get help from Godzilla and they fight, but it’s OK. This is because Jia releases Mothra, who “explains” to Godzilla why they need to work together and so they become best friends.

They head back down and start a fight with evil Kong, which ends up back on the surface. Oh, and Kong gets a robotic glove that was built for him, and then scraped. Fortunately, it was “handy” for him to fit right into it and use it in a fight.

The final battle is in Rio where thousands of people are killed, maybe millions, but that doesn’t matter because you never see anyone die and BIG MONSTERS ARE FIGHTING, COOL! There’s no point in spoiling the end, you know how it’s going to work out.

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Minus One

Minus One is a fantastically good movie! It’s going to be in my top 5 this year with ease. I loved the story, the characters, and the SFX, everything about it was just great.

The New Empire is a Creature Feature, but with all of the emotion taken out of it and just having big things fighting each other, much like a toddler smashing his toys together.

I imagine the most used phrase by Wingard was “Yeah, that looks cool!” and that’s about it. They have the battle at the end, between Godzilla and Kong versus other Godzilla and evil Kong, and it’s about them fighting, not a single person gets hurt. Buildings are demolished, but you don’t see a single human death and not a single mention of anyone throughout the movie.

In Minus One, when Godzilla attacks a city, people die! This gives it so much more weight, human beings are suffering at the hands of this giant lizard. In New Empire, it’s just big things hitting each other. I know New Empire is a Summer Blockbuster, there’s nothing to overthink about it, but you can still have a decent story and care about details in among the spectacle.

The humans in this are as one dimension as they come. Andrews is just there to explain the plot, Bernie is comic relief (who isn’t funny), Trapper is just the cool guy and Jia is as wooden as most new female leads in Hollywood. She has a range from concerned to frowning, that’s it.

Milly Bobby Brown wasn’t back, she’s now famous and they couldn’t afford her. All of the money was spent on CGI, of which there is way too much. Wingard is now going down the same route as Snyder, Bay, and Lucas, where it’s all about looking good and forgetting to put a story in there.

And speaking of not affording things because of the CGI, the other thing that irked me was the soundtrack. Someone like James Gunn puts a kickass soundtrack over his movies and they fit perfectly. Wingard is not there yet and some of the soundtrack was just awful and misplaced.

Overall

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is a summer blockbuster in every sense of the word. You cannot think about anything, as nothing makes sense. There is very little story and overall it’s chewing gum for the eyes. It looks pretty, but there isn’t much else going on.

I had more fun poking fun at it and picking at the huge plot holes than I did enjoying it as a movie. We all know I’m a picky sod, but if you are spending £135 million on a movie, you need to pay attention to the details.

How the hell does anyone know how to fit a tooth to a giant ape? How does Kong’s axe work? Why do we have to have the “old veteran with a child” thing again (See, The Last of Us, The Mandalorian, Logan, etc)? With all the devastation that Godzilla was causing, why did the French attack him? How did Kong set up a load of boobytraps? How did little monkey know how to set them off?

Godzilla x Kong Cheadle

All the monkeys are being used for forced labor for something you never find out about, but it’s in a volcano. When evil Kong gets on the surface, he wants another ice age. Wouldn’t that kill all the other monkeys? This is all just off the top of my head, none of this movie makes any sense.

I can see why New Empire did well though, it’s perfect for the “modern audience”. Not the cancel everything kind, but the ones that enjoy TikTok. There’s lots of screaming and roaring, things being smashed and it all looks pretty.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is a brainless movie that took up 2 hours. I doubt I’ll ever watch it again. It’s now on rental from most streaming services.

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