Genre: Action/Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Director: Adam Wingard
Cast: Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Dan Stevens, Kaylee Hottle, Alex Ferns, Fala Chen
Runtime: 1 hr 55 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Intense Sequences)
Released By: Warner Bros
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 28 March 2024

Synopsis: The epic battle continues! Legendary Pictures’ cinematic Monsterverse follows up the explosive showdown of “Godzilla vs. Kong” with an all-new adventure that pits the almighty Kong and the fearsome Godzilla against a colossal undiscovered threat hidden within our world, challenging their very existence - and our own. “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” delves further into the histories of these Titans and their origins, as well as the mysteries of Skull Island and beyond, while uncovering the mythic battle that helped forge these extraordinary beings and tied them to humankind forever.

Movie Review:

Until the MonsterVerse franchise, Hollywood has had a spotty track record with both Godzilla and King Kong, so kudos to the architects at Legendary for not only breathing life into two iconic titans, but also bringing them together in a way that doesn’t feel entirely contrived. That credit also belongs to Adam Wingard, whose ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ nicely set up a mano-a-mano showdown between the titular creatures against a neon-trimmed Hong Kong – and thanks to that successful endeavour, Wingard is back at the helm of this sequel, which sees them team up against a pair of common enemies.

Truth be told, this is largely Kong’s story, who while on his quest to find others of his kind in Hollow Earth, stumbles upon a tyrant that has enslaved a whole tribe of great apes to do his evil bidding. The said tyrant’s power stems from a skeletal bone whip that looks like it was fashioned out of the spine of a sea serpent, and with which he uses to control a gigantoid creature that looks like an ice-age relative of Godzilla. No prizes for guessing the link between this chain of events in Hollow Earth and Godzilla’s restlessness up above, or for that matter, that both our titular heroes will eventually reunite in an epic showdown that begins in the depths of Hollow Earth and continues on Earth as we know it.

Even more than in its 2021 predecessor, ‘Godzilla x Kong’ lets the titans carry the movie, and therefore gives short shrift to its human characters. In fact, there are just four key ones here – namely, scientist Irene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), her adopted daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle), conspiracy-chasing podcaster Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry), and veterinarian Trapper (Dan Stevens); of them, Trapper is the only new addition from the previous movie, the Ace Ventura-like adventurer no doubt intended as the sort of goofy-cool comic fodder that Wingard intends to complement the tone of the movie.

Indeed, it would be foolish to expect anything more than monster spectacle from ‘Godzilla x Kong’, not least with Wingard doubling down on that value proposition. Even before the title card pops, Kong rips a Wartdog into half and lets its innards dribble down its chin, while Godzilla uses his atomic heat beam to obliterate a Scylla before taking a nap in the Colosseum. And before we are even acquainted with the Skar King and Shimo, Kong and Godzilla will go head to head with a gigantic serpent monster and a Tiamat respectively. The best though is still the astounding finale – which unfolds in free-falling mayhem before ascending to the sun-kissed seaside city of Rio de Janeiro – and is nothing less than bright, thrilling and crowd-pleasing fun.

Oh yes, Wingard has made this for both sets of fans, and in either regard, he delivers splendidly. There is plenty of emotion in Kong’s quest to find more of his kind and a place to belong, which should please those who always had a soft spot for the sensitive big ape; likewise, the power struggle between Kong and the Skar King is beautifully rendered, and plays like a prelude to this summer’s ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’. On the other hand, Kaiju fans will cheer the Showa era influence, what with Godzilla turning pink after imbibing radiation from a nuclear power plant in France, as well as the nice extended cameo by Mothra.

To be sure though, there are also silly moments that make you wonder why none of the three writers (returning scribe Terry Rossio, joined by Simon Barrett and Jeremy Slate) had put in more effort – most notably, a whole subplot involving the purportedly extinct Iwi tribe that Jia belongs to is downright hokey, even with Fala Chen trying her very best to inject pathos with a wordless performance as the Iwi Queen. Wingard also sometimes overdoes the 80s vibe he intends to emulate, what with the use of pastel colours over mountain peaks, and synth-driven score coupled with Kiss music cues.

Still, no one ought to be expecting ‘Godzilla x Kong’ to be perfect, but for what you thought it would be, there is more than enough on display here to wow you. It makes no apologies leaning in on big, unabashed monster fun, and delivers ultimately with a chest-thumping, feet-stomping finish that will leave you with a big, wide grin on your face. Seeing as how Hollywood has struggled to do justice to both Godzilla and Kong, it is not only a relief but also a joy to see what the MonsterVerse has accomplished thus far. If it’s monster-on-monster destruction you’re here for, you’ll find this team-up both spectacle and spectacular. 

Movie Rating:

(Big, unabashed monster fun, this team-up between two iconic titans is both spectacle and spectacular)

Review by Gabriel Chong

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