Godzilla x Kong Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

Review by Rich Cline | 2/5

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire
dir Adam Wingard
scr Terry Rossio, Simon Barrett, Jeremy Slater
prd Alex Garcia, Eric McLeod, Mary Parent, Brian Rogers, Thomas Tull
with Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Dan Stevens, Kaylee Hottle, Alex Ferns, Fala Chen, Rachel House, Ron Smyck, Chantelle Jamieson, Greg Hatton, Sophia Emberson-Bain, Chika Ikogwe
release US/UK 29.Mar.24
24/US Warners 1h55

hall henry stevens
See also:
Godzilla 2019 Godzilla vs Kong 2021

Is it streaming?

hall and stevens
Even more focused on monsters than 2021's Godzilla vs Kong, this behemoth of a movie's marginal humans merely provide comic relief, emotional catharses, and baffling explanations of mythology that has run amok. Director Adam Wingard tries but can't make the action mayhem hold our attention: it's never more than pointless carnage. And the filmmaking blithely ignores the millions of humans who perish in all of this full-on destruction.
So Kong has been banished to the subterranean Hollow Earth, where he's painfully lonely, while Godzilla takes on titan beasts on the surface. Then Dr Ilene (Hall) and her Kong-whisperer daughter Jia (Hottle) discover warning signals from underground, so they assemble a team with podcaster Bernie (Henry) and swaggering veterinarian Trapper (Stevens), heading down to investigate. They discover even more secret realms down there, including a vicious ape villain with a Godzilla-like ice-spewer under his control. And now mortal enemies Kong and Godzilla need to team up, levelling much of Earth to save these realms.
Periodic action sequences seem designed to merely lay waste to noted places of culture (Rome), history (Cairo) or beauty (Rio). While the family-friendly rating keeps the actual violence off-screen while animated creatures bash each other into various famed landscapes, plus a gravity defying, brain-straining battle underground. This cartoon chaos may please fans, especially with the extra bombast of an Imax screen, but feeble attempts to anthropomorphise emotion into Kong can't make us care.

That Hall, Stevens and Henry manage to get through this with some dignity is no mean feat. They joke and swashbuckle adeptly in between the running and screaming, then stand by and let the digital effects carry the action. Hottle provides a few nice mother-daughter moments, along with her rather sweet connection with Kong, who gets his own junior sidekick this time. But the human and creature aspects of the overall plot never remotely gel; they feel mashed-up in the edit.

We almost wish the filmmakers would stop hedging their bets and just embrace the silly cartoonishness of it all, get rid of human characters and let the monsters speak their own dialog. It's a problem that, despite the comical asides, this is played with an utterly straight face, asking the audience to sympathise with an enormous ape and radioactive lizard. But when they're fighting, imagery is so needlessly overcomplicated that it's incoherent, a barrage of visual and aural noise that is impressive technically but is also so artificial that it means nothing.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 27.Mar.24

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© 2024 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall