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‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire’ Review: The Roar the Merrier

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is monster mania in the best way—featuring multiple Kaiju with exciting battles. On the other hand, the human side felt balanced, serving only to move the plot forward with some room for comedic elements.

This article contains light spoilers for Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire.

‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire’ Review: The Roar the Merrier
Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire / Image Courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery

Directed by Adam Wingard, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire follows the events of Godzilla vs. Kong. When Monarch discovers mysterious readings and Jia (Kaylee Hottle) starts seeing visions of a looming threat, Ilene (Rebecca Hall), Trapper (Dan Stevens), Jia, and Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry) quickly descend to the uncharted territory to discover the origins of these signals.

Meanwhile, on the surface, Godzilla is seen powering up for something with no apparent reason as to why. The opening felt very James Gunn-esque; it opens with a lighthearted scene of Kong exploring Hollow Earth with Jim Reeves’ “Welcome To My World” playing in the background, then quickly shifts to a more serious tone as conflict arises between Kong and a group of animals.

While its predecessor, Godzilla vs. Kong, focused more on the Godzilla side of things, this film aims to tell a story for Kong and Jia (Kaylee Hottle)—both trying to find their place while having no biological family.

To their surprise, they inevitably find family, but it differs with the Iwi Tribe being welcoming to Jia immediately accepting her as one of their own and integrating her into the tribe, meanwhile the Kongs start off unpleasant, they are not as accepting of this new member to their family and try to attack him as ordered by the Skar King.

However, both work to expand on the lore and environments of Hollow Earth by introducing new characters and showing their role in this section of the planet. Additionally, introducing new areas of Hollow Earth as the film establishes that only 5% of it has been shown.

‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire’ Review: The Roar the Merrier
Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire / Image Courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery

I noticed that Kong and Skar King were mirrored in terms of the materials used in their weaponry. Their weapons are built from bones and bear a fragment of another kaiju that ultimately boosts their strength significantly. Skar King bears a slender build compared to Kong, which is taken into account during fights.

He’s more acrobatic, allowing him to dodge attacks more effectively, and he uses a lighter weapon, a whip, for his primary source of attacks. Skar King is also presented as a villain right from the start; there’s no buildup highlighting how intense he can be and his lack of empathy.

There’s a human vs human conflict presented early in the film with the government wanting to kill Godzilla while Monarch still sees him as an essential part of the ecosystem. However, it quickly gets forgotten as the film shifts to the Kaiju battles.

On the human side of things, I was looking forward to the addition of Dan Stevens to the cast. His character, Trapper, provides more comedic relief to the human cast, similar to Brian Tyree Henry’s Bernie. Still, they both share great intellect that comes in handy during critical moments of the film.

The comedy isn’t limited to the humans either; fun interactions between the Kongs and Godzilla add to their likeability. Kong also shares great intellect, as we see moments in the film when he designs traps to hunt prey and defend himself. Suko, or “Mini Kong,” starts mischievously, but the film takes time to develop Suko’s relationship with Kong.

‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire’ Review: The Roar the Merrier
Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire / Image Courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery

However, the cliche of loss being the huge turning point in the relationship was present. Ultimately, they become a sort of father-son duo, which was my hope for them.

Godzilla shares a good amount of screen time as well. On a globe-trotting adventure for power, we visit many different locations on the surface, ranging from Rome, the Arctic, and Egypt to name a few. The environments in Hollow Earth don’t fail to be both majestic and trippy at the same time. The foreground was created with great detail.

However, I found the background to look a bit sloppy at times. The CGI regarding the Kaiju was excellent; each one had a level of detail that didn’t fail to impress me, and I rarely noticed moments where it felt unnatural.

Regarding the score done by composers Thomas Holkenberg and Antonio Di Lorio, I could identify and enjoy it quite quickly at the start. However, as the film progressed, I was more invested in the fights that were present that showcased the strength that these monsters possess.

Despite the little bit of understanding in Godzilla vs. Kong, Godzilla & Kong still manage to get into a short conflict prior to the final battle. I assume it’s based on Godzilla’s territorial instincts. I was excited to see the final battle begin in Hollow Earth. However, it ultimately returned to the surface world in the usual faith of humanity scenario.

‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire’ Review: The Roar the Merrier
Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire / Image Courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery

Post-battle, I found that there was too little of an interaction between Godzilla and Kong. The film quickly skips to the fate of both Kong and Jia, closing their stories for now with little room to indicate what can happen next for these characters.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is directed by Adam Wingard. The film stars Rebecca Hall (Ilene Andrews), Brian Tyree Henry (Bernie Hayes), Dan Stevens (Trapper), and Kaylee Hottle (Jia). All images are courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery.

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Nick is a writer at Feature First and helps manage the Twitter / X content. He's based in Trinidad & Tobago and enjoys catching up on all things film, tv and gaming.