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Godzilla x Kong: A New Empire

The latest in the "Monsterverse" continues its creative decline



One need only read the following title to realize the creative doldrums that Hollywood has beached at: Godzilla x Kong: A New Empire (2024).

 

Godzilla x Kong: A New Empire is the fifth film in Warner Bros.’ “Monsterverse” following its monster mashup Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) and its foray into television with Monarch: Legacy of Monsters (2023). In this film, giant ape King Kong, living in the “hollow earth,” a world beneath the earth’s crust, is forced to ally with his old enemy Godzilla in order to face an unknown and ancient being.

 

Adam Wingard returns to direct this film following the gladiatorial fight between the two titular monsters in the previous entry. The American director seems to be pulling away further from the gritty and dark tones of Godzilla (2014) and into increasingly camp territory to rival the likes of Fast & Furious and the Transformers franchises. Wingard does learns from his previous film, that focus on human characters largely bog down the narrative. While this is somewhat allayed in Godzilla x Kong, it doesn’t salvage the more ridiculous and mind-boggling creative choices made.

 

Curiously, Wingard proudly claims that for Godzilla x Kong he took inspiration from 1980s toy commercials, and that is certainly what it looks like. The film and its plot seem to be written by a 10 year old playing with action figures, not only in its loud chaos, but also in its disregard to continuity, arcs, or any sense of nuance. Sadly, this is what this franchise has become, a series of CGI monsters beating each other up in famous cities and landmarks. This is voiced over by the forgettable characters, who shamelessly dump exposition and lore with a straight face. The result is a messy CGI clump of punches and explosions that would barely make Michael Bay proud.

 

Wingard shows some pause and curiosity when he allows things to slow down, particularly with King Kong’s relationship with a younger giant ape. Most of these scenes are non-verbal, letting visual storytelling take over. This along with the new character of Trapper (Dan Stevens) a titan veterinarian, are the few things that work within the crazed tone of the film. Stevens is so over-the-top and satirical that he manages to transcend the trashy dialogue and script and have fun with the role.

 

In the end, Godzilla x Kong: A New Empire is the latest symptom of the creative malaise and CGI vomit fests that populate our screens these days. Sadly, the theater I was in was packed with cheering viewers, meaning this hollow and empty franchise will continue down this creatively stunting path.  

4.0/10

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I've been writing on different version of this website since February of 2013. I originally founded the website in a film-buff phase in high school, but it has since continued through college and into my adult life. Young Critic may be getting older, but the love and passion for film is forever young. 

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