Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire// RIP Rome

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Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is in theaters today, March 29th and if you’re a fan of the franchise, you’ll be seated. This is one that I wish I had seen on an IMAX screen because every moment was almost too big for my local cinema screen. If you’re expecting an epic clash of titans and over-the-top effects and explosive action, director Adam Wingard has a treat for you. If you’re also expecting the usual human drama and thinly stretched backstories… well, you get the point.

There’s a lot of plot

As a serious Godzilla fan, I mean no disrespect to the beloved titans and the MonsterVerse franchise. We have been gifted with so many storylines from estranged father and son, military and civilian operations, mother and daughter apocalypse, to the very busy, whatever that was in Godzilla vs Kong. And this sequel is just as imaginative with its plot.

As the 38th film in the Godzilla franchise and the 13th in the King Kong franchise, we have Godzilla x Kong… or Godzilla and Kong? We are definitely multiplying the action and the discovery of more lore. Kong has made his home in Hollow Earth. Godzilla is big chilling in the Colosseum after defeating Scylla in Rome. He’s on the surface keeping the titans in check as a Monarch observation outpost in Hollow Earth picks up an unidentified signal. 

Jia,( Kaylee Hottle) as the last remaining member of the Iwi tribe, is experiencing hallucinations and flashbacks which concern her adopted mother, Dr. Andrews (Rebecca Hall). Godzilla leaves his comfy resting spot to destroy a nuclear plant in France because he also senses this signal. He’s powering up for something huge. Kong ventures into uncharted territory due to boredom and loneliness. Don’t worry, he’ll make friends fast. He also suffers from a terrible toothache and if you’re squeamish around dentists, this isn’t the movie for you! 

But wait, there’s more

Who heads out to Hollow Earth to investigate said signal? That would be Titan veterinarian, Trapper (Dan Stevens) and conspiracy podcaster, Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry) along with Dr. Andrews and Jia. Thus begins the too much, and all at once storyline. Trapper and Bernie may be contributing to the cause but exist mostly as comedic relief. They are incredible actors and their characters deserve more. Jia is given the wildest task and yet, it’s almost too predictable. This core four is never given enough screen time to make much of their relationships or for any of us to really care about them.

At this point, the revelation of more Titan history, ancient human civilizations, telepathy, and uncharted territories within Hollow Earth becomes too much. The dialogue drags on and we have characters explaining what’s going on in excruciating detail. The people exist almost entirely apart from the kaiju universe. They have so little interaction that I forgot how massive Kong was until Jia appears to him after he’s been horribly injured. I was almost exhausted from the back and forth, switching from the human side of the plot, to the titans’ side.

What we showed up for

The film is gorgeous in its fantasy world. Each scene is “science-fictionally” beautiful. I wanted to see everything, from the vast landscapes of the different territories to the incredible monster effects and the brutal battles. There are smaller fights between Godzilla and Kong versus other titans and beasts of Hollow Earth. There is so much destruction left in their wake along with the savagely shredded remains of their foes. It’s all presented like exhibition matches to wow audiences and it does as intended. Godzilla and Kong are ferocious beasts with almost no enemy to match them, or so we think. Each fight is driving them inevitably towards the Final Boss battle but will they team up to face the real terror that threatens the surface world?

Calling all Godzilla and King Kong fans

I could take the time to mention that this film is its own and no comparison to Godzilla Minus One is needed. There, I went ahead and said it. However, we are showing up to theaters for different reasons. I know we can all hear Godzilla charging up, Kong pounding his chest, and their vicious roars in our heads. What terrifying titan will they clash with next? How will Godzilla and Kong react to each other in the same territory?

There is no shortage of fantastic titan reveals and there’s a robot arm in there somewhere. You can’t help but laugh at the absurdity of a giant monster curling up in the Colosseum and trampling countless bridges and other historical buildings. A giant gorilla is lonely. People are communicating telepathically. But have no doubt, we get an impressive and explosive, grande showdown and I loved every second. The MonsterVerse is silly! But it’s also great. It’s wonderful and vastly entertaining. My theater was packed and we laughed and cheered together. Hate all you like, there’s plenty of love for Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire. I had a helluva good time watching it and will have fun watching it again and again.