GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE Review: The Titans Return to Cinemas With Breathtaking Action!

Godzilla and Kong take on new Titans in a truly world-spanning adventure in Adam Wingard's new film, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire!
Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire - Godzilla and Kong team up to fight Skar King!

Godzilla and Kong take on new Titans in a truly world-spanning adventure in Adam Wingard’s new film, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire!

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Godzilla fans are eating good. Kong fans are beating their chests in pride. We truly live in the heyday of true monster movie success as Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire tears its way through theaters! After three long years, the Titans have finally returned to where they belong: The Big Screen.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire Returns to Hollow Earth

Following the events of Godzilla vs. Kong, the two titans have settled into their own territories both above and below the earth, with Godzilla taking residence on the surface world (particularly in Rome, Italy) and Kong hunting and exploring the Hollow Earth in search of his family. With multiple Titans growing restless above ground, Godzilla has his work cut out for him.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire - Kong roars
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Meanwhile, when a signal from the Hollow Earth leads Jia (Kaylee Hottle) to begin having visions of something happening below ground. Kong continues his hunt for a family, leading him to accidentally discover one of the greatest adversaries he has ever faced: Skar King.

Faced with impossible odds, Kong and Godzilla team up to take on Skar King and his own secret weapon: the Ice Titan, Shimo. Meanwhile, mysteries unfold with Jia and her friends, Monarch scientist and adoptive mother Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), conspiracy theorist and Titan Podcaster Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry), and the charismatic Titan enthusiast Trapper (Dan Stevens).

Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

First off, let me state that this is by and large a Kong movie. While the humans play a significant role (and Godzilla is just…kinda there too), Kong is the main character and protagonist. Most of the film follows his adventures within the Hollow Earth and his relatable search for a true home. Wingard’s direction makes Kong to be a classic action hero, kicking all the ass but not without help here and there.

Godzilla, meanwhile, is sadly his generic self. If you’ve seen the MonsterVerse movies before, you know full well what to expect here. He kicks ass and wrecks shop. He’ll show a little personality here and there but mostly he’s just there to be a force of nature and make Pink look cool again.

Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

The story featuring the human characters is truly intriguing with the relatable story of the mother coming to terms with their child seeking their place in the world while put against the backdrop of some interesting lore and worldbuilding. Jia plays a critical role within the story, though, admittedly, they don’t do a good enough job justifying why.

The highlight of the film’s human cast is Trapper who is like a Kaiju Ace Ventura, complete with a Hawaiian shirt. He’s charismatic and knowledgable, even playing a significant part in the battle in Hollow Earth.

The Good, The Bad, and The Skar King

Alright, so let’s talk a bit about the film itself. The film stands out in the Godzilla and Kong franchises as one of the few that gives the Titans depicted personalities. There are multiple scenes where you see Skar King laugh and Kong emote. Godzilla is still his big, beefy lizard but throughout the film, he doesn’t take crap from anyone.

Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

That said, Godzilla’s presence in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire wasn’t a whole lot. In fact, it’s been stated that Godzilla actually appears less in this film than in any other film in the MonsterVerse. We see more from Kong than the humans. If this was marketed as a Kong movie where Godzilla made an appearance (similar to how Kong made some minor appearances in 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters), then the movie wouldn’t have lost much.

Don’t go into Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire expecting to see Goji more than a few times, though the film does expertly make those scenes memorable, as three Titans bite it in the film, two of which were by Goji’s claws. This isn’t Godzilla -1.0.

Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Godzilla and Kong have shared the screen twice this decade, with the big lizard whale making a splash in the last few months with several properties created with him as the star. However, the film does suffer a bit with not exploring Godzilla as a character.

With the last few films in the MonsterVerse laying into the concept that Godzilla is a force of nature and only showing him in minimalistic screentime, Godzilla has slowly become typecast. The next few films or media within the MonsterVerse need to explore Godzilla as a character similar to how they’ve explored Kong this decade.

Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

And, I think it’s time to bring back some classic TOHO monsters aside from Mothra, Ghidorah, Rodan, and Mechagodzilla. Where is Biollante? Hedorah? Anguirus? Jet Jaguar? Hell, where is Space Godzilla?


Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is a definite love letter to TOHO’s Showa Period of films, depicting non-stop action, campy humor, and a story that doesn’t completely work for what it’s worth. It’s the embodiment of a big-budget blockbuster and does a lot of things right with the characters it works with while also playing it safe.

Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

On top of it all, the film also depicts events that, in full honesty, don’t hold much weight when it comes to furthering the MonsterVerse, as both Kong and Godzilla, while changed from the events of the film, are essentially back where they started.

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Is the film worth a watch? Absolutely. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s definitely worthy of entertainment. Will it win awards? Not likely. But it wasn’t made to. It was made for the sake of the fans looking for a good time. And that’s all that it needed to be.

RATING: 7/10

For fans of Jurassic Park, Planet of the Apes, Godzilla (2014), Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)

About Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

Director: Adam Wingard
Producers: Thomas Tull; Jon Jashni; Mary Parent
Executive Producers: Adam Wingard; Jay Ashenfelter; Jennifer Conroy 
Director of Photography: Ben Seresin 
Production: Legendary Pictures
Distribution: Warner Bros. Discovery 
Cast: Rebecca Hall; Brian Tyree Henry; Dan Stevens; Kaylee Hottle; Alex Ferns; Fala Chen; Rachel House; Ron Smyck; Chantelle Jamiesson; Greg Hatton 

Synopsis: Two ancient titans, Godzilla and Kong, clash in an epic battle as humans unravel their intertwined origins and connection to Skull Island’s mysteries.

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