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'Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire' review: A dull, dreary approach to battling monsters

Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Dan Stevens and Kaylee Hottle star in the new MonsterVerse movie

Be prepared for sensory overload with Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, starring Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Dan Stevens and Kaylee Hottle, in a MonsterVerse showdown that feels like you're in video game challenge you're desperately hoping comes to an end.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire release date: March 29
Director: Adam Wingard
Cast: Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Dan Stevens, Kaylee Hottle, Alex Ferns, Fala Chen
Runtime: 115 minutes

Godzilla in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “GODZILLA x KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)
Godzilla in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “GODZILLA x KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

What is 'Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire' about?

Following the 2021 film Godzilla vs. Kong, Godzilla and Kong have stayed in their own lanes.

Godzilla is protecting the planet from Titans, but with a lot of destruction, and gets his rest and relaxation by taking a snooze in the Colosseum, in Rome. Godzilla is also travelling across the globe to absorb as much radiation as possible, initially from nuclear power plants, eventually turning him into this bright pink creature.

Kong, on the other hand, is in Hollow Earth, but has some sort of dental issues. Jia (Hottle), Dr. Ilene Andrews's (Hall) adopted daughter, has a sense that something is wrong with Kong, sharing a unique connection.

Travelling to Hollow Earth, Andrews, Jia, vet Trapper (Stevens) and podcaster Bernie Hayes (Henry) discover another Iwi tribe that can communicate with Jia telepathically, which leads us to the return of Mothra.

Kong has to fight against apes led by Skar King, and new villain Shimo, which leads to a battle of the four Titans by the end of the movie, forcing Kong and Godzilla to work together.

(L to r) GODZILLA and KONG in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “GODZILLA x KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)
(L to r) GODZILLA and KONG in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “GODZILLA x KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures)

Is 'Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire' worth watching?

If you're someone who saw the "x" in the title of this film and did a bit of an eye-roll, because it reminds you of some sort of marketing tactic from a brand trying really hard to be "hip," that eye-rolling will continue once you watch this movie.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is the most absurd film we've seen in a long time.

We're already not particularly fans of movies that are made just for the spectacle, letting any actual storytelling suffer, but Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire takes that to a new level.

You have a group of human characters in this film with really not much to do, and their interactions feel distracting, even though there isn't much to sink your teeth into anyways. Of course, in a film like this, the monsters are really the stars, but the storyline for the humans was just not integrated at all.

Additionally, the dialogue was seemingly trying to provide some comedic relief and witty banter, but fell flat every single time. It was exhausting to watch, especially because we know that talent that these actors have.

We have to stress that we absolutely do not think kaiju movies have to be serious, and can't be fun and silly, but Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire just gave us creatures that fight each other, sometimes, and then to take naps in historic landmarks. We were hoping for a little more fun than that.

(L-r) REBECCA HALL as Dr. Ilene Andrews and BRIAN TYREE HENRY as Bernie in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “GODZILLA x KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release (Dan McFadden)
(L-r) REBECCA HALL as Dr. Ilene Andrews and BRIAN TYREE HENRY as Bernie in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “GODZILLA x KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release (Dan McFadden)

Visually speaking, there's almost too much going on. Admittedly, it may be because we've come to expect a certain level of technical execution for movies in 2024, but instead of having effects that really made you want to say "wow, that looks cool," it just felt too busy.

Even with the core characters themselves, did Godzilla really need to be pink (is this some sort of homage to Barbie?) and did Kong need a robotic arm? The choices just seemed like a, "let's throw any and all visual options into this movie," but the result was that nothing really felt particularly impactful.

But all that goes to say, if you're someone who just wants to sit back and watch a kaiju battle, with lots of neon lights, you'll get it with this film. It's really just about going in with the right expectations.