Godzilla and Kong: The New Empire Movie Review

With more Kong than Godzilla, Monsterverse film improves on its predecessor

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

In 1933, the United States saw the birth of King Kong, a gorilla over seven meters tall who quickly won the public's favor. Over the years, countless remakes and reboots featuring the primate came to life, elevating the character's mythology to the level of one of the most relevant in pop culture.

Eleven years later, Japan also bet on its own kaiju (giant monster), throwing an even more imposing titan into the spotlight, titled Godzilla - Gojira for those more familiar with it. Like his North American counterpart, a large number of productions ended up bearing his name; culminating in the Monsterverse - a shared universe, created in 2014, that pits its stars into battle. In this way, 2024 continues the legacy and presents enthusiasts with Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, a widely anticipated blockbuster that was developed under the direction of Adam Wingard and starring Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, and Dan Stevens.


The New Empire improved where its predecessor failed

In the plot, humanity discovers, in the worst possible way, that it is under a colossal threat until it is hidden inside the Hollow Earth. To the surprise of Ilene, Trapper, and Bernie, the world that forged the Titans will soon show its claws, forcing the all-powerful Kong and the fearsome Godzilla to unite once again to save the future of the human race. If in 2021 Godzilla vs Kong pleased the majority of the public and critics, it is possible to say that The New Empire goes a step further. Here, almost the same characters are present, shaped by already known cinematographic archetypes, but who become more charismatic as the plot progresses. 

If Godzilla vs Kong lost the viewer's attention every time the human arc came into focus, in The New Empire, the problem is not so apparent, with figures - still one-dimensional - that work in a better way. Present in the last film, Alexander SkarsgÄrd is replaced by fellow eye candy Dan Stevens, who plays a much more interesting, sensitive handsome guy. Rebecca Hall returns as Dr. Ilene Andrews, the same character, but with more salty, less boring screen time than the prequel. Brian Tyree Henry follows the same path as Rebecca, serving again as comic relief but with a welcome extra spice.

For enthusiasts of excessive violence, it is also worth noting that The New Empire (in the original) has a few extra minutes of frank beatings. Both the Japanese reptile and the North American mammal can be seen in numerous action sequences that are sure to put audiences closer to the edge of their seats. Without a shadow of a doubt, Adam Wingard got it right when he decided to give the kaiju some extra time under the spotlight, this time, now powered by mechanical arms, metal teeth, and other gadgets.

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

But fails at crucial points in development

Despite finding its high point in the action, when leaving it, the work in question deals with uncomfortable setbacks. With some scenes that are somewhat emotionally cheesy - which are not a problem - and predictable development, the plot is built on a series of comfortable solutions, even resorting to a Deus ex-machina (outlandish resolution) to resolve a certain adversity created (remember Project Power?).

Furthermore, for fans exclusively of Godzilla, The New Empire may be annoying because it is more of a Kong film than a giant lizard film. In it, we follow the gorilla's journey on a path to define the limits of his identity, while the Japanese threat has little to add in terms of plot. The narrative also has a serious pacing problem, where more drawn-out scenes and more rushed scenes completely disrupt the progress. In terms of special effects, it is possible to notice that work was done to humanize Kong's expressions, largely due to the character's dramatic arc. 

However, in much of the plot, The New Empire fails to make the audience believe that these titans are in fact giants, even in scenes where we have a visual comparison, such as in the fights amidst the buildings of large cities. Another point worth highlighting is that the timing for the film's release couldn't be worse, since, at the end of last year, we saw Godzilla: Minus One arrive in dark theaters, a feature film that ended up becoming a reference in the genre - and even won an Oscar. With an infinitely smaller team and budget, it is no exaggeration to say that Minus One far surpassed The New Empire, a point that will still be the subject of many comparisons.


In the end, is Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire worth watching?

If you're not a boring person like the one who writes to you, The New Empire will be a fun journey, full of humor and beautiful saturated colors. The work features a considerable number of titanic battles, almost always resulting in the destruction of large global locations. Despite having its setbacks, the film is clearly a blockbuster with the sole intention of entertaining. At this point, Godzilla x Kong fulfills its objective, immersing the viewer in a journey that will not be the most remarkable ever seen but will probably distract you for almost two hours.

With a soundtrack filled with 1980s synthesizers, the film is powered by songs already known to the general public, which can deliver a certain dose of euphoria, especially for the most nostalgic. The antagonism of the film is also a point to highlight, evolving especially if we compare it to the impersonal mecha that we found in the past production. And finally, for the more patriotic, Godzilla x Kong culminates in a surprising shot set in Brazil. Here, I won't go on too long to avoid spoilers but know that, in a way that has become a trend in Hollywood, the production decided to delve into exciting fanservice for the enthusiastic population of our country.

Summary

The New Empire will be a fun journey, full of humor and beautiful saturated colors. The work features a considerable number of titanic battles, almost always resulting in the destruction of large global locations. Despite having its setbacks, the film is clearly a blockbuster with the sole intention of entertaining.
6.7
Overall Score

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