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GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE

Written By:

Jack Bottomley
Godzilla-X-Kong-The-New-Empire

The MonsterVerse returns to the big screen in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire and in the process proves it is perhaps cinema’s greatest current shared universe.

Following up Godzilla vs. Kong, director Adam Wingard’s film sees Kong at home in the Hollow Earth, still yearning the company of his own kind, while Godzilla is on the surface maintaining balance among the Titans. However, technical disruptions from an uncharted area of the Hollow Earth seem to spell danger. As something is calling out, and a great ancient threat is getting ready to emerge, and this force may be too much to handle for even Kong or Godzilla…at least alone.

There is no doubt about it, after last year’s Godzilla: Minus One, and the continuing progression of the MonsterVerse, there has perhaps been no better time to be a fan of these legendary titans of cinema. And where the former nailed the thematic grounded storytelling this franchise originated from, Godzilla x Kong likewise nails the lore-filled spectacle and excitement audiences have come to expect. 

The beauty of the MonsterVerse has been how it has allowed each filmmaker the free reign to make their own movies, and how they all stand together proudly different, distinct and yet reflective of the changing ages of the iconic monsters on which they are based.

To that point, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is an absolute treat for anyone who has ever grown up with these monsters or their stories, particularly the fans of Toho’s Showa era. It is a cinematorium-rattling monster battle royal of the highest order, with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes soul meets WWE-style brawling (heck, we even get a suplex). And the kind of mainstream western Godzilla/Kong film that years ago you would have thought impossible to see!

Visually this film is beautiful, with otherworldly settings and imaginative cinematography, and immaculate designs of its monsters both great and small. Once again, seeing this universe conjuring up some majestic visual power, alongside a rousing score by Tom Holkenborg and Antonio Di Iorio, which subtly integrates some motifs from previous films without being defined by them.

The action is outstanding, and the roster of monsters constantly inventive, impactful and surprising (the marketing didn’t reveal everything folks), with the villain of the piece being genuinely the stuff of nightmares, while another new – slightly smaller – addition is heart-meltingly sweet. Wingard knows the brief here and delivers an occasionally crazy story that allows these monsters to take centre stage, with large parts of the story relying on their own very fleshed out characters and some visually-driven moments of dialogue-free narrative, which truly shows off the film’s effects and the life beneath them.

That said, the human element is rather good too here, with Dan Stevens’ new addition of Ace Ventura-esque vet Trapper being the undeniable charismatic standout! Alongside returning faces like Brian Tyree Henry’s Bernie, Rebecca Hall’s Monarch leader Dr. Ilene Andrews and Kaylee Hottle’s Jia. 

Despite all the action, set pieces and devastation though, the most impressive thing about this film is the heart that beats beneath it. There are some poignant notes along the way here, about culture, nature and the inherent beauty of the world and its importance, as well as a particularly strong story for the character of Kong about finding a home and a tribe, and liberating a kingdom. This is a film of many surprises, which has the insane action and explosiveness but makes time for the quiet moments too, as well as some enjoyable homages to not only other kanji fare but a few surprising other movies too, such as a Jason X!

No doubt, some will come in ready to pick apart logic, reality or feasibility but this wildness of the script and story all only adds to the experience and takes you back in time to a whole previous era of kaiju stories and filmmaking. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is an exhilarating, bone-crunching and heartfelt cinematic spectacle. That takes you on one hell of a ride, with laughs, emotions and fist-raising feel good joys. Sit back, relax, and enjoy this battle for Hollow Earth, preferably with a massive crowd cheering on every mech-coated punch and roaring at every atomic blast.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is possibly the most fun you will have in a cinema this year. Long Live The MonsterVerse!

stars

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is in cinemas from Friday 29th March

Jack Bottomley

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