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By far the silliest entry in Warner's Monsterverse saga so far, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire eschews the human touch altogether and its monster battles lack the oomph to compensate.

In the four previous pictures of the rebooted Godzilla and Kong franchise, filmmakers made a concerted effort to let human stories drive the plot, sometimes deftly, often clunkily. But The New Empire couldn’t care less about humans, as director Adam Wingard is focused on one thing only: endless sequences of fighting monsters.

This time around, the story asks for Godzilla and Kong to fight a common enemy: a Hollow Earth giant ape army that wants to overrun the planet. Cue a long, elaborate set-up with lots of lazily designed, visually gaudy CGI worlds and characters that isn’t that far removed from the most generic computer game you can think off.

It doesn’t help that Wingard shoots the action with a dizzying lack of clarity and that the narrative gets sillier and more childish with each passing minute. To boot, the third act standoff, which sees the titular characters destroy entire cities and world heritage sites without remorse, doesn’t nearly live up to its epic billing with a predictable, suspense-free fight that quickly fizzles out.

As you have probably guessed already, the cast are just bystanders amid the CGI overload. Rebecca Hall is saddled with a constant stream of horrible, expositional dialogue, while Brian Tyree Henry is called upon to be a perfunctory, annoying sidekick. And you know your film’s in trouble when not even the always fun Dan Stevens can’t breathe life into a campy maverick character.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire thus is the most bloated and least enjoyable film in the Monsterverse so far. There’s one silver lining: the inevitable sequel can’t possibly by any worse, can it?

release: 2024

director: Adam Wingard

starring: Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, Dan Stevens, Kaylee Hottle


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