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‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire’ Review: More Brawn Than Brain

When ‘Godzilla vs Kong’ hit cinemas, it marked a peculiar moment – the first major blockbuster to grace the big screens since the onset of Covid, shutting them down a year prior. Despite low expectations fuelled by the disappointment of previous Godzilla films, audiences were eager for a dose of escapism, and this clash of titans emerged as an unlikely saviour, both commercially and critically.

Now, three years later, as normality begins to resume, the demand for another instalment seems somewhat diminished. However, given the recent industry setbacks, a monster hit wouldn’t go amiss, especially with the first few months of 2024 lacking in major releases.

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Image Courtesy: Empire

‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empir’e appears poised to fill this gap, projected to rake in $135 million worldwide in its opening weekend. Yet, in the wake of the Oscar-winning ‘Godzilla Minus One,’ expectations may be tempered, with diminishing returns anticipated for those venturing out to cinemas. It’s a still enjoyable but noticeably messier affair – a second round that’s more of a draw than a clear victory.

The film kicks off with an uneasy truce: Godzilla maintains his reign as king and protector of the world, while Kong remains in the Hollow Earth, a mystical realm discovered in the previous instalment. However, Kong’s infected tooth and a sense of isolation prompt his return to humanity, alongside a greater threat looming over Jia (portrayed by Kaylee Hottle), who shares a bond with Kong.

Image Courtesy: Collider

Director Adam Wingard’s knack for balancing tone was instrumental in the success of the previous film, injecting much-needed levity into the franchise. His return keeps the film light and vibrant, a refreshing departure from the gloom of previous entries. However, the script, penned by a trio, struggles to match Wingard’s energy. Human characters take a backseat, with dialogue ranging from perfunctory to downright cringe-worthy.

Despite luminous performances from Rebecca Hall and the returning Brian Tyree Henry, the comedic elements fall flat, particularly during the middle stretch.

Image Courtesy: Parade

Nevertheless, the film delivers where it counts – in the exhilarating action sequences. Wingard’s ability to choreograph large-scale battles with coherence and logic is commendable, culminating in a breathtaking final act. However, with a two-hour runtime, the film’s limitations become apparent, and the human subplot feels more like a hindrance than a complement to the monster clashes.

In the end, it’s the awe-inspiring spectacle of giant monsters duking it out that keeps audiences hooked. While the film may falter in some areas, it still scratches that primal itch for blockbuster entertainment. Yet, one can’t help but wonder if a future instalment focusing solely on the monsters wouldn’t be a welcome change.

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