Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire

Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire isn’t as fun or exciting as Godzilla vs. Kong was. It has a lot of special effects sequences, but to get to them, you have to sit through a lot of scenes in which the characters discuss expository dialogue about the creatures. By the time you get to the effects, you’re worn down, and not even the excitement of the climax is enough to save it.

This sequel opens up with Godzilla and Kong in their environments as the former watches over Earth, taking down any creatures that threaten the planet. He makes the Roman Colosseum his bed. Meanwhile, Kong makes his home in Hollow Earth.

As for the humans, Rebecca Hall returns as a scientist and adoptive mother to Kaylee Hottle’s Jia, her deaf daughter. Bryan Tyree Henry is back as a podcaster, and Dan Stevens is back as a vet. No doubt they’ll all come into play.

Kong discovers a portal where he meets more of his own kind, including a young ape who ends up being his travel companion. Kong learns that a tribe is attempting to destroy his world and Earth as well. That’s pretty much the setup of the plot. Here’s where all the exposition comes from, with occasional special effects to break up the monotony.

The scenes involving some of the new creatures aren’t all that impressive, but one iconic monster that I won’t reveal is impressive.

As for the rest of the movie, with each scene involving lackadaisical plot threads, the more the movie’s energy level gets wasted and tiresome. Godzilla vs Kong worked hard to find a balance between story and effects, and while it wasn’t a great movie, it was still fun. This one is marginally imaginative, but those scenes are sparse.

Plus, there seem to be a lot more scenes that focus on Kong instead of Godzilla. The movie is supposed to feature them teaming up, but that only happens in the climax, and there are no convincing scenes to establish that we should really care or get involved.

One good thing about it is that there is no post-credit scene to set up an inevitable follow-up, although it’s pretty likely there will be one. If there is, I want the next movie to feature equal amounts of silly effects and a less sluggish story. The New Empire may work for its target audience, but even they will want more.

Grade: C+

(Rated PG-13 for creature violence and action.)


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