Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire gives us so much more than just Titan brawls

The New Empire grabs the baton from its predecessors and sprints with it into a realm of visual splendor and relentless action. In other words, it's epic.

Godzilla vs. King Kong: The New Empire - ©2023 Warner Bros
Godzilla vs. King Kong: The New Empire - ©2023 Warner Bros /

When I was 11 years old, my mom picked me up from school early (just me - sorry, sister) and took me to the theaters to watch Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. It was a really cool memory that we both cherish and I remember how excited I felt going to see such a kickass movie while I was supposed to be at school. So, now that I'm a mom myself, I'd been looking for a movie I could do the same with but, this time, bring along my twin daughters.

And then, the preview for Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire was released. I understood the assignment - I bought us three tickets for the very first showing available in our theater, picked the girls up from school early, and took them to watch a movie they won't be forgetting any time soon. And neither will I.

Imagine diving into a world where skyscraper-sized beasts reign supreme, where every turn of the corner introduces you to a spectacle that makes your jaw drop, and where logic takes a backseat to let imagination run wild. That's basically what Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is. The TL;DR is to buckle up, MonsterVerse fans, because this review is coming from a place of pure, unadulterated Godzilla fandom, and this movie is a carnival of colossal clashes.

SPOILER WARNING FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T WATCHED GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE. While I won't be spoiling the whole movie, there are some pretty cool parts I'd rather have you experience for yourself first, and then read later.

(L-r) DAN STEVENS as Trapper, REBECCA HALL as Dr. Ilene Andrews and KAYLEE HOTTLE as Jia in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “GODZILLA x KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Daniel McFadden © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

The New Empire grabs the baton from its predecessors and sprints with it into a realm of visual splendor and relentless action. Godzilla and Kong, two behemoths of the monster world, turn our world into their personal playground once again. It’s like someone took the most epic moments of monster brawls from our favorite subreddits and spliced them into a cinematic spectacle.

This beast of a movie caters to both the die-hard fans thirsting for monster-on-monster action (hi, it's me, I'm a die-hard fan thirsting for some monster-on-monster action) and those who've somehow managed to dodge the MonsterVerse until now. Yes, I'm looking at you, hypothetical person who’s making their kaiju debut with film number five. The storyline is simple enough to follow but woven with so much lore that keeps the superfans engaged, throwing a ton of technological jargon at the audience. I, for one, am not very scientifically inclined, so I have to admit that most of the facts they used to justify the Hollow Earth physics and such definitely went over my head - so imagine how much went over my twin's head as well, as they're only 7.

The dynamic of "Godzilla above, Kong below" is actually really cool, especially considering their history of frenemy firefights. This time, Kong's taking the emotional lead. He's already been shown to be the expressive and most human-like out of this dynamic duo, and The New Empire totally harps on this point, showing signs of age and a longing for connection that makes us root for him even more. If you've read any of my MonsterVerse pieces before, I am not shy in admitting that I am a huge 'Zilla fangirl and not very into Kong, but this movie has actually helped him secure a place in my heart. There's a bit of a fumble when it comes to humanizing the human characters, though. Despite Rebecca Hall's excellent return as Dr. Ilene Andrews, the human drama sidelined in this movie, overshadowed by the sheer scale and spectacle of titan troubles - which makes perfect sense.

And, honestly? I went to theaters wanting to see Titans duking it out and punching the crap out of each other, not for the human drama - and that's exactly what this movie delivers so nicely.

Trapper, the hottest monster vet alive (because apparently, that's a job now), feels like he's wandered in from a different movie entirely but his presence is entirely welcome. His role, along with Brian Tyree Henry as the ever-so-relatable Bernie, gives the movie a refreshingly well-delivered comedic side. Not overly done, but relatable comedy and it fit perfectly with the overall plot.

But let's get to the meat of the matter – the titanic tussles that make this movie a must-watch for action addicts. The visuals are a feast for the eyes, with new creatures, bone-chilling villains, and battle scenes that redefine the word "epic". The Skar King emerges as a villain of nightmarish proportions, enslaving Kong's kin and setting the stage for a showdown that's as visually arresting as it is emotionally distant. His body language was on point. Actually, that's something the movie does extremely well consistently - whenever we see Baby Kong (that's what my kiddos lovingly named the tiny menace that is the little red ape) and his tribe of apes interacting with Kong, not a single word is spoken. It's all grunts, expressions, and gestures, and you absolutely get the entire conversation and how quickly it goes south. The way The New Empire can tell you a story or conduct a scene with no dialogue yet you know exactly what's being said is perfect.

And then there's the King of Monsters, the lizard, the myth, the legend - Godzilla, who, in a shocking twist, dons a new shade of pink. Refreshing AF, especially considering how and why he does it. He's a bit more expressive in this movie as well, and I have to say that seeing him take naps inside the Colosseum was something I didn't even know I needed to see. Adorable. I have totally not looked for two Colosseum-shaped dog beds for my furry babies because of it, not at all. Together with Kong, 'Zilla faces off against the Skar King and "Elsa" (which is what my kiddos also lovingly called Shimo, the icy lizard we're introduced to) in a battle that's every bit as over-the-top as you'd hope.

Also, now I know how weirdly cool it feels to see a Titan (or four, in this case) have their huge, gigantic monster brawl in your country and city. Americans, Europeans, and the Japanese have always seen their cities leveled in epic fights, but now it was my and my people's turn - watching the final and main showdown completely destroy Rio de Janeiro made this Brazilian woman pretty excited. Weird, I know, but it's me - what do you expect?

All in all, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is a visual marvel that pushes the boundaries of monster mayhem to new heights. It's an all-you-can-eat buffet of sensory overload, with a side of thinly sliced human drama that you might not miss if you skipped it. While it occasionally stumbles over its own ambitions, trying to juggle a ton of different elements in a limited runtime, it remains a triumphant celebration of what makes the MonsterVerse so thrilling.

For those of us ready and willing to suspend disbelief and embrace the spectacle, it’s a wildly fun ride through a world where giants walk (and brawl) among us.

GxK. A-. "The New Empire grabs the baton from its predecessors and sprints with it into a realm of visual splendor and relentless action.". - Camila Domingues/Bam Smack Pow. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

Next. MonsterVerse: Every Titan ranked from weakest to strongest. MonsterVerse: Every Titan ranked from weakest to strongest. dark