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Review: ‘Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire’ is Peak Cinema

By Hamza Saeed     4/9/24 11:48pm

RATING: ★★★★

There is no easy way to quantify a film, much to the chagrin of lazy film critics and lazier audiences. We may try to force a movie to fit into a box labeled ⅗ or ⅘ , but occasionally, there appears a work of art that refuses such indignity. A breathtaking fabrication that rejects the premise of a “rating,” whatever that monstrous practice might entail. These magna opera simply are. Along this line of thought, it makes sense to characterize this film for what it is, rather than lambast it for what it is not. This movie is about giant monkeys and lizards fighting. 

Now, give the monkey a mechanical power fist and let the lizard have radioactive fire breath, and you have begun to comprehend the ambitious scale of this movie. 

“Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” is the latest edition in the MonsterVerse, a film franchise produced by Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures that has generally received positive critical and audience reception since its first installment, “Godzilla” (2014). The latest episode centers around Kong who, following the aftermath of “Godzilla vs. Kong”, is now attempting to find his presumably extinct kin, as he wanders his new habitat of Hollow Earth. 

And yes, this 335-foot tall monster gorilla literally lives in an ecosystem under the crust of the Earth. This concept, which was once an actual conspiracy theory (and still is in some … interesting circles) is somehow the least nonsensical thing about the whole plot. We would attempt to describe to you the rest of the story, but it is so bizarre that you would be better off reading a multi-page synopsis online. Watching the movie would also just take less time.

It would be a disservice to all those involved in the making of this movie, and the movie itself, to attempt a systematic deconstruction of this movie — although, for the record, it does have awkward writing and gauche acting, to say the least. Let’s start our analysis with this: have you ever had a friend (business majors can pause here), that warns you to ‘turn off your brain’ before a movie? For this movie, you will need to surgically remove your brain and dump it into the nearest smoothie blender. My goodness, does this movie play fast and loose with the science (trust Hamza on this, he’s a BIOE). The movie gradually stops trying to justify its own happenings, until the only in-universe explanation left is some form of wizardry.  The Scar King’s whip consists of a spinal cord connected to a magic crystal that can control a Godzilla-style ice monster. We could only begin to describe to you how increasingly ridiculous this movie gets before we begin running into other sections of this newspaper.

Director Adam Wingard achieves what he hopefully established as his goal when he signed on — we were truly entertained. There’s no way around it. In that sense then, this product is successful. We (shamefully) surrender ourselves to rampant consumerism, problematic corporate messaging and the slimy pompousness of Hollywood. Why? Because Hamza is, on every level (including physical) essentially a slightly more intelligent monkey. Aren’t we all? Warner Bros. have tapped into that primal instinct that we all share, the desire — no, need — to see a cyborg monkey and radioactive lizard duke it out in Brazil. 

It delivers on its promise; this is an entertaining film with cool visuals that won’t leave you disappointed. Could they have added in more fight scenes and multi-monster visuals? Maybe a consistent or coherent plot? Interesting side characters? Sure, probably. But in the end, we must acquiesce; this movie truly was a success.

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