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Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

Updated: Apr 24

With every new, relentless film in the latest Godzilla series, it's easier to forget just how great and well-told Gareth Edwards 2014 film "Godzilla" was. It was smart, stunning to look at and clever as hell.

Ten years later, we're stuck with the fifth film in the current Monsterverse cycle, GODZILLA X KONG: THE NEW EMPIRE. My, how the mighty have fallen.

Instead of the the aural references to Kubrick's 2001 and tactical military attacks that brought "Aliens" to mind in Edwards' film, we get a giant ape with a robot arm and veterinarians in Hawaiian shirts offering giant ape dentistry while doing their best StarLord impression.

I love mindless action fun as much as anyone, but there's a massive chasm between mindless and stupid.

Godzilla rules over the Earth and King Kong rules over the middle-Earth, the fertile, vastly unexplored land at our planet's core.

The two still treat each other like nasty ex-spouses, so its best to keep them apart.

But, as is so predictable in any chapter 5, fresh giant creatures appear from new crevasses in the hollow Earth, unleashing the new creature of the week.

Warner. Bros and Legendary films (having a VERY good month since they also released Dune 2 together in early March) would describe what happens next as:

"Our titans clash in an epic battle as humans unravel their intertwined origins and connection to Skull Island's mysteries."

I would describe it as: "A couple of talented and humorous actors do everything they can to salvage a convoluted plot so tangled that you either have to be 8 years old or a giant monster nerd to make sense of it all".

But those two actors are a blast.

Brian Tyree Henry (Bullet Train, Joker) is back as internet podcaster and conspiracy fan Bernie Hayes. When Ilene Andrews (the returning Rebecca Hall) and her adopted daughter Jia, the little girl mentally bonded to Kong come calling with questions, he gets to join the adventure to Hollow Ground. The trip is, without a doubt, better with him there providing some moments of humor.

Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast, Downton Abbey) is also hugely enjoyable as Trapper, the aforementioned dentist to the beasts, who seems to always have a rock and roll soundtrack ready to blast, whether he's replacing giant ape canines or swooping in to save the day.

Honestly, it feels like the producers went to a writer's meeting and said, 'How do we get some "Guardians of the Galaxy" energy in this thing to liven things up?" That being said, if you're going to cast anyone as a Chris Pratt knockoff, Stevens is a terrific choice.

Giant animals of all sorts battle, hit, punch and bludgeon each other into oblivion. At one point Kong brandishes a giant baby ape (huh?) like a club to smack his adversaries, swinging Kong Jr like a club. We laughed out loud.

There's also a great cameo by a mega-titan monster that I won't ruin, but its a fun touch, taking me back to Saturday morning creature features of the 1970's.

But for the most part, this monsterverse has slipped very deep into Transformers territory. Those movies now just feature two hours of giant robots beating the crap out of each other and destroying giant landmarks around the world.

Yep, now the monsters are the same.

Is it kind of fun to see Godzilla sleeping inside the Roman Colosseum? Sure!

Does it start to get old after the creatures have destroyed several giant Roman landmarks, all of the Pyramids and most of Rio?


This might qualify as the loudest Dolby Cinema film I've almost fallen asleep in.

Let that serve as a testament to its suspense & storytelling.

With an $195 million opening weekend box office take versus its $135 million cost, we know there will be more of these movies.

I'm checking out.

I would ask you to keep me informed of anything major that happens in future installments, but that would imply that I still give a shit at this point.

I'll just lock my door on the way out of this series and brand this chapter with a D.

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