Pure silly monster fun

Film review of Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire. Picture: ON FILE

By Seth Lukas Hynes

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

Starring Rebecca Hall, Dan Stevens and Kaylee Hottle

Rated M

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is the most well-rounded and resoundingly entertaining entry in Legendary Pictures’ Monsterverse.

The giant monsters Godzilla and Kong must team up to defeat a world-ending threat from the depths of Hollow Earth.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is replete with thrilling, brutal, globe-trotting monster action, and it’s well-paced and structured. Godzilla, Kong and the demented villain Skar King are the giant engines propelling the plot forward, which deftly weaves together Kong’s search for the rest of his kind, the island girl Jia’s (Kaylee Hottle, returning from Godzilla vs Kong) psychic visions and need to find her place in the world, and Godzilla’s exponentially-growing power in a brisk 115 minutes.

Once again, Kong is a noble, fearsome yet vulnerable figure (and effectively the protagonist), and he forms a touching bond with a child of his species. It’s become a dorky cliché – though still true – to say that the American Godzilla movies have bad human characters, but The New Empire is a big exception.

Most of the human characters don’t have much of a constructive role in the plot, but are still likeable and fun to follow, and Dan Stevens is extremely entertaining as Trapper, a plucky monster vet.

Skar King is a terrifying new villain, but his trapped minion Shimo is underdeveloped, and The New Empire also has some clunky exposition and murky world-building.

Watch Godzilla Minus One for a smarter, more dramatic Godzilla movie, but Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire finally gets the Monsterverse recipe right for a swift, silly, savagely thrilling monster extravaganza in the style of Showa Godzilla movies from the sixties and seventies, and is playing in most Victorian cinemas.