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Film: Godzilla x Kong : The New Empire
Cast: Rebecca Hall, Kaylee Hottle, Brian Tyree Henry, Dan Stevens, Alex Ferns, Fala Chen, Rachel House, Mercy Cornwall
Director: Adam Wingard
Rating: 3/5
Runtime: 115 min

Gareth Edwards’ 2014 release, a highly appreciated and well recieved ‘Godzilla’ was followed by a rather erratic ‘Kong: Skull Island’ in 2017, further followed up by the low-quality ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ in 2019. Then came the dumb but fun ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ in 2021 which did rather well at the India and World-wide Box-office.

GxK manages to do what the previous iteration GvK couldn’t. This time Wingard gets the mix right and manages to right the wrongs of the earlier, rather messy sequel. This film balances spectacle of the monster battles with a fairly decent plot – just enough to keep the audience invested. The scaling is appropriate. Godzilla may not have a home run here but Kong definitely does and it’s a worthy one. Godzilla, Mothra and Shimo are just added Kaiju attractions here.

The plot provides enough motive and stakes to draw out interest into the primed for battle between the two gigantic monsters of this monsterverse. Three narratives work up some steam as the short and sweet runtime plays along. The team at Monarch detect unusual electromagnetic pulses coming from Hollow Earth. Monarch is also worried about the erratic behaviour of Godzilla, who is travelling around the earth consuming as much radioactive energy as he can. Kong researcher Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), is worried about it effect on her adopted daughter, Jia (Kaylee Hottle). So monster vet, Trapper (Dan Stevens) podcaster Bernie Hayes (Brian Tyree Henry),Ilene and Jia set off down to Hollow Earth. Each of these story arcs begin to converge, setting off a chain of reactions.

There may be  nothing particularly fresh or new here but the plot and characters are sharply delineated and there’s enough action and drama to lure the audience in. The narrative even tries to stretch the battlelines across countries and dig deeper into the core of mother Earth. The scenario for an impending global crisis is well set with fear mongering about Godzilla’s eventual waking up and connecting with signals coming from the ancient tribes surviving in Hollow Earth.

Kong is the true leader who is ready to go to any lengths to save everyone he cares about. And it’s this compassion that connects him with humans and monsters alike. The fearsome Skar King, is the main villain of this particular story and he has other apes to make up the numbers. Godzilla is used more sparingly. After the opening rampage, he is shown resting in the colloisseum in Rome.

The confrontation between monsters is well earned and impactful. There’s talk of Godzilla guzzling up atomic energy and using its force to quell enemies. Thankfully we don’t see much of that here. This one is mainly about Kong. His character arc is broader and more satisfying. Also, the audience is more comfortable relating to Kong than Godzilla. Rebecca Hall looks brainy and is suitably all-sacrificing, Dan Stevens and Brian Tyree Henry provide solid comic relief and the ancient natives lend the narrative a spiritual vibe. The visual palette is vintage and the tempo and vibrancy is strong here. Highly effective visual effects and CGI shore up the experience. The massive creatures blend well into their environments and the action sequences are beautifully setup. The VFX must be commended for its jaw-dropping depiction of  destruction of cityscapes while showcasing distinctive intricate details of the monsters themselves. This is definitely a highly satisfying entertainer.



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