'Godzilla X Kong' Brings More Great Action but Lackluster Characters

Ulises Duenas


Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire is a strange movie because it shows that the creators can make a competent giant monster movie while using amateur tricks in its script. It’s a fun movie, but one that is more frustrating to watch than it should be.


After King Kong and Godzilla go to war before teaming up against Mechagodzilla, they establish a truce where King Kong rules over the center of the world and Godzilla has dominion over the surface. The global organization Monarch is also keeping tabs on all Titan (giant monsters) activity in case new threats pop up. After so many movies and a series on Apple TV, it’s clear that this franchise has become a well-oiled machine, which also makes it harder to watch new entries without prior knowledge of what’s happened. 



One of the strongest aspects of this movie is its ability to convey the story through the body language and facial expressions of the Titans. The story mostly revolves around Kong and his search for a true home within Hollow Earth. He exhibits a wide range of emotions and can communicate with other giant apes in a way that makes words unnecessary.


What’s strange is that despite being able to tell a story without words, the script is full of hamfisted exposition dumps and lines that explain the plot in a clumsy way. It’s as though the writers assume that their audience isn’t very bright, so they must be spoonfed all the information. Even though it’s a giant monster movie and not a mature character drama, this type of lazy writing is just insulting to the viewer.



Of course, anyone who’s coming to this movie is doing so to watch the Titans fight, and it delivers great battles. Kong and Godzilla have their fights in the first half but eventually team up to fight the new big, bad villain: the Scar King -- a giant ape that lives in exile within Hollow Earth with other apes he’s enslaved. It gives Kong some personal stake in the story since he’s finally found the remnants of his people only to see the awful state they’re living in. Godzilla, on the other hand, doesn’t have much to do except thrash monsters and look cool. 


The spectacle of the Titans’ battles is great and is sure to please fans of the genre. There’s a decent amount of creativity in these brawls, so there’s more on offer than the standard fare. The only drawback of the action is that the final fight seemed too short considering it’s the film's climax. Even though the action should be the focus, the creators get too wrapped up in developing the lore of this monster universe, and it ends up making the middle chunk of the movie feel slow. 



These movies appeal to a specific audience, and even though it’s great that iconic monsters like King Kong and Godzilla are getting big-budget entries, they are continually bogged down by flat characters and insistence that there should be a focus on developing lore and human drama.

You can’t beat the allure of the big screen for these kinds of movies, but I also wish you had the option of just skipping the fluff to get to the good stuff. It’s far from high art, but there is an art to this genre, which this series has yet to perfect.


Author Bio:

Ulises Duenas is a senior writer and film critic at Highbrow Magazine.


For Highbrow Magazine


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