Godzilla x Kong review: The weakest collab of the century

Jasmine Valentine
Godzilla in Godzilla x Kong

Who knew the x was silent? Still, it might as well be given that Godzilla x Kong isn’t actually much of a collaborative effort at all.

Pronounced Godzilla-Kong, unlike the first installment Godzilla vs. Kong in 2021, it would appear to the untrained eye that both epic titans have taken residence on the same side. However, what’s less obvious to those who only know of them from a distance is that there’s a whole host of titans waiting to take the two on. Not only are these fearsome beasts quickly skipped over, but the ultimate collab of Godzilla and Kong doesn’t properly happen.

Sure, fans who are looking for the pair to go tête-à-tête won’t be disappointed, with the last 20 mins of action sequences delivering anything a fan might need to keep their thirst for kaiju battles quenched. But in reality, it’s all a little bit hollow. One of our duo is sidelined from his own movie, making it almost pointless for him to star in it at all. The other runs away with the storyline, putting both his fellow titans and humans to shame.

It was always going to be a tough gig to follow the epically successful Godzilla Minus One, which was praised across the board for its artistic craft and commitment to introducing humanity to the franchise. Frankly, Godzilla x Kong has neither of these things, instead beelining for vibrant and overpacked chaos that often skips over the basic essentials of making a movie. If there needed to be another argument that sometimes a sequel shouldn’t be made, this is it. Warning: some spoilers ahead!

Kong is still King

Godzilla x Kong The New Empire b2

It’s fair to say that no monster has ever had an impeccable track record when it comes to film history — both Kong and Godzilla have had their respective duds — but Godzilla x Kong marks a new feat for these titans in different ways. For Kong, the sequel might be his most emotive and tender outing yet. Out-acting the humans he’s frequently brought into contact with, Kong scales the highs and lows of most character traits that would perfectly round out a coming-of-age teen flick. On a mission to find his community, Kong balances his violent tendencies and having a heart with aplomb.

The same, however, cannot be said for Godzilla. While Kong is in the middle of a subterranean existential crisis, Godzilla embarks on the titan version of interrailing, chowing down on any European landmark that he sees fit. Fleetingly brought out for cameo scenes, nothing about Godzilla’s terror-inducing reign or astonishing mythical powers is actually invested in, making his presence in his own supposed story all the more superficial.

This dynamic then begs the question of whether Godzilla x Kong would have been better as an out-and-out Kong movie. This is Kong’s story more than anyone else’s, with Godzilla only impeding any emotional weight. This is no Godzilla Minus One, with his appearance potentially fitting better as a Marvel-style surprise cameo.

Sharing is not exactly caring

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire Post-Credits Scene

Where Kong shines, not much else does. As potentially expected, the humans are the weakest element of Godzilla x Kong, with only Brian Tyree Henry and Kaylee Hottle providing some form of solace. When dialogue is there, not much lands — aside from the odd joke — with characters quite obviously spelling out what the VFX team has already made overwhelmingly obvious. The geographical logistics are baffling, with the tantalizing premise of exploring even more unknown titans instantly taken away.

That being said, Kong’s new arch-villain, the Skar King, is perhaps a perfect comment on the above-Earth society that he reflects. Egotistical with an incredibly disarming laugh, all other titans try to join forces in order to take a greater evil down. Some might see this as an overdrawn way to extend an already legless franchise, others might recognize a slither of hope that different identities can get their act together in real life.

Ultimately, it’s not the responsibility of a fantasy action film to teach or educate its audience — but it does need to deliver on the basic foundations of moviemaking. With side plots that are picked up and plonked in whenever creators feel like it to the most banal and abrupt of ends, Godzilla x Kong is a far cry away from a satisfying overall structure.

Godzilla x Kong review score: 2/5

It’s definitely fun to watch a giant ape and lizard smash stuff up, but Godzilla x Kong arguably even falls flat on a surface level. Failing to live up to its name by not really being a collaboration between two epic names, it arguably fails both of its subjects on a continuing basis. Hollywood might have a handle on Kong, but Godzilla is clearly best left to Toho.

Godzilla x Kong: A New Empire hits theaters on March 29. Find out how to get the themed Call of Duty bundle, who the villain is this time around, how to stream Godzilla Minus One, and find out how many Godzilla movies there are. Check out even more movies to stream this month as well.

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