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Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

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In Theaters


Home Release Date




Bob Hoose

Movie Review

As the members of Monarch, the secretive scientific monitoring organization, look on, it appears that Kong is doing well in his newfound home of Hollow Earth. Sure, there are crowds of gigantic, slavering beasties to take on and rip into goopy chunks (and no Kongette to be found as of yet), but Hollow Earth seems to fit the big guy to a T.  

As for Godzilla, well, that atomic belching wonder stays closer to Earth’s surface. He either sleeps peacefully beneath the ocean depths or swims up to deal with any Titan dangers he happens to sense. So, that’s a manageable situation.

Life for Dr. Ilene Andrews isn’t going too badly either. Jia, her adopted daughter, is having a hard time fitting in with other kids at school. But that’s not difficult to understand. The girl is the deaf, last living member of the Iwi tribe from Kong’s Skull Island, after all. Jumping from that world into the routines of a human high school is no easy task.

That’s when all, uh, Hollow Earth breaks loose.

Strange electronic signal spikes start emanating from that place, sending Monarch’s instruments into a fuzzy tizzy. Those signals are also invading Jia’s dreams and giving her odd visions of massive creatures and destruction. But worse than all that, those spiked signals have gotten Godzilla all stirred up as well.

In fact, once Godzilla hits a nuclear power plant and drains it of all its radioactive energy, it becomes apparent that the giant reptile is purposely supercharging his atomic supply for some reason.

So, what is going on? Ilene wonders. The signals are definitely coming from Hollow Earth. And Jia says she thinks it’s actually a call for help. That’s a scary proposition.

What could be seeking help could in a land filled with gigantic deadly creatures? And what possibly be dangerous enough to frighten any person or thing living there? For that matter, how does the supercharging Godzilla fit into the equation?

It looks like Ilene will have to put together a crew, grab Monarch’s latest tech and dive down into Hollow Earth out for herself. She can’t help but think, though, that something bad is afoot.

Something very big and bad.

Positive Elements

[Note: Spoilers are contained in the following sections.]

Ilene feels a strong mother/daughter connection with Jia, and she repeatedly protects the girl. But Jia never quite feels like she belongs in the community of kids around her. So Ilene eventually gives in and allows Jia to accompany her to Hollow Earth because Jia is so in tune with the signal coming from there.

Once there, they discover a lost tribe of Iwi. And Jia has an instant connection with those people. This saddens Ilene, because she realizes that they can give Jia something that Ilene can’t. And she is willing to let Jia stay with them. But Jia expresses her love for Ilene and declares that she and Ilene belong together as a family.

Turns out there are tumultuous things transpiring in Hollow Earth. With all the destruction afoot, it’s clear that Kong is also willing to put himself in harm’s way to protect humans and a group of enslaved apes that he discovers. He steps up to battle a beastly boss called the Scar King and takes a great deal of punishment because of that heroic choice. Eventually, however, Kong is able to free the weak and battered slaves.

For his part, Godzilla isn’t quite so heroic. But after initially battling Kong, the giant radioactive reptile comes to understand that they must work together against the greater threat in Hollow Earth.

Ilene and the other humans who travel to Hollow Earth fight for one another. (But frankly, they’re rather superfluous and used to simply fill in the narrative gaps.)

Spiritual Elements

Once Ilene and the others discover the Iwi, they also find the ruins of a temple dedicated to the worship of the bug-like Titan Mothra. In fact, the Iwi show them writings that reveal a spiritual lore involving Titans and other Kong-like apes who were assigned (by some unexplained spiritual entity) to be protectors of Earth and humanity.

There’s also mention in the writings about an Iwi tribesman from Skull Island (Jia) who would come and call forth Mothra for a great battle. Jia feels this spiritual connection and gains the prophesied special power (unexplained), and she summons the giant moth Titan with a power-filled touch.

The Iwi of Hollow Earth don’t speak. But they can communicate telepathically. They’re also supernaturally able to manipulate gravity (again, unexplained). Enormous power crystals also seem to be tied into the Iwi’s telepathic abilities, allowing them to project their thoughts over great distances.

Sexual Content

There’s a very brief wink to the fact that Ilene and a guy named Trapper had a relationship when they attended college together.

Violent Content

The heart and soul of this pic centers on the fevered battles between the gigantic Titans. And the CGI effects here are incredibly realistic and visually vibrant.

It’s perhaps suggested that thousands die in the cities that Godzilla and others smash through. But that destruction, in Spain, Rome, France and other heavily populated parts of the world, is displayed in spectacular, building- and bridge-crumbling images. (In virtually all of these cases we see crowds of tiny people running from the devastation, as well as vehicles falling from bridges and the like.)

A massive battle between five huge Titans is the viscerally destructive gemstones in the story as these gigantic creatures batter and blaze at one another, decimating miles of cityscape.

Early on, part of that urban destruction is brought about simply by Godzilla’s efforts to power up for the battle ahead. He rips open a nuclear plant and inhales the glowing radioactive byproduct. Jets fly in to stop him, but brutally brushes them aside like flies. He gets so radioactively hot that just passing through or by cities melts and burns nearby structures. Godzilla also battles an electrically charged Titan. After ripping this creature to pieces, he proceeds to enter its lair and absorb its pink-tinged energy.

Some of the giant battles are much goopier than others. Kong rips a large wolflike creature in two, for instance, letting the entrails and green blood pour down over him. He also kills a sea serpent and then sits down to gobble up its flesh and entrails.

The Scar King is another huge ape that kills as he goes. He kicks another ape into a pool of lava and beats his slave apes. He also fights with a whip-like weapon that chokes Kong and then rips gashes in his arms and hands. The Scar King controls an enormous Ice Titan with a painful device as well. That Titan freezes Kong’s arm, making it useless due to massive frostbite. The monster breaths its ice breath on a number of creatures. And at one point it freezes another Titan solid before that creature is smashed into small frozen chunks.

Someone gets gobbled up by a predator plant. The Egyptian pyramids are smashed and decimated by atomic blasts from Godzilla. A giant crustacean is zapped into a green pulpy mush. Ilene and crew discover a Monarch outpost in Hollow Earth that has been destroyed. We see the bloody legs of a left-behind corpse as well as a huge bloody handprint on a mountain side.

Crude or Profane Language

There are three s-words in the dialogue, along a handful of uses of “h—” and one or two uses each of the words “d–n” and “a–.”

God’s name is misused five times.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Kong is injected with drugs on two occasions. The first time, he’s rendered unconscious so that Trapper can remove and replace a broken tooth. The second time, he’s given something that helps his very frostbitten arm. (He’s also strapped into an electrified arm brace that Trapper calls “project powerhouse.”)

Other Negative Elements

A large group of Kong-like apes are treated like slaves and forced to labor by the Scar King. He and his minion apes beat, torment and, in one case, kill some of the slaves.

Trapper points out to a podcaster named Bernie that if he tells the world about the Iwi, it will likely ruin this idyllic but rather defenseless community. (He mentions similar cases from history.)


Godzilla and Kong movies used to be much simpler fare. In fact, they were generally straightforward things: Monsters rose up and destroyed cities, but at the same time, they metaphorically reminded us of the threat of atomic extinction and other social ills.

Today’s Godzilla and Kong and their Monsterverse peers are much more complicated constructs. Not only are the beasties anthropomorphized to exhibit human emotions and feelings, they also come from a hidden away Hollow Earth populated with ancient tribes of people who have enslaved Kong-like apes and huge magic crystals.

In fact, there’s even monster worship going on there that we didn’t know about as well as a centuries-old, twisting and turning lore that paints these kaiju beasties as the heroic and godlike protectors of humanity. (If, that is, it’s possible to “protect” and stomp your charges to mulch at the same time.)


All that story bloat is thanks to scores and scores of writers trying to pad their tales with something new and interesting over the years, but it’s gotten to the point of being ridiculously difficult to wrap one’s brain around it all. (Definitely don’t go in with your thinking cap on.) And except for the recently released and highly praised Godzilla Minus One, humans in these features tend to either be pointless add-ons or running crowds of teeny screeching ants (squish!)

But does any of that matter? Probably not.

These days, the audience shows up for the colossal CGI spectacle; the behemothian pulverizing and earsplitting, atomic breath bedazzlement. That and the sight of giant creatures being ripped into goopy and apparently edible chunks.

And there’s tons of all that in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire.

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Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.