Review: Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is big dumb fun

Enthusiasts of colossal creature carnage will find this silly new movie hits the mark and humbly delivers what the fans want.

It's very forgettable and couldn't really be described as a "good film", but it leans into its shortcomings in a way that's generally more charming than obnoxious - and it's mercifully less than two hours long.

I watched Godzilla, the film that kicked off the MonsterVerse, but haven't watched any of its movies or TV shows since then. That 2014 film I remember taking place on Earth, having a fairly serious tone and going with a less-is-more, slow reveal of the titular titan Godzilla.

How things change.

Before the title comes up just a few minutes into this fifth movie in the MonsterVerse, we've seen King Kong savagely kill mythical beasts in an alien world - apparently inside Earth - as well as Godzilla savagely kill some other mythical beast while destroying part of Europe.

The tone is verging on buffoonish with plenty of comic relief yet it still casually attempts dramatic stakes, but I don't think there's any 10-minute period that goes by where we don't see huge CGI monsters fighting.

If you've also skipped the previous MonsterVerse releases, don't worry about having to catch up on any convoluted lore. Story and logic are sacrificed at the altar of spectacle as the huge beasts duke it out across Earth and the enigmatic Hollow Earth realm, which is linked by a convenient portal.

The action is entertaining enough, but keep in mind the violence is sanitised to avoid an R rating and the visual effects are often bad. There's a lot of moving water involved with the CGI action and after Avatar: The Way of Water, in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire the water effects look cheap and ugly.

Godzilla and King Kong in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire .
Godzilla and King Kong in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire . Photo credit: Warner Bros. Discovery

But as with the film's general absurdity, there's a self-awareness and unapologetic approach to the bad VFX that, for me, made it more acceptable. The filmmakers wanted to show us Godzilla, King Kong and a bunch of other big monsters fighting for a couple of hours, without it costing a billion dollars to get it looking all pretty or making sense - if you can accept that trade-off, you'll be happy.

I do wish there were epic moments of the sort you excitedly recall with your buddies coming out of the cinema and then fondly remember years later. Alas, there are not; but I'm still pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable this dumb movie was.

It's so easy to get this sort of cinematic idiocy wrong - see Michael Bay's Transformers movies as prime culprits. But somehow Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire gets it right enough in delivering a whirlwind of titan combat.