Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

This is a scene from the movie "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire.” (OSV News photo/Warner Bros.)

NEW YORK (OSV News) — Moviegoers tempted by a title like “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” (Warner Bros.) are presumably not in search of Shakespearian levels of dramatic insight. Even so, the disparity between the reasonably impressive special effects on offer in the film and its low-grade human interaction remains noticeable.

In creating this sequel to 2021’s “Godzilla vs. Kong,” returning director Adam Wingard and screenwriters Terry Rossio, Simon Barrett and Jeremy Slater at least set themselves a fresh goal. Namely, to have the two familiar creatures of the title abandon their longstanding feud and unite for a worthy purpose.

Their human handlers hope the monsters — within this franchise known as Titans — can come together to defeat an evil ape king and the ice-spewing dragon he’s enslaved to serve his own purposes. Teamwork makes the dream work, after all.

In between the outsized battles that ensue, viewers are invited to care, once again, about the relationship between scientist Ilene (Rebecca Hall) and her adoptive indigenous daughter, Jia (Kaylee Hottle). Another character from the previous outing, podcaster Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry), is also part of the mix. Dan Stevens plays newbie Trapper, an adventurous veterinarian.

The movie’s respectful treatment of Jia’s deafness can be commended as implicitly pro-life. But the fact that Kong serves as the closest thing the story has to a moral compass is not a good sign.

Still, he frowns at oppression, befriends an initially hostile young simian of his own species and saves the life of an enemy — albeit only momentarily, since the rescued opponent proves implacable. All this is easier to take than the predictable idealization of the nature-friendly lifestyle of Jia’s extended tribe or the notion that they can communicate telepathically.

Such ideas might confuse impressionable kids. But this latest clash of the Titans is possibly acceptable for older adolescents, a few off-color exclamations in the dialogue notwithstanding.

The film contains stylized monster violence, about a dozen mild oaths, a few crude terms and a couple of crass expressions. The OSV News classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.


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