MARCH 30 ― What do you look for in a kaiju movie? That is the question you must first ask yourself before you walk into the cinema to see the latest instalment of the MonsterVerse franchise.

Five films in, and with the excellent Monarch: Legacy of Monsters series directly preceding the release of director Adam Wingard’s latest contribution to this franchise, not to mention the dozens of other Godzilla and King Kong movies that have existed prior to the MonsterVerse franchise and even concurrently (but outside of this franchise’s universe, Iike Shin Godzilla or last year’s awesome Godzilla Minus One), that really is a lot of lore and prior knowledge involved for what’s essentially two non-verbal giant monsters.

A screenshot of a scene from the 'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters' series.
A screenshot of a scene from the 'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters' series.


I’m not even going to pretend to have seen all the older Japanese Godzilla films, especially the ones where the names of other kaijus start to appear in the films’ titles like Godzilla vs Rodan, Godzilla vs King Ghidorah and the likes.

That’s just far too many films starring men in rubber suits that I can ever care to catch up with.

However, it helps that actually all four of the previous MonsterVerse films are very different from each other, which means that the filmmakers for this fifth one can just choose whichever direction they wish to pursue, and it still wouldn’t bother the MonsterVerse and kaiju fans too much.


Probably with that partly in mind, we have been gifted with what I think is the franchise’s most action packed and fast-paced film yet.

Unlike most of the previous films in the franchise, this film doesn’t go almost an hour laying out the humans’ storylines before we get to see what we really paid our hard-earned money to see in these films ― giant monsters wreaking havoc alone or against each other.

Yes, there’s still plenty of time spent with characters yapping about this or that to explain the movie’s world building, but never in ways that make us look at our watches wondering when the monster fights are going to come, because Wingard has done what every kaiju fanboy have been asking for all these years ― just get on with it and serve us those monster fights already, and as often as you can!

Just like how Godzilla Minus One reminded us all last year that kaiju films can be great and powerful works of art, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire will serve as a reminder to everyone that kaiju films can be fun and ridiculous too, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Serving as a direct sequel to Godzilla vs. Kong, which was also directed by Wingard, this movie wastes no time setting up the truce between Godzilla and Kong after their antics in the previous film, with Godzilla staying on Earth’s surface to protect us from other Titans and Kong making a home for himself on Hollow Earth, which can be a pretty lonely and often violent existence for Kong, who was supposedly the last of his kind.

If you’ve ever complained that the main problem with all the previous MonsterVerse films have always been the humans, then your wishes have come true with this one, with Wingard and screenwriters Terry Rossio, Simon Barrett and Jeremy Slater placing the Titans front and centre.

There’s even plenty of time devoted to non-verbal interactions between the Titans in this film, which makes it even more endearing to kaiju fans like me.

It’s almost as if the filmmakers have decided to really listen to the fans this time, and give us exactly what we’ve been asking for, and then some!

There are still humans involved, of course, and the human story involves Dr Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), her deaf adopted daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle), Titan veterinarian Trapper (Dan Stevens) and conspiracy podcaster Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry), but this time they’re really only in this film to make Godzilla and especially Kong look good, and to help explain to the audience some of the stuff that can’t be conveyed through the non-verbal ways that these Titans communicate with each other.

Kong is the star here, as he accidentally discovers another layer beneath Hollow Earth that has thus far been unexplored and comes into contact with a pack of giant apes that have been enslaved by the villain of this piece, the Scar King.

How they ended up there I will definitely leave it for you to find out for yourself in the film, with the help of some expository dialogue from the humans, of course.

But as you can probably already deduce from the film’s trailers, the Scar King will of course try to make his way onto the surface and wreak havoc on Earth, and it will be up to Godzilla and Kong (and a surprise Titan whose appearance made me squeal a little) to again team up and save the world from destruction.

As I said at the beginning of this article, what do you look for in a kaiju move? If you’re looking for something along the lines of the original Japanese Godzilla movie, or the fairly recent Shin Godzilla and Godzilla Minus One, you’re not going to find it here.

But if you’re looking for some fun and brainless kaiju mayhem, you’ll find so much to enjoy here, just like I did.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.