Godzilla, Kong, and a New Battle of the Titans: These are the movie highlights of the week

Godzilla and King Kong together on the big screen, we’ve seen that before. In 2014, “Godzilla” launched a new monster-verse franchise, and after several standalone films for the monster lizard and the monster ape, it culminated in “Godzilla vs. Kong” in 2021. First, they fought spectacularly against each other, then teamed up against Mechagodzilla, and in the end, the balance of things seemed somehow restored. That could have neatly concluded the matter. However, the monster-verse is getting yet another addition with a fifth film. The latest Kaiju spectacle is called “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire.”

Also new in theaters: “Immaculate” turns a visit to the monastery into hell on earth, and with “Andrea Gets Divorced,” Austrian filmmaker Josef Hader presents his second directorial work.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire Long before the release of “Godzilla vs. Kong,” the creatives behind the scenes were toying with the idea of bringing more sequels to the monster-verse series. When the last film became one of the commercially most successful of the COVID era, plans for the fifth installment quickly materialized. “Godzilla x Kong” was directed by Adam Wingard, who also directed “Godzilla vs. Kong.” This time, the screenplay was written by Simon Barrett, Terry Rossio, and Jeremy Slater.

How can this story be meaningfully continued after the already concluded showdown between Godzilla and King Kong? Continuing the narrative didn’t seem quite straightforward for the creators, as revealed by the interim working titles of this project. It was first “Son of Kong,” then “Origins,” and later simply “Godzilla and Kong.” The idea of Baby Kong persisted, though. A cute mini-version of King Kong appeared in the trailers for “Godzilla x Kong.” But of course, it’s not the major threat in this blockbuster production.

“We’ve detected a signal,” explains scientist Dr. Andrews (Rebecca Hall), one of several recurring human characters from the last film. “Kong, Godzilla, they feel it too. Something is coming for us – something even they fear.” Later, it’s specified: “It’s not just a signal. It’s a call to war.” Meaning: even bigger, even meaner, even more monstrous opponents for Godzilla and Kong. And, as always, plenty of destruction (including this time, ancient Egyptian pyramids being reduced to rubble).

In the US, “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” premiered on Good Friday, while its release in this country comes after the Easter holidays. Most critics have been rather restrained and disillusioned so far. However, the initial audience reactions are much more positive. After the opening weekend, “Godzilla x Kong” has already grossed nearly $200 million (with a budget of around $135 million). So it’s quite possible that the story of King Kong and Godzilla isn’t definitively over even after this battle for a “new empire.”

Kron Aaron


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