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Summary

  • Godzilla x Kong brings a fresh take by teaming up the iconic monsters to face new threats in an action-packed scale.
  • Monsterverse continues to expand with movies and TV shows like Skull Island and Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.
  • Kong: Skull Island introduces a different take on King Kong with a well-rounded human cast and excellent cinematography.
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Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire is the latest installment in Warner Bros. and Legendary’s kaiju franchise and takes the series to new levels of action and scale. While Godzilla: King of the Monsters saw Godzilla square off with his Toho brethren, Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah, and Godzilla vs. Kong saw the scaly Titan duke it out with King Kong himself, the new film sees Godzilla and Kong team up to deal with new threats. But there’s a line of movies and shows to explore first in Warner Bros.’ Monsterverse.

Godzilla x Kong is the seventh installment in the Monsterverse franchise so far. Each movie has brought a different energy to the franchise, with Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Godzilla vs. Kong, and Kong: Skull Island focusing more on monster action, while Godzilla was a lot more pathological and moody. The addition of TV shows in 2023 also added depth to the franchise in animation and live-action, with the animated Skull Island and Apple TV+’s live-action Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.

Monsterverse Movies & TV Shows

Movie/Show

Release Date

Godzilla

May 16, 2014

Kong: Skull Island

March 10, 2017

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

May 31, 2019

Godzilla vs. Kong

March 31, 2021

Skull Island

June 22, 2023

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters

November 17, 2024

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

March 29, 2024

Skull Island

The First Monsterverse Animated TV Series

Skull Island
Cast
Nicolas Cantu , Mae Whitman , Darren Barnet , Benjamin Bratt , Betty Gilpin
Release Date
June 22, 2023
Seasons
1
Writers
Brian Duffield

Netflix’s Skull Island isn’t a bad animated series by any means, but it’s underwhelming compared to the mind-blowing live-action entries in the Monsterverse. Skull Island makes for an interesting setting, with kaiju action on a miniature scale compared to the enormous Titans of Godzilla x Kong. Skull Island is one of the most well-written Monsterverse installments, with fun, enjoyable characters who undoubtedly have more depth than many of the movie protagonists.

Skull Island is a show for true fans of the franchise, especially since it embraces Kong, who has become a fan favorite in the Monsterverse. However, its poor placement is due to the fact that it distinguishes itself from the rest of the series in its medium but doesn’t offer anything particularly outstanding to attract audiences as a standalone project. Skull Island provides an engaging narrative, solid animation artwork, and depth to the Monsterverse’s Kong, but it’s ultimately not as fulfilling an experience as the live-action installments.

Related

Godzilla’s Role In Godzilla X Kong Is A Major Disappointment

Godzilla is the Alpha Titan of the Monsterverse, but his role in Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire didn’t match how important he is to the franchise.

Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island Introduces Kong To The Monsterverse

Kong: Skull Island
Director
Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Release Date
March 10, 2017
Runtime
2hours

The first King Kong film since Peter Jackson’s King Kong, which was released in 2005, avoids re-treading the classic story in favor of a revamped origin that fits the mighty ape into a broader world.

Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Kong: Skull Island is charming and energetic. It has arguably the strongest Monsterverse cast to date—Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, and Samuel L. Jackson—but it lacks the psychology of Godzilla or the bombast of King of the Monsters.

The Vietnam War parallels are well-tuned, and the terror is palpable at times, but the revamped origin fails to truly live up to the original tale, which is why this installment differs from the two Godzilla movies. The film has one of the highest Rotten Tomatoes scores in the Monsterverse, with 76%, and it’s fair to say its strength is in its well-rounded human cast. However, Kong: Skull Island leans too heavily into being a typical modern action movie rather than embracing kaiju lore like the Godzilla series.

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How Godzilla x Kong’s Ending Culminates Kong’s Journey Explained By New Empire Director

Godzilla x Kong director Adam Wingard explains how The New Empire ending is a true culmination of Kong’s journey in the Monsterverse franchise.

Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire

Godzilla X Kong Is The Latest Entry To The Monsterverse

Director Adam Wingard returns to the franchise for Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, the Monsterverse’s latest installment. Despite being one of the most-anticipated films of 2024, the movie was released to mixed responses from critics and audiences, with a 55% score on Rotten Tomatoes. There are certainly some positive takeaways from the film, particularly the ensemble cast of Titans, who receive more detailed characterization than in previous iterations. Godzilla x Kong also responded to previous criticisms regarding the uninteresting human characters, honing in on monster action for a majority of the runtime.

Dan Stevens makes his debut in the Godzilla x Kong cast as Trapper, who makes for a captivating human character. Stars Rebecca Hall and Brian Tyree Henry also reprise their roles from Godzilla vs. Kong, bringing prestige talent to the film. Skar King is an exciting villain aesthetically, but the film’s main drawback is his late introduction, appearing for the first time over halfway through the movie. The anticlimactic villain and shocking lack of Godzilla contribute to the latest installment being one of the worst in the Monsterverse.

Godzilla Vs. Kong

The fourth installment in the Monsterverse is one of its most action-packed yet. By those merits alone, Godzilla vs. Kong certainly delivers on its promise of an incredible clash of Titans with multiple battles between the titular characters. While the film doesn’t establish the human stories as well as Godzilla: King of the Monsters, it does expand upon the lore of Hollow Earth. Whereas two of the four films have centered on everyone’s favorite scaly kaiju, Godzilla vs. Kong is most crucially concerned with bringing Kong and his story to the forefront.

There are thematic elements that work quite well here, including the idea that humans, in their greed and need for control, are the real monsters, which is fairly interesting in a movie primarily marketed as a monster clash for the ages. The cinematography here is gorgeous, and the fights between Godzilla and Kong are epic, memorable, and intensely grand in scale. It also gets major points for bringing back and utilizing Ghidorah in a pretty unique way. However, Godzilla vs. Kong suffers from its lack of overall character development, with the human characters’ main purpose to provide exposition.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Godzilla: King Of The Monsters Introduces Several Iconic Titans To The Monsterverse

Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Director
Michael Dougherty
Release Date
May 29, 2019
Cast
Millie Bobby Brown , Vera Farmiga , Kyle Chandler , O’Shea Jackson Jr. , Bradley Whitford , Randy Havens , Charles Dance , Aisha Hinds , Sally Hawkins , Ken Watanabe , Thomas MIddleditch
Runtime
132 Minutes

The third chapter in the Monsterverse, directed by Michael Dougherty, merges the two schools laid out in Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island. There’s a relatively large set of characters whose drama and motivation are given appropriate time, and there’s about as much Titan action as one cares to look at. Godzilla: King of the Monsters has the franchise’s lowest Rotten Tomatoes score, but the film has aged well among fans of the franchise for various reasons.

King of the Monsters has the unenviable task of introducing several characters – both human and Titan – and making all of them fit within the established universe. That’s in addition to setting up Godzilla Vs. Kong and whatever other plans might be in the pipeline for the franchise. It accomplishes all of these things remarkably well. The central duality of a grieving family torn apart by Godzilla’s arrival and no less than four Titans coming together—with several others besides—for a tag-team battle is handled more than efficiently.

There are allusions to climate change and the necessity for action, as well as religion and what really drives humanity’s best and worst intentions.

The climactic showdown, lengthy and dramatic as it is, is enhanced by the very real and emotionally charged story of parents trying to do right by their children at the center. There are allusions to climate change and the necessity for action, as well as religion and what really drives humanity’s best and worst intentions. And to top it all off, the soundtrack weaves in classic Toho themes so dedicated fans can fulfilled by the modern iterations.

Godzilla

Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla Film Is The First Successful Hollywood Godzilla Movie

Godzilla (2014)
Director
Gareth Edwards
Release Date
May 16, 2014
Runtime
123 Minutes

The 2014 Godzilla was a controversial film, but it’s aged to be the most beloved of the modern saga. At first, some adored the tension in the fleeting sightings of Godzilla as audiences were introduced to a world learning that humans are far from the top of the actual food chain, while others found it a tad boring and deflated. Such a split is often a sign the filmmakers took a genuine swing at doing something interesting, as is the case here.

Edwards takes a humanistic slant, favoring the story on the ground versus trying to fill a quota on creature action.

In this modern, American version of Godzilla, director Gareth Edwards and writer Max Borenstein pay homage to the 1954 Gojira, treating the titular behemoth with equal parts reverence and horror. Edwards takes a humanistic slant, favoring the story on the ground versus trying to fill a quota on creature action. The result is something that has a mystifying edge with its glimpses at these new gods and tries to commentate on how humanity views major catastrophes, both natural and man-made.

Premiering ten years after the previous live-action Godzilla film, the 2014 movie helped launch the franchise into its modern era of vast, CGI-heavy monster action. As a massively scaled, action-packed visual spectacle, Gareth Edwards’ movie explores a heavier, drastically different tone to the recent installments. The movie is on the higher end of scores on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, excelling critically where many other Godzilla films had been shunned.

Monarch: Legacy Of Monsters

Monarch Is The First Live-Action Godzilla TV Series And The Best Entry To The Monsterverse

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters
Cast
Kurt Russell , Wyatt Russell , Anna Sawai , Kiersey Clemons , Ren Watabe , Mari Yamamoto , Anders Holm , Joe Tippett , Elisa Lasowski
Seasons
1
Writers
Chris Black , Matt Fraction

Modern technological advancements have not only allowed for kaiju action to explode onto the big screen, but they’ve also allowed Godzilla to appear in full form on television. An Apple TV+ series between films was an exciting treat for Godzilla fans, though it mainly exceeds in its exploration of human characters. Aside from the father/son duo of Kurt Russell and Wyatt Russell, Shogun’s Anna Sawai and Kiersey Clemons are incredible in the series. After only one season, it’s one of the best TV shows available on Apple TV+.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters boasts the highest Rotten Tomatoes score in the franchise, 89%, and much of its acclaim comes from its intricate narrative, which follows human characters in the constantly developing kaiju world. The Monsterverse’s interpersonal character work is at its best in the series, and it surprisingly manages to fit in some high-quality CGI monster action. Godzilla has more screen time in the series than many might’ve anticipated for television, and the TV show provides a thrilling step into the future of the franchise, leading into Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire.



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