The Split Between Audiences And Critics On Godzilla X Kong Is Wild

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

There’s almost always a gap between critic consensus and the feelings of the general movie-going audience; occasionally, a movie comes along where that gap becomes a chasm. The most recent movie to exemplify that phenomenon is Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire. The difference between the movie’s critical and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes perfectly illustrates this divide  

The Monsterverse

The movie, which just arrived in theaters, is the direct sequel to Godzilla vs. Kong from 2021 and features the kaiju teaming for a journey into the hollow earth, battling several monsters along the way. It’s part of the growing Monsterverse that Toho has been building up over the last decade. Godzilla x Kong builds on the previous four films, using the mythology and characters established in previous films. 

A Low Critic Score

godzilla x kong

The critic score on Rotten Tomatoes is a rotten 54 percent, with critics complaining about the lack of character development and overreliance on CGI. Jake Coyle, writing for The Associated Press, is one of the negative reviews, saying, “Being in Hollow Earth takes some of the fun out of things… That also leaves Godzilla x Kong residing in a purely CGI arena without even tenuous connections to reality. It’s a empty chamber for movie spectacle and nothing else.” 

An Eye-Popping Audience Score

The audience score, however, is a nearly perfect 93 percent, a full 39 percent higher than the critic score. Audience member A four-star review of the movie on Lettboxd demonstrates the very different perspective casual viewers bring to Godzilla x Kong, with Joel Hilke writing, “Taken as a film for intellectual film snobs, it’s trash. Taken as a film that inhabits exactly what the kid in me who raced home after school to watch Monster Week on local tv felt, it’s perfection.”

These quotes spell out the inherently different perspective on the movie that critics and fans bring to these movies. It’s not that casual fans don’t the flaws in the storytelling, it’s that they want the pure skeptical of CGI monsters fighting each other. While it’s a critic’s job to think deeply about storytelling choices, most movie-going audiences are just along for the ride for movies like Godzilla x Kong.

Riding The Success Of Godzilla Minus One

Another common theme found in the reviews by professional critics is comparisons to the recent Godzilla Minus One. Andrea Chase is one critic to make such a comparison saying, “Where Godzilla Minus One made the kaiju a metaphor that was arch and moving, thereby raising the emotional stakes as Tokyo crumbles, here that mayhem is the point, with the story just filling (made with artificial color & flavorings) to hold it together.While the comparison makes sense, Godzilla x Kong is a very different type of monster movie, most audience members won’t view the movies as being in conversation the way critics do. 

It’s Early To Say, But This Could Be Another Godzilla Hit

Another factor that may explain some of the differences in Rotten Tomatoes scores is that the movie is still on its first day of theatrical release at the time of this writing. Only fans invested enough to see the movie in theaters on its opening night have had a chance to weigh in, which might skew the audience scores higher than they will end up after more people have seen it. While it’s unlikely the audience score will fall as low as the critic score, it may fall as more casual audience members find and review Godzilla x Kong

Monster Battle Royale, Hold The Humanity

The takeaway from the vastly different scores between professional critics and general audiences indicates who the target audience for Godzilla x Kong really is. While fans of the Oscar-winning Godzilla Minus One and Shin Godzilla might find something to enjoy in the new kaiju movie, they shouldn’t watch it expecting that level of social commentary or artistry. Like the rest of the Monsterverse, this movie is for fans who just want to see beloved kaiju engage in spectacular CGI combat, which doesn’t typically mean critics.

Source: Rotten Tomatoes