Movie Review: ‘Godzilla x Kong’ is all scale but little else.

The legend goes that there are two types of people on Earth: those who prefer movies with a gigantic evil ape swinging a vertebrae like a lasso while riding a crystal-controlled kaiju, and those who don't.

The former will enjoy “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire,” a radiation-spewing monster-mash feast. We're not literally on Earth. We're in a subterranean jungle planet where the movie's directors try to find new ground for two well-traveled creatures.

Despite its Jules Verne roots, “Godzilla x Kong” doesn't change its long-lived monsters. You should watch last year's Toho-made "Godzilla Minus One," which grippingly returned to Godzilla's post-WWII origins and won the 70-year-old lizard his first Oscar. An Academy Award could have helped less respectable creatures gain more dramatic roles. No Godzilla. He doesn't have costume dramas, except for Kong's robotic fist midway through the film.

No, we're back in Godzilla and King Kong's extravaganza realm. Even the title change from “Godzilla vs. Kong” to “Godzilla x Kong” is minor. The enemies will link together to confront a common opponent. We can expect “Godzilla xoxo Kong.” if this continues.

Returning director Adam Wingard begins with his two stars separated like star-crossed lovers by Earth's mantle. Godzilla roams above earth while Kong plays in Hollow Earth. This arrangement limits city-destroying rampages to a minimum for humans, however archeologists may dislike Godzilla's bed, the Roman Coliseum.

Each monster's movement is tracked digitally. As little players or sports commentators, the humans in “Godzilla x Kong” spend most of their time analyzing the goliaths. When Kong is harmed and strange distress messages appear from the underworld, scientist Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall), conspiracy-spouting podcaster Bernie (Brian Tyree Henry), and biologist Trapper (Dan Stevens) fly into the Earth's center. They include Ilene's adopted daughter Jia (Kaylee Hottle), the last member of the tribe that guarded Kong's Skull Island.

Hollow Earth reduces fun. Why use a colossus if you can't throw it at a skyscraper? Some of that appears in “Godzilla x Kong.” Most of the film's thrills come from the unexpected dimensions around every corner. They discover lost civilizations and a vast lair supported by huge crystals resembling Super Bowl roman numerals in Hollow Earth.

That also makes “Godzilla x Kong” a CGI film with no real-world linkages. In this empty room for movie spectacles, the only option is to stack elements until you get a big evil ape swinging a vertebrae like a lasso while riding a crystal-controlled kaiju. This is essentially a large, easy tag team gig. The evil underground gorilla Skar King and lizard kaiju Shimo fight Kong and Godzilla in a flying melee that eliminates gravity.

Here, who to root for? Godzilla is the main character, however it mostly travels the world absorbing radiation. Hall brings the most realism to the film. Kong, as usual, is the primary character. He only wants some friends. Like Nick Nolte in “Affliction,” his most emotional sequence is due to a toothache. That and the helicopter yank made me wish the movie was about an aging Kong's medical difficulties. A knee replacement. Some reading spectacles.

The Motion Picture Association rates Warner Bros.' “Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire” PG-13 for creature violence and action. Runtime: 115 minutes. Two stars out of 4.

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