July 4 has long been synonymous with blockbuster cinema. And this year one of the biggest movies of the Independence Day weekend will be streaming on Max.

It’s Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, the latest installment in Legendary’s “MonsterVerse,” which has combined the two literal giants of kaiju cinema into a single cinematic universe. As of this writing the film, which is a sequel to 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong, is the third-biggest grosser of 2024 at the U.S. box office, behind only Inside Out 2 and Dune: Part Two.

In this new chapter of the saga, directed by Adam Wingard, perennial frenemies Godzilla and Kong must team-up to take on a new threat to the planet; a rogue tribe of giant apes from Kong’s home on Hollow Earth, led by the monstrous  Skar King. There are human actors too, including Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry, and Dan Stevens, although their roles are mostly to stand around and look in horror at Godzilla and Kong smashing stuff.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire
Warner Bros.

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Though perhaps a small step from from the disappointing Godzilla vs. KongThe New Empire continued a lot of that film’s issues. As I wrote in my review during Godzilla x Kong’s theatrical race:

Plenty of visual imagination is on display; but like pretty much all of these MonsterVerse films, that’s as far as the creativity extends. Maybe that wouldn’t matter if Godzilla x Kong was wall-to-wall monster fights. Instead, there are many scenes of exposition to wade through, as the human cast walks around jungle sets to gaze at CGI crystals and underground caverns while they desperately try to explain why Godzilla or Kong or both need to go back and forth from the Hollow Earth to the surface.

But hey; if you have a Max subscription, you’re not paying $20 for a ticket. If you love kaiju spectacle and you don’t care about anything else, then you might want to try it on streaming.

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire premieres on Max on July 4. Another MonsterVerse sequel is already in development, although Wingard is not attached to direct it. (Oh and if you’re wondering: You’re just supposed to call it “Godzilla Kong.” Apparently the ‘x’ is silent.)

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