The most common complaint with Legendary’s MonsterVerse movies, which include godzilla, Kong: Skull Islandand Godzilla vs. Kong – is that its human characters never live up to their central monsters. Who wants to observe a group of underdeveloped scientists when we could be observing a A giant ape fights an atomic reptile.?
With these complaints in mind, it is somewhat disconcerting that Apple TV+ Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, the MonsterVerse’s first foray into live-action television, focuses almost exclusively on humans. However, the gamble is (for the most part) worth it, as it fleshes out the world of the MonsterVerse through the lens of a family drama turned globe-trotting adventure.
As Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Does it fit into the MonsterVerse?
Kurt Russell in “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.”
Credit: Apple TV+
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters It spans generations and timelines while documenting the formation of Monarch, a secret organization that studies monsters or titans, such as Godzilla and King Kong.
In the show’s 1950s timeline, we meet Lieutenant Lee Shaw (Wyatt Russell), who has been tasked with supervising Dr. Keiko Mira (Mari Yamamoto) and Dr. Bill Randa (Anders Holm) while They carry out their research on monsters. Decades later, after Godzilla’s arrival in San Francisco in 2014, siblings Cate (Anna Sawai) and Kentaro (Ren Watabe) and their computer genius friend May (Kiersey Clemons) begin to uncover the mysterious involvement of their estranged father. Hiroshi (Takehiro Hira) in Monarch. Their search will lead them to an elderly Lee (Kurt Russell), whose knowledge of Monarch puts a target on his back…and the backs of anyone who crosses his path.
If you are a MonsterVerse fan, Monarch has quite a few Easter eggs for you. Billy is the younger version of John Goodman’s character from Kong: Skull Island, and there are more than a few mentions of Ken Watanabe’s Dr. Serizawa in the films. However, if you’re not familiar with these films, or are a more casual viewer like me, Monarch It’s accessible enough that you won’t get lost. It helps that we’re seeing the birth of Monarch from the ground up, which puts us on equal footing in the present as we see what the organization has become. Reconciling these two different versions of Monarch, from the three-person team of the ’50s to the sprawling agency of the 21st century, becomes one of the mysteries that drives the show. How did Monarch get from point A to point B?
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters he gets to work with his human characters.
Wyatt Russell, Mari Yamamoto and Anders Holm in “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.”
Credit: Apple TV+
Our main link between these points is Lee Shaw, who is charmingly brought to life by the father-son team of Kurt and Wyatt Russell. They both exude a mischievous charm throughout, but balance it with the darker parts of Lee’s evolution. For Wyatt Russell as young Lee, that means watching him take into account the American government’s selfish and destructive desires for the Monarch program. As the older Lee, Kurt Russell embodies his sense of loss over the decades, along with a more laid-back energy that makes for a very fun adventure.
While Lee acts as MonarchThe connective tissue, the heart of the program is in women like Cate and Keiko. Early in the show’s first episode, Cate learns that the now-dead Hiroshi had a secret second family in Tokyo, including his half-brother, Kentaro. As the two work to process this revelation in addition to her grief over Hiroshi’s passing, Cate also reckons with PTSD from getting up close and personal with Godzilla in San Francisco.
Monarch It depicts these San Francisco flashbacks with a monster horror movie, creating a terrifying sense of smallness in the face of a huge being that you can’t begin to understand. It’s no wonder Cate panics at the sound of Godzilla’s drill alarms or the feeling of being confined. However, as she and Kentaro delve deeper into her father’s past, we see her begin to grow and develop a new understanding of the Titans, an evolution of her character. Monarch He shows himself very well throughout his career. (Of 10 episodes, eight were given to critics for screening.)
Kiersey Clemons, Anna Sawai and Ren Watabe in “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.”
Credit: Apple TV+
Keiko is an equally compelling character, with her awe and compassion for the Titans she seeks contrasting with the cruel brutality of the US government. Her struggles extend far beyond hunting monsters in the desert to the boardrooms where Monarch seeks funding. As a woman, she is an outsider in a male-dominated field. And as a Japanese woman working for the United States after World War II, she faces racism daily. Watching her navigate these prejudices is more heartbreaking than any monster attack. But on a more positive note, it’s a pleasure to see her put her haters in her place and bond with Lee and Billy. Yamamoto, Holm and Wyatt Russell’s chemistry as a group really makes the ’50s scenes stand out, so it’s a shame when Monarch sometimes spending entire episodes completely preceding that timeline.
Monarch It tries to give more depth to all its characters, but there are some areas where it doesn’t quite succeed. The relationship drama between May and Kentaro feels shoehorned in, along with a May backstory that deserved more development than a forced secret. Monarch’s current staff, including agents Tim (Joe Tippett) and Duvall (Elisa Lasowski), are similarly underdeveloped, making the scenes in which they pursue our heroes in the present a bit plodding.
Yes, the titans in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters They are still spectacular.
Mother Longlegs is just one of the many monsters you’ll encounter in “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.”
Credit: Apple TV+
Fortunately, every time Monarch threatens to lose its way, brings out its heavyweights: the monsters. The show’s global adventures give us the chance to meet all kinds of new Titans in a variety of locations, from a winged, dragon-like creature in the rainforests of the Philippines to a burrowing beast in the frozen wastes of Alaska. Even on the small screen, the visual effects that bring these monsters to life are extremely impressive.
And of course, you can’t have a MonsterVerse show without Godzilla himself. The massive kaiju and his iconic roar are wonders to behold here, especially in a scene that reinforces his connection to the Atomic age. Monarch It also takes advantage of Godzilla’s presence for some interesting world-building details, such as mentions of Godzilla’s attack drills and the burgeoning anti-monster weapons industry.
the wealth of MonarchThe world of the MonsterVerse, and its gloriously glorious monsters, keep the show intriguing even when it gets bogged down in the MonsterVerse’s often maligned human affairs. But still, Monarch It often succeeds where movies failed, largely thanks to characters like Cate, Keiko, and Lee. Monarch: Legacy of Monsters Not only is it a strong show, it’s also a great start to balancing human drama with monster mayhem.