When you sit down to watch a series set in the world of giant monsters, it should be a bit more common to see the said monsters, and not so much about half-siblings trying to sort out their daddy issues.
Throughout the Monsterverse movies, we see hints of a shadowy organization called Monarch. Now, there’s a whole TV series dedicated to telling us about the history of the secret organization as well as what they are up to in the modern day.
The series follows Lee Shaw from his beginnings of Monarch in the 1950s up through the modern day when he seems to have a new agenda. In the flashbacks, the character is played by Wyatt Russel (Falcon and the Winter Soldier), and he is replaced by his real-life father Kurt Russell (Escape from New York) in the modern-day segments. We also follow the children of a well-known Monarch employee in Cate Randa (Anna Sawai) and Kentaro (Ren Watabe) who are direct descendants of the other two founders of Monarch alongside Lee.
Cate survived G-Day – the moniker for the day Godzilla rampaged through San Francisco – but at great personal cost. Now, she discovers that not only did her father have one secret he kept from her and her mother, but a whole host of secrets.
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters feels like it’s the victim of too many masters. While the series is very clearly trying to educate us about the history of this organization, it’s also doing some twisting to ensure we get some easter eggs from the existing films, while also giving us some kaiju/Titans cameos. And let’s be very clear about that: While the existence of the Titans very much drives the narrative of the series, their amount of screen time is minimal at best. Godzilla, especially, is mainly seen in flashbacks to the 1950s, and even then it isn’t all that much.
There are a few new kaiju/Titans in the mix as well, but they don’t carry the weight of say seeing a Mothra emerge from a waterfall, or Rodan leaving fiery destruction in its wake. They feel more akin to “Titan Juniors” than monsters that could tear a path of destruction through a city.
If you’ve enjoyed the movies – Godzilla, Kong: Skull Island, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and Godzilla vs Kong – then there is no reason for you not to jump in and watch this series. You will find a lot of small details filled in that will make for a richer overall world for what you’ve seen. Just realize you will spend most of your time focused on humans.
If you aren’t familiar with the films, then I would say you can easily skip over this series. The effects, at times, are not that impressive, and the somewhat heavy-handed family drama feels as though it would be more at home on broadcast television than on a premium streaming service.
Rating: 6 out of 10 stars
Apple TV Plus provided The Nerdy with eight of the 10 episodes of the first season of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters for the purposes of this review. We watched all eight episodes to the conclusion before beginning this review.