Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is a new 10-part action series from Apple TV+ which continues on from the recent ‘universe’ of Godzilla movies, from the medicore 2014 movie, 2017’s better Kong: Skull Island, 2019’s less-than-stellar Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and 2021’s awful Godzilla Vs Kong.
Shown mostly in a 2.39:1 widescreen ratio, with occasional shots in 4:3 for certain situations, such as visuals being recorded with a camera in a bygone era, this time-jumping series first goes back to Skull Island in 1973 (the setting for the 2017 movie), where Bill Randa (John Goodman – Atomic Blonde) is on the run from a massive spider, how will he fare?
For reasons I’ll leave you to discover, this connects next to 2013 and in the Sea of Japan, where everyone in the vicinity is being seated for a decontamination, to prevent another monster attack, it appears.
As the time-jumping starts to settle down, Cate (Anna Sawai – Fast And Furious 9) feels the smack of Godzilla’s firm government prior to us settling in Tokyo, 2015, where she enters her Dad’s old appartment, and finds another family living there, yet still have her Dad’s picture. Is this an alternate timeline, a la Back to the Future? Not quite, as she discovers she has a half-brother, Kentaro (Ren Watabe), who lives with his mother.
Actually, we’re not done yet with time-twisting shenanigans, as we’re also tripping to Khazakstan, 1959, where Keiko (Mari Yamamoto – Kate), Lee Shaw (Wyatt Russell – Ingrid Goes West) and a younger Bill Randa are looking for chambers where there be monsters! Of course, they get more than they bargarined for, but I’ll leave you to discover that, also.
At least with Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, some monster scares come early, even if they’re occasionally brief, since 2014’s Godzilla movie took forever to get anywhere!
The plot and the connections between the characters are drip-fed as we go through the series and learn how Monarch came about, so I don’t want to give any spoilers, obviously. Plus, it’s entertaining, but will hardly set the world on fire with huge surprise, and you could ask why are we going back into the ‘universe’ again, so soon, when they ended on a whimper with the awful Godzilla Vs Kong, which didn’t even end with a post-credits scene, because they weren’t expecting any additional entries in the foreseeable future.
For a series, though, you don’t need monsters ALL the time, so this gives a nice balance of drama and monster attacks. Plus, if the name Wyatt Russell possibly sounds familiar, you’ll certainly have heard of his Dad, Kurt Russell (The Christmas Chronicles 2), who plays the exact same role in the present day.
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is a bit cliched at times, such as with Kurt and co having to travel a long distance in rickety old plane which looks like it hasn’t flown since he was a lad, but there’s enough here to keep me going, including some decent humour along the way, and so far, after thre episodes, I am certainly enjoying this.
Check out the trailer below:
Running time: 40-60 mins per episode
Number of episodes: 10
Release date: November 17th 2023 (first 3 episodes, then weekly)
Studio: Apple TV+
Format: 2.39:1; 1.33:1 (some scenes)
Series Directors: Mairzee Almas, Julian Holmes, Hiromi Kamata, Matt Shakman, Andy Goddard
Creators: Chris Black, Matt Fraction
Writers: Milla Bell-Hart, Andrew Colville, Karl Taro Greenfeld, Al Letson, Amanda Overton, Mariko Tamaki, Matt Fraction
Music: Leopold Ross
Cate: Anna Sawai
Keiko: Mari Yamamoto
Kentaro: Ren Watabe
Lee Shaw (present day): Kurt Russell
Lee Shaw (1959): Wyatt Russell
Bill Randa: John Goodman
Brenda Holland: Dominique Tipper
Barnes: Jess Salgueiro
Emiko: Qyoko Kudo
SOTA: Shota Tsuji
Agent Sabitha: Josh Collins
James: Charlie Hewson
Tim: Joe Tippett
May: Kiersey Clemons
Duvall: Elisa Lasowski
Spradlin: Adam Kirschner
General Puckett: Christopher Heyerdahl
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.