I am a fervent Godzilla enthusiast, consistently delighting in the spectacle of the city’s destruction by Godzilla and other colossal creatures that descend upon the metropolis to topple it, accompanied by popcorn. I have always enjoyed the indulgence in the disaster porn, where everything goes up in flames. Essentially, the reason everyone loves Godzilla is precisely this: the allure of destruction porn. That’s why I eagerly awaited Monarch: Legacy of Monsters from its very first day. While initially getting everything I anticipated from the series, as the episodes progressed, it gradually lost its entertaining side. Instead of the anticipated destruction porn, I found myself watching a teary-eyed series peppered with titans.
Let’s briefly touch on the plot. Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is not really a Godzilla series, as the producers emphatically emphasized; it is more of a homage to the Titans. The series attempts to answer the question of where these titans come from and how they became a part of our world. The story unfolds in two different timelines. When we delve into the past, we follow the story of Dr. Keiko Miura (Mari Yamamoto), Lt. Lee Shaw (Wyatt Russell), and Bill Randa (Anders Holm) as they discover the Titans. Jumping into the future, we witness the intertwining stories of Cate Randa (Anna Sawai), Kentaro Randa (Ren Watabe), and May (Kiersey Clemons), whose paths intersect due to the problems created by the past. At the center of it all is a common focal point: Monarch and the Titan visits initiated by them.
Let me begin by highlighting the positive aspects of the series. Especially the first two episodes were genuinely thrilling. I particularly commend their skill in tying the narrative to Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla, especially linking the film’s apocalyptic bridge scene to Cate Randa. I always found the portrayal of spin-off stories focusing on ordinary people affected by such monumental events to be truly successful. The series effectively navigates the future story of two siblings who are unaware of each other’s existence and somehow find their paths crossing. Similarly, it handles the discovery of Titans by Keiko Miura, Lee Shaw, and Bill Randa in the past with the same excitement. The presence and acting of Kurt Russell positively influence the upcoming story.
The series doesn’t have any issues in its storytelling. It uses its characters correctly without falling into too many clichés. The fundamental problem with the series, however, is its inability to meet expectations. It didn’t create the expectation itself; the series name created it spontaneously. While the first 2 episodes meet expectations and captivate the audience with excitement, the remaining 8 episodes gradually fall short. Over time, the series deviates from the Titans and turns into a family drama. Unfortunately, the story becomes dull for those expecting more destruction, mystery, and conspiracy after the first 2 episodes. Despite having action and Titans in the series, the events feel less satisfying since they all take place in confined spaces.
The early revelation of the portals’ purpose and the mystery behind them leaves nothing to be explained in the final, resulting in a lack of climax. The final surprise used as the climax lacks impact. Therefore, the series suffers from both a lack of destruction and exciting moments, even though it contains numerous action scenes. While the producers initially set out to pay homage to the Titans, the series feels more like a tribute to the Randa family. In this aspect, the series is quite successful. The dramatic aspect of the series is good, but the Godzilla side is relatively weak.
I also found the introduction of Monarch in the series to be weak. Similarly, the army’s desire to destroy the Titans, whom they perceive as a threat, is not adequately developed. Monarch is in a position of uncertain power, trapped between a neighborhood startup and NASA. Throughout the 10 episodes, the series doesn’t feel out of place, but it also falls short.
In summary, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is a series that diverges from the expected destruction spectacle of Godzilla, leaning more towards family drama. Unfortunately, it fails to maintain the excitement it delivers in the first 2 episodes throughout the remaining 8. While the series doesn’t lack action, it lacks impact. The absence of mystery and leaving nothing to be revealed in the finale are also disadvantages. It’s not a boring series; it keeps you engaged, but for Godzilla enthusiasts, it’s a somewhat weak endeavor. Would I recommend watching it? If you want to be familiar with the Godzilla universe, yes, I would recommend it.
Cast & Crew
creator: Legendary Television, Safehouse Pictures, Toho Company, Apple+
starring: Anna Sawai, Kiersey Clemons, Ren Watabe, Wyatt Russell, Kurt Russell, Mari Yamamoto, Joe Tippett, Joe Tippett, Joe Tippett, Mirelly Taylor
USA | 2023 | 10 EPISODES |