Monarch: Legacy of Monster TV Review
Monarch: Legacy of Monster TV Review Metabox
Don’t let the image above fool you – despite having the word ‘monsters’ in the title, you’ll be hard-pressed to find them in Apple TV+’s Monarch: Legacy of Monsters (2023). At times it feels as if you’d have a better shot of finding Waldo than finding a monster.
Alternating between decades, the series opens on 1973 Skull Island as Bill Randa (John Goodman recreating the role from 2017’s Kong: Skull Island) attempts to outrun a titan before tossing a Monarch-branded bag with unknown contents into the ocean. The bag at long last is retrieved by a fisherman’s boat in Japan 50 years later but then the series quickly flashes forward yet again to Tokyo 2015. If three jumps in just minutes is a lot to keep track of, prepare to time jump more in eight episodes (two episodes are being kept back) than during the entire run of NBC’s Quantum Leap.
Eventually, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters settles upon 2015 where the world is still reeling from the San Francisco Godzilla attack (now known as G-Day). Cities have Godzilla escape routes and warning horns when an attack is imminent. Echoing the COVID world a few years ago, monster prep is big business and conspiracy theorists run rampant with speculation that the attack was faked by the government and other wild tales.
Cate Randa (Anna Sawai), still traumatized from an encounter with Godzilla in San Francisco, travels across the world to Tokyo to settle her father’s affairs after his death, but what she discovers upon her arrival is more than she bargained for and throws her into a far too drawn out Scooby adventure series that takes her, her brother Kentaro (Ren Watabe) and his ex-girlfriend May (Kiersey Clemons) across the globe in search for the truth. Along the way, they reconnect with their grandparent’s colleague and close friend, Lee Shaw (played in the 1950s by Wyatt Russell and in 2015 by Wyatt’s father Kurt), a former military man who may or may not be acting on behalf of Monarch’s mission. For the uninitiated, Monarch is a covert government organization that tracks the titans. Founded in the 1940s, it has operated under a cloud of secrecy, but Monarch: Legacy of Monsters provides a peek into its impact on monster attacks worldwide.
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is wrapped closely around the Randa family who have been tied to Godzilla and the titans in some way for generations. While it acts as both a prequel and sequel to the various Godzilla films, with so many time jumps and location changes, it invokes viewer whiplash. Add to that two love stories (two too many) dragging down each episode nor one interesting character and it’s a recipe for a disaster far worse than what Godzilla unleashed in San Francisco. Moreover, when the only real action occurs in the final minute of the eighth episode, it makes you question what the writers were aiming for when creating the series. What would have better been served as a full-length film instead is slowed down to a snail’s pace with hour-long episodes that offer little fun and even less action. Perhaps the last two episodes will offer more excitement, but with people likely dropping the series long before that episode, will Monarch: Legacy of Monsters ultimately share the fate of many Marvel shows that would been better left on the cutting room floor? Like those Marvel streaming shows, something tells me the series will tie into the next film, but viewers would be better served reading the spoiler alerts should that occur as there is much more interesting and exciting content available on streaming platforms today.
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters (2023) premieres with two episodes on November 17th with eight weekly episodes to follow. Do yourself a favor and spend time with the upcoming release Godzilla Minus One.