In the wake of the enormous success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), a wave of studios eagerly ventured into crafting their own cinematic universes. Sadly, most of these attempts fell short due to hasty execution and mismanagement, leaving franchises like the DCEU and Universal’s Dark Universe struggling to meet their lofty aspirations. Yet, amidst these letdowns, emerged a shining star: Legendary Pictures’ MonsterVerse.
Back in 2014, Gareth Evans’ Godzilla marked the modest beginnings of what would become one of the most gripping cinematic universes. Fast forward to today, and there are already four films in the MonsterVerse, with Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire on the horizon, plus a Netflix animated series, not forgetting Japan’s unrelated Godzilla Minus One.
Now, Legendary Pictures, Safehouse Pictures, and Toho Co., Ltd. introduce their inaugural live-action series within the MonsterVerse. Enter Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, a captivating series developed by Chris Black and Matt Fraction. It peels back the layers of Monarch, the clandestine organization focused on tracking and studying colossal unidentified creatures (MUTOs).
This show takes a more grounded approach to the immense world inhabited by Godzilla and Kong, prioritizing a narrative rich in characters and the global impact of MUTOs over colossal Kaiju battles.
But don’t be fooled—the series isn’t devoid of breathtaking action. Apple TV+’s Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is packed with adrenaline-pumping chases and showdowns on an epic scale. With a mix of new and familiar titans, the series flaunts impressive CGI and heart-racing action sequences. Backed by stellar performances, it’s a must-watch for franchise enthusiasts and Kaiju aficionados alike.
Set mainly between the events of Godzilla (2014) and King of Monsters, the series follows siblings Kentaro (Ren Watabe) and Cate (Anna Sawai) on a quest to find their missing father. Alongside tech-savvy May (Kiersey Clemons) and retired army veteran Lee Shaw (Kurt Russell), who shares a deep Monarch history, the duo navigates the globe, unearthing their father’s secrets while dodging Kaiju and authorities.
The MonsterVerse often faced flak for its portrayal of human characters, which paled compared to colossal Kaiju battles. However, Legacy of Monsters flips the script by putting its characters in the spotlight.
Cate, grappling with PTSD from the San Francisco battle, shines as an intriguing character. The series adeptly handles her PTSD, anxiety, and panic attacks, immersing audiences in her tension-filled world. May’s poised yet enigmatic persona adds layers to the dynamic, complemented by Kiersey Clemons’ stellar performance. And let’s not forget Kurt Russell, who effortlessly brings depth and wit to Lee, a character with a complex and emotional history.
Delving into Monarch’s origins, Legacy of Monsters unravels the organization’s mysteries often overlooked in the movies. The nonlinear storytelling unveils captivating monster hunts, with the three protagonists stealing the show.
The series excels in portraying the aftermath of monster attacks, an aspect often sidelined in the films. It addresses personal trauma, PTSD, and panic attacks, lending a rich and realistic edge to the world.
While not matching the colossal battles of the movies, Legacy of Monsters serves up heart-pounding scenes where humans flee from towering monsters. The show’s exceptional production value, echoing the movie’s top-notch sound design, maintains a high standard. Godzilla’s iconic roar and the Titans’ mayhem immerse viewers in a grand, cinematic experience.
Godzilla makes a stunning appearance, but it’s the new Titans that steal the limelight. From a frost-breathing titan in the Alaskan tundra to dragon-like and crab creatures, the series expands the MonsterVerse impressively.
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters premieres globally on Friday, November 17, with subsequent episodes airing every Friday until January 12 on Apple TV+. Get ready for an enthralling journey through the MonsterVerse! Check out the trailer and stream the show below: [Apple TV]