MONARCH: LEGACY OF MONSTERS on Apple TV+ is a new series in the Kaiju universe. This series focuses on the organization watching the huge monsters. There are 10 episodes in the season. Read our Monarch: Legacy of Monsters season 1 review here!
MONARCH: LEGACY OF MONSTERS is a new Apple Original series set in the world of Kaijus. As in King Kong and Godzilla as well as the creatures from Pacific Rim. This series focuses on the Monarch organization that studies and watches the huge monsters. You will still get to see Kaijus, but they are not given that much screen time.
Overall, I enjoyed a lot of this series, but it is extremely uneven. Some episodes are strong and informative, while others feel like “fillers”. The season has ten 45-minute episodes and we had access to the first eight episodes so that’s what this review is based on. Despite being uneven, I cannot wait to watch the final two episodes, which says a lot!
Continue reading our Monarch: Legacy of Monsters season 1 review below. The series premieres on Apple TV+ on November 17, 2023.
The creation of Monarch
As indicated by the title of this new Apple TV+ series, Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is all about the Monarch organization. Both how it was created and what the point of it was and has become. This series continues after the battle between Godzilla and the Titans. One that very much leveled huge parts of San Francisco.
This was when most of the world realized that monsters are real, which changed the world forever. Now, everywhere you go, there are signs showing the escape routes in case a new monster (or Kaiju) emerges.
We follow two young people who discover they are siblings and try to follow in their father’s footsteps to uncover all kinds of secrets. Most have to do with how their family is connected to the secretive organization known as Monarch.
Fortunately, they are smart – and have a friend who just might be even smarter – so they find clues that lead them close to the truth. And a very dangerous world full of actual monsters. Both the Kaiju kind and the very human kind.
Amazing casting in the Apple TV+ Monsterverse series
Anna Sawai (Pachinko) is the beating heart in the present-day part of the story as Cate Randa. She is tough, smart and brave. Alongside her, we have Kiersey Clemons as the tech-savvy May and Ren Watabe as Kentaro. This trio of young people are trying desperately to figure out what Monarch really is.
And especially what the goal of their organization is. Plus, there are some family issues they need to deal with!
In the past, as Monarch was created, there was another trio. This consists of Mari Yamamoto (Kate) as the brilliant scientist Keiko, who is a doctor, but also a Japanese woman in a post-WWII world, so no one really acknowledges her. Also, she’s the grandmother of Cate and Kentaro, who we follow in the present day.
Along with Keiko, we have Anders Holm as Bill Randa – the character played by John Goodman in Kong: Skull Island – and Wyatt Russell as Lee Shaw.
The character of Lee Shaw is one of the few who spans across the storyline in both time periods. Along with Bill Randa, who is also portrayed by John Goodman later (just like in the King Kong movie).
In the present day, he’s portrayed by Kurt Russell. Yes, father and son [Kurt Russell and Wyatt Russell] portray the same character as the older and younger versions respectively. Even the way this is shown in the opening credits is very smoothly done!
As the story plays out across various time periods and countries, there are many more characters and they are portrayed by a wonderful cast. No one really fell through as boring and off for me. Among other key cast members, we see Christopher Heyerdahl, Joe Tippett, and Elisa Lasowski.
Oh yes, Godzilla is in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters
While Godzilla is far from the only Kaiju we see in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters, he is still one of the most important. After all, there’s a day called “G-Day” which refers to when he appeared in San Francisco. A day that resulted in lots of damage and even more deaths.
Of course, we all know that Godzilla is not the villain. Something the story in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters also focuses on. Still, those who lost loved ones simply want all Kaijus to be gone from our world. Something you can’t really blame them.
In terms of seeing monsters in this new Apple TV+ series about the organization watching Kaijus, they do show up from episode 1. We see them in various flashbacks as we follow the evolution of how Monarch was created. Also, we see some in the present day of the story. The first time we see Godzilla in the present day is a huge moment.
In every sense of the word, obviously!
Watch Monarch: Legacy of Monsters on Apple TV+
The series is co-developed and executive-produced by Chris Black and Matt Fraction. Toho Co. is the owner of the Godzilla character and licensed the rights to Legendary for this series. It’s seen as a natural byproduct of their long-term relationship with the film franchise, which I absolutely agree that it is.
Ultimately, the story of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is one that spans three generations of a family. All three generations end up smack dab in the middle of Monarch. Either intentionally or by accident. We begin in the 1950s up to the time after Godzilla appeared in San Francisco more than half a century later.
I loved the way the story was told in two time periods and with all the parallels becoming increasingly clear. My only issue with this Apple TV+ series (and it’s a fairly big one) is the inconsistency in style and uneven storytelling. One episode is at a 4 out of 5, but then the next is a 2 out of 5 followed by a top-rated 5-star episode.
This just is not ideal for a series with episodes being released weekly. Still, I suspect fans of Legendary’s Monsterverse will watch this Apple TV+ series. As you well should!
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters premieres with the first two episodes on November 17, 2023. After that, we’ll be getting one weekly episode with the season 1 finale getting released in 2024 on January 12.
Creators: Chris Black, Matt Fraction
Directors: Mairzee Almas, Julian Holmes, Hiromi Kamata, Matt Shakman, Andy Goddard
Cast: Kurt Russell, Wyatt Russell, Anna Sawai, Kiersey Clemons, Ren Watabe, Mari Yamamoto, Anders Holm, Joe Tippett, Elisa Lasowski
Following the thunderous battle between Godzilla and the Titans that leveled San Francisco and the shocking revelation that monsters are real, “Monarch: Legacy of Monsters” tracks two siblings following in their father’s footsteps to uncover their family’s connection to the secretive organization known as Monarch. Clues lead them into the world of monsters and ultimately down the rabbit hole to Army officer Lee Shaw (played by Kurt Russell and Wyatt Russell), taking place in the 1950s and half a century later where Monarch is threatened by what Shaw knows. The dramatic saga — spanning three generations — reveals buried secrets and the ways that epic, earth-shattering events can reverberate through our lives.