The Big Two Episode Premiere Of Apple TV’s Latest Monster Series
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is a live-action series currently streaming on Apple TV+ and premiered November 17th with two 40+ minute episodes. The series is a spin-off of the Monsterverse franchise and takes place after the events of Godzilla 2014 and before Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Monarch is the second streaming series of the Monsterverse after the Skull Island Netflix series and expands on the story of the Titans of Earth, further exploring the lore of Godzilla and the organization of scientists that study him and other monsters like him.
Following a Story Set In Two Time Periods
The initial setting of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters takes place in 2015, one year after Godzilla’s battle with the Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms (MUTOs). One of the survivors of the battle, Cate Randa, ends up traveling to Japan in search of her missing father, only to find another family her father’s connected to. In that time, she soon found old files hidden in her father’s workroom that contained files and information from the mysterious organization Monarch. Much of her story is solving the mystery of her father’s disappearance and involvement with Monarch while being guided by an old associate of her family, Lee Shaw.
A second narrative is set in the 50s and follows Lee Shaw’s discoveries of giant monsters alongside Monarch scientists Keiko Miura and Bill Randa, the scientists who embarked on Skull Island years later. The 1950s shows the origins of Monarch and the initial discoveries of the MUTO, also known as Titans, from massive insect creatures to the star of the show Godzilla himself.
A Family’s Saga of Monsters
Cate Randa is the primary focus character of the 2015 storyline, with Lee Shaw’s story being secondary during the 1950s flashbacks. Episodes 1-2 flesh out that Cate Randa is the granddaughter of Bill Randa, and her father seems to have an understanding of what he was doing in Monarch. Her family seems to be connected to Monarch from the moment they were found with the discovery of Godzilla, and episode one shows that they have been researching different places since the 50s, too.
She witnessed Godzilla’s appearance in San Francisco and is shown throughout the two premiere episodes to be badly shaken up by the events. From her point of view, Godzilla’s appearance ended up directly responsible for several civilian casualties, something Godzilla films rarely present grimly. Cate and her family’s history will be the main focus of the story, along with how she confronts Monarch and their secretive plots for Godzilla.
Hidden Titans and Compelling Atmosphere
Monarch: A Legacy of Monsters brings back the gritty realism of Godzilla 2014 and its atmosphere while giving that movie the TV series treatment. Both episodes 1 and 2 felt like short films in terms of pacing, budget, and the beautiful effects of the show. The elements of conspiracy and Monarch’s shady dealings with civilians also give an intriguing X-files vibe where our characters are seeking the truth behind how much these people know about the dangers of the monsters.
Godzilla and the new roster of monsters have been portrayed in a refreshingly terrifying way. While the Monsterverse is best known for making Godzilla a destructive savior that fights other more dangerous creatures, the TV series instead focuses hard on the civilian impact of Godzilla’s actions. While there is an understanding that people die in these Kaiju films, episode 1 really showcases the direct casualties caused by the Titans, along with the trauma and global reaction that follows. The series then develops incredible world-building moments by showing evacuation centers, specialized defense weapons, and signposts dedicated to Godzilla.
By the end of episode 2, audiences are introduced to compelling human characters with a deep, invested connection to the events around them, along with introducing several new beasts to the struggles. They’ve witnessed the fate of Keiko along with how Bill Randa’s expedition was able to survive and kept it a secret. The monsters, of course, don’t show up often, but each episode had tense action sequences that reveal the beasts: the Ion Dragon, a massive crab fighting the Mother Longlegs, and a swarm of insect-like creatures. There are still eight more episodes to go through, and with an older Lee Shaw joining Cate Randa on her search, the plot thickens as to what will come next in this new adventure into the Monsterverse.
Monarch: Legacy of Monsters (2023) Official Apple TV Trailer