Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is a clever prequel-sequel to Legacy’s string of Godzilla and King Kong movies that started way back in the twenty-teens, and covers the whole history of their version of the Titans, those big ol’ monsters, going back to at least to 1952. Even better, this Apple TV+ series features older and younger versions of some characters we’ve seen before. Like a younger version of Bill Randa, played by John Goodman in Kong of Skull Island, is seen here in his much earlier and cuter days, right after the end of World War II, teamed up with a youngish Army man played by Wyatt Russel – Kurt Russel’s grown kid, who’s damn near as charismatic as his dad.
The whole series bounces back and forth between the early days of Monarch, the Titan-hunting organization we’ve seen at various stages in all the movies, and the long-forgotten year of 2015, just a few months after Godzilla’s first appearance in the Legacy timeline And this part features a much older version of Russel’s character, played by Kurt Russel himself – Wyatt’s dad. And you know what? They both do a hell of a job.
It sounds more complicated than it is — I mean, yeah, it is a little complicated, and though there are some problems with pacing here and there throughout the episodes – look, nobody’s perfect, But in the long run,, creators Chris Black and Matt Fraction – the creative genius behind Hawkeye and a brilliant comics writers and commentator himself – have made the two-story format pretty easy to understand, and the ground-level – and yes, rare – confrontations with the MUTOs, the Titans, like Godzilla and his buddies, are powerful and often unexpected, in spite of the fact that you’re waiting all this time for just one more look at the big guy. And when you do get that look– whoo, it’s worth it. The production value on this whole series – not just the monster design, but the Monarch facility, the chase scenes, the urban sequences – is really top-notch. Feature film quality.
If you liked even some of Legendary’s MonsterVerse movies – Godzilla back in 2014, Kong of Skull Island in 2017, Godzilla, King of the Monsters showed up in 2019, and we got Godzilla vs. Kong in 2021 – and if you’re looking forward to the upcoming Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire …you will almost certainly like Legacy of Monsters.
Regardless, find ‘em where you can, and while away an entire weekend watching perfectly decent people betray each other, cackle madly, and burst into tears as if their fellow participants were actually dying. It is the darkest kind of ‘fun’ you can have, but it really is unmissable.
Bet you’ll love it at least half as much as I do.