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"Monarch: Legacy of Monsters" Episodes 1 & 2 (Review)

The time has come as the next chapter in the Monsterverse series has arrived on Apple TV+ with the first two episodes: Monarch: Legacy of Monsters. After Godzilla's climactic battle with the MUTOs in San Fransisco, the world has changed forever as the whole world knows that monsters are a reality. Cate and her half-brother, Kentaro, go on a journey to unravel a family legacy that connects their father to the mysterious organization known as Monarch. So far, I am really impress with the world building this show is going for.

Ever since the events that happened in 2014, which the show calls that event as "G–Day," there is a lot of paranoia. We see chemicals being sprayed on the airplane that Cate (played by Anna Sawai) was on to travel to Tokyo as a way to give an illusion of safety from another monster attack. The city runs early warning drills forcing civilians to stop what they were doing to run to the nearest "Godzilla shelter." On top of that, Cate (played by Anna Sawai) suffers from PTSD as she was one of the civilians who had a close encounter with Godzilla in San Fransisco and she goes into panic mode. The show really builds this world in a very real way the movies never actually explored before. It really dives deep into the perspective of the people on the ground who are most affected by these monster attacks. I find this to be a real breath of fresh air because it is taking a break from the sci-fi aspects that Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Godzilla vs Kong have been driving towards to tell a much more grounded and suspenseful story.

There are two stories going on in this show that requires a lot of flip flopping between the past and the present following two sets of main characters. The first set of main characters we meet are the "present day" (set in 2015) characters Cate Randa (played by Anna Sawai) and Kentaro Randa (played by Ren Watabe) trying to figure out what exactly happened to their father and how he is involved with Monarch and Kentaro brings in May (played by Kiersey Clemons) to help them with their investigation.

The second set of main characters follows Young Lee Shaw (played by Wyatt Russell), Dr. Keiko Miura (played by Mari Yamamoto), and Young Bill Randa (played by Anders Holm) and their expeditions to discover and study Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms (M.U.T.O).

As for the organization Monarch, they're not all that good people as portrayed in the movies. They are struggling to keep their knowledge about the monsters hidden and finding out their files are being hacked and stolen by May put them in instant panic mode. So they're after the main characters trying to silence them. We also get to see how Monarch is established and it all started with one person being Bill Randa, who is a cryptozoologist (someone who studies undiscovered animals), and he runs into Dr. Miura and Lee Shaw. So we see a drastic change from how Monarch first started to what Monarch became and it is sort of dark on how they try to keep their secrecy in-tact.

Whether you like suspense stories, adventure stories, or a little bit of both, so far, the first two episodes has something for everyone. There is family drama, government conspiracies, adventure, monsters, whatever kind of stories you're interested in the first two episodes will capture your intrigue. Right now, I am really liking both stories for different reasons and Monarch actually does a really good job keeping me invested for two hours. On top of that, the show does a really good job staying connected to the Monsterverse. One of my biggest gripes about Netflix's Skull Island was how disconnected the show was from the rest of the cinematic universe and that it was trying to be more of its own thing. Monarch, on the other hand, does its own stuff while staying connected to this world that has been established. It doesn't have characters insults your intelligence nor does it try to implement the "strong woman" character. Every character, thus far, has been useful and are working together to get to a single goal.

The only character I am iffy on is Cate. She comes off as a really cold person, but you understand her cold demeanor comes from her father's constant absence and finding out his secret second life. However, there are times where her rudeness is uncalled for and comes off as a bitch. I do hope she does gain some character development over the course of the show that helps her overcome her fears and warm up to the rest of the cast.

I do want to express that this is NOT a show about Godzilla, at all. Godzilla is in it, but he is not the main focus. However, Godzilla's influence is all over this show. We see shelters for Godzilla attacks, people spraying chemicals on an airplane to give an illusion of it helping prevent another monster attack, Cate with her PTSD, and, of course, Monarch having Godzilla on recorded documents. The show is taking time to build up to Godzilla's official appearance outside from the flash backs. If you are expecting Godzilla to appear in every episode and kicking some monster tail, then I have some sad news for you as this is not the show you are looking for. I have already seen a couple of reviews say Monarch has too many humans and not enough Godzilla. I do think how the show was advertised was sort of to blame because Godzilla was in all of the posters. So it can be misleading to general audiences thinking this is a Godzilla show.

When it comes to the design work and the CGI, the monsters in this show looks really good for a TV show. You don't get a whole lot of monster action, but the most we do get looks more in line with the quality of CG you find in the movies. It doesn't look low budget nor lazy. The monsters are very detailed. In the beginning of the first episode, we see Bill Randa (played by John Goodman) being chased by a giant spider called Mother Longlegs and this spider clashes with a giant mud crab called Mantle Claw. This fight scene was quick, but it was a great start to the show and getting me invested. This was probably the only time that the CG for the monsters looked a little low quality, also, but it didn't bother me. It did not break the immersion of this show for me. There is one that is called "the dragon" in the second episode that looks really intimidating and its silhouette is even shown in the opening credits with Godzilla. So it makes me wonder if this dragon is going to be the main antagonist of this show.

Overall, episodes 1 & 2 of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters really gave a great start with a character driven story that is keeping me invested, so far. Most of the cast are great, but still iffy about Cate as a character and is the one character that probably needs to be fleshed out the most. I do think some knowledge of Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla (2014) is required, but I also think the general audience can get by even without needing to watch the movies. I can't wait to see what comes next in episode 3 on Wednesday.

What are your thoughts on the first two episodes? Do you think it is off to a great start or do you think you still need time with it? How do you feel about the story and characters? Leave a comment in the comments section of your thoughts on Monarch: Legacy of Monsters episodes 1 and 2. Make sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Minds, MeWe, Gab, and TRUTH Social to stay up to date for more news, reviews, and discussions.


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