MONARCH: LEGACY OF MONSTERS. A Conspiratorial Theory of Godzilla and Kong [REVIEW Episodes 1 and 2]

Quality is one thing, but there’s also a lack of tact in this – the effects are showy instead of being impressive.

Jakub Piwoński

18 November 2023

The Monsterverse created by Warner Bros. is one of the few universes that still captures my attention. This space is being built much more slowly, with far fewer branches than Marvel, but it certainly still has grandeur. There were films about clashes of giant monsters, there was an animated series about one of them, and now it’s time for a live-action series.

The expansion of this world corresponds to the pace of Godzilla’s movements, but more importantly, every step here has much… Or does it?

 Monarch: Legacy of Monsters produced by Apple, however, is not that impressive. The first two episodes did not instill enough optimism and satisfaction in my heart to eagerly await the next installments. However, I cannot say that they did not arouse my curiosity. I have serious doubts, though, whether the series will be able to hold my attention until the end. But step by step.

The idea that the creators chose for this production is simple. It involves exploiting the world and exploring social threads, doing exactly what there wasn’t time for in feature films. This is done with the participation of the main character with Asian facial features, who, in search of the truth about her father, ends up in the very center of a conspiracy linked to the mysterious Monarch organization. Will facing truly monstrous threats be to her advantage?

I don’t know. But I do know that the movie experience may not turn out well if the creators tell the story in such a cumbersome way. I did not expect that the first episodes would immediately surprise me with scenes of monsters. I got them, however, and… I can’t say they were satisfying. I don’t know what budget the production had, but the CGI is a problem for Monarch: Legacy of Monsters because it looks like it was constantly rushed by Marvel experts, or even worse. Quality aside, there’s also a lack of tact – the effects are flashy instead of being spectacular.

Another thing is the tone, creating an impression that is overly childish and pompous. It’s amusing that a product that seems like a co-production, with the majority of its action taking place in Japan, communicates in a very American way. The pathology of the dialogues is unpleasant to the ear, and the characters selected to lead this story are not at all interesting and have as much depth as an empty soup plate.

The charisma of Kurt Russell, the biggest star involved in this project, does not save the situation. The actor appears in the second episode, just after the worn-out plot pattern with an aging expert who knows more than a group of heroes finally allowed him to enter the stage. However, Russell plays lazily, and it’s hard to say now that this will change. It’s interesting to note that he appears in the production with his son Wyatt, who plays his younger version. Perhaps I’m making this conclusion prematurely, but in my opinion, the young actor did not inherit even a small percentage of his father’s charisma.

So, I’m stuck in emotional malaise after watching these first two episodes. I feel that I will watch the next installments rather out of journalistic decency. This is not what I expected from the first live-action series in this universe, especially when I remember how long it took me to pick my jaw up off the floor after watching Godzilla vs. Kong. I won’t say that the metaphor that this time Godzilla, instead of engaging in warfare, is supposed to relate to the epidemic crisis and the specter of its return hanging over us didn’t sound interesting. Okay. But the virus of this production is its cliché, and there is no cure to be found for it.

Jakub Piwoński

Jakub Piwoński

Cultural expert, passionate about popular culture, in particular films, series, computer games and comics. He likes to fly away to unknown, fantastic regions, thanks to his fascination with science fiction. Professionally, however, he looks back more often, thanks to his work as a museum promotion specialist, investigating the mysteries of the beginnings of cinematography. His favorite film is "The Matrix", because it combines two areas close to his heart - religion and martial arts.

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