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  • Writer's pictureWill Scarbrough

Review - Monarch: Legacy of Monsters (First 5 Episodes)

Set after the battle between Godzilla and the Titans, revealing that monsters are real, follows one family's journey to uncover its buried secrets and a legacy linking them to Monarch.

Anna Sawai, Ren Watabe, Kurt Russell, Wyatt Russell, Kiersey Clemons, Mari Yamamoto & Anders Holm.

'Monarch: Legacy Of Monsters' attempts to bring the awe-inspiring world of Titans to the small screen, but its initial offering, (limited to the first 5 episodes), raises some significant concerns. The series opens with a painfully unconvincing green screen CG sequence featuring John Goodman, a lackluster start that shatters any illusion of immersion within the show within the first minute.

Perhaps the most glaring issue lies in the series' lack of visual identity. The world depicted is overwhelmingly monochromatic, favoring a palette of white, grey, and black. This lack of variety and visual flair translates to a dreary and unengaging visual experience. For a show centered around giant, destructive monsters, the aesthetic choices here fail to capture the grandeur and excitement that the genre typically demands.

The writing in 'Monarch' is a mixed bag, leaning more towards the uninspiring side. It doesn't necessarily venture into the realm of outright bad, but it struggles to infuse the characters and the unfolding plot with depth or substance. The result is a narrative that leaves viewers with very little reason to invest emotionally in the events or the fates of the characters.

The series' monster sequences, one of its key selling points, often fall short of the promised thrills. Compared to 'Godzilla' (2014), which adeptly conveyed the scale and consequences of the Titans' presence, 'Monarch' struggles to inspire the same sense of awe. The action sequences, though potentially exciting in concept, are hindered by uninspiring execution. But it’s still a little exciting to see the variety of monsters.

A substantial issue affecting the overall viewing experience is the messy and convoluted story structure. 'Monarch' frequently jumps between flashbacks and the present, sometimes even introducing flashbacks within flashbacks. This choice adds a layer of complexity that doesn't feel satisfying, often leaving viewers perplexed rather than engaged.

The excessive use of artificial environments achieved through green screen further detracts from the series. The lack of effort in shooting on location, instead relying on green screen, becomes all too apparent and distracting.

On a positive note, the CG for the monsters, notably Godzilla, is a standout feature, capturing the essence of these iconic creatures with precision. However, the lackluster musical score fails to do justice to the expansive and rich universe of Godzilla.

Pacing issues are prevalent throughout the series, causing a disjointed and inconsistent viewing experience. The flow of the story and character development appears uneven, making it challenging to become fully engrossed in the narrative.

Despite these considerable shortcomings, 'Monarch: Legacy Of Monsters' retains some allure due to its core premise – the fascination with colossal monsters. Moments such as Anna Sawai's character's first encounter with Godzilla, as teased in the trailer, offer glimpses of genuine excitement and wonder within the storyline. The occasional humourous lines provide a much-needed touch of comic relief in an otherwise heavily dramatic show. The second half of the season could offer the audience a lot more than its first, which I’m hopeful about but not expecting too much.

One aspect of the series that consistently stands out is its sound design. The creators have put commendable effort into crafting an immersive audio experience that enhances the sense of scale and the monstrosity of the creatures.

In conclusion, 'Monarch: Legacy Of Monsters' falls short of its potential, marred by inadequate visual effects, uninspiring writing, and a disjointed narrative structure. While it occasionally manages to captivate with its monster-themed premise, it ultimately lacks the style and substance necessary to make a lasting impression. Viewers may still find some interest in its giant, world-shattering inhabitants, but the show struggles to deliver on the grandeur it promises. Unless these next 5 episodes prove me wrong.

2 / 5

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