‘Monarch: Legacy Of Monsters’ EP/Director Matt Shakman Disagrees That The MonsterVerse’s Humans Are Lackluster
A common criticism of Legendary Pictures’ MonsterVerse is it lacks strong and memorable human characters. Indeed, they rarely measure up to Bryan Cranston’s performance in Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla film that started the whole thing, and the kaiju routinely upstage them.
That is honestly what viewers would rather see — ourselves included: monsters brought to life with cutting-edge visual effects tearing stuff up in a tooth-and-claw slugfest. The good news on that front is Legendary and Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire’s director Adam Wingard answered the call and will supposedly give us more monster action than ever in the upcoming sequel.
That takes care of that, but this development might not improve the lot of our human protagonists. It might even be detrimental to what are seen as thin characterizations already on thinner ice. Most of the people populating the MonsterVerse are connected to Monarch in some way, which has deeper roots than anyone imagined a decade ago.
Apple TV+ series Monarch: Legacy of Monsters is picking up the slack in adding depth to the individuals and families on the ground while throwing in some new Titans along the way. The show boasts an impressive cast headlined by Kurt and Wyatt Russell, Kiersey Clemons, and Anna Sawai.
It also has a noteworthy executive producer, Matt Shakman, who directed the first two episodes. DiscussingFilm asked him about the human characters in the shared universe he now has a hand in, and Shakman begs to differ with all the harsh critics of their potency in the story. “I don’t share that opinion about the MonsterVerse movies,” he said.
The EP pointed to the ensemble casts the MV is used to by now. “I mean, if you just think about Kong: Skull Island – Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, John C. Reilly, Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston – there are incredible characters in that movie. And they’re very memorable and their stories are unique,” he added.
To Shakman, the human perspective should serve the scale of the monsters. “One of the things that was most important for us was that when we were doing monster action, it was from the point of view of the humans, that we were telling the story from ground level. We were not flying high in the sky at Godzilla level, which is where I think a lot of the movies exist. We were more interested in ‘How is this monster event affecting the humans that we love and care about?’” he explained.
Earlier in the interview, Shakman expressed his admiration for Legendary’s series and shared his Goji-fan bonafides. “I’m a big fan, I love the movies. I love Gareth’s Godzilla. I love [Jordan Vogt-Roberts’] Kong: Skull Island, I think that’s a tremendously stylish film. I like what Adam Wingard did with Godzilla vs. Kong. I love the scale of them, I love the characters. I’ve loved Godzilla since I was a kid, you know?” he said.