Sam is back with a look at the latest of Disney+’s Marvel series, the mind-bending adventures of Moon Knight.
Watch the full review of Moon Knight here – spoiler warning!
Today I’m looking at the latest of Marvel’s series on Disney+, Moon Knight.
The story follows Oscar Isaac as Steven Grant, a simple museum clerk from London who discovers he has another personality living within him called Marc Spector.
Marc is the avatar of the Egyptian moon god Khonshu, acting on Earth as Moon Knight. Marc is trying to stop Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) from releasing another Egyptian god, Ammit, and enacting his version of cleansing the world.
Isaac plays the tragedy of Steven with so much emotion and the intensity and violence of Marc with such brutality. Despite the fact they have the same face, Isaac makes the two personalities appear as distinctly different characters.
Their relationship has an engaging chemistry, developing from adversarial to co-dependence to brotherhood.
In the comics, Marc suffers from dissociative identity disorder as a result of childhood trauma. He uses his different personalities to navigate the different sectors of society and gather intel.
Marc in the comics now is a little more erratic and eccentric, which he isn’t in this. He’s quite a straight man and I would’ve liked to have seen him off the leash a bit more.
On the whole I like that they’re using this character. He doesn’t fit the mould of traditional superheroes, partly down to the fact he’s more of an antihero, really. He isn’t a super soldier or has a tech-based suit, he’s a man struggling with mental illness and the Egyptian god of the moon.
Like the Punisher, he has tragedy and grey areas to explore which they do get into around episode 4 which blows the doors off the hinges.
One criticism I do have is that there is very little actual Moon Knight time. I love the character study and the deepness of his pain they explore but I also want to see Marc doing Moon Knight things.
May Calamawy plays Layla El-Faouly, Marc’s wife. She is a wonderful addition and another strong female presence in the MCU who actually gets something to do! She doesn’t just go along with what the protagonist does, which is a welcome change from damsel in distress.
The voice of Khonshu, F. Murray Abraham, is so good, he adds such density and gravity to every sentence. He adds fun dark humour with the matter-of-factness from Khonshu offering quite a few laughs in my opinion.
Hawke’s Harrow kinda has the same motivation as Thanos, ridding the world of those who are unbalanced or evil. But you know, through murder before they even get the chance to do the evil thing.
Despite a bit of narrative teething, Hawke delivers a sinister performance with a calmness and calculation that at times is quite Shakespearean.
Moon Knight does get compared to Batman a lot. The brutality of the two is something that is widely compared and there is an element of truth to it. So I was kinda wanting there to be more of him.
I found there was sporadic iffy CGI and while there is a brutality to Moon Knight, there wasn’t as much as I’d like. The final episode does provide some amazing hand-to-hand combat similar to that of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier which is always nice over a big CGI laser fight.
Akin to the Dr Strange sequel, Marvel continue to lean into some horror elements and darkness. It gets very grim, but it gets into the guts of who this character is: a very damaged individual. And Isaac’s portrayal of that damage is so intense and engaging to watch.
There is a lack of references to the wider Marvel Universe in which it exists. This is both a welcome change and a little odd. On one hand that’s good and fun and fresh because the show needs to stand on its own legs, but it’s also not the basis on which these shows and films are made.
They have interconnectivity built into their lore, and Moon Knight is a great character so seeing him have stories with these other well-developed and portrayed characters would be great.
And let’s be honest, you don’t get a talent like Oscar Isaac to just have him in a limited series. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has said Moon Knight will appear in upcoming films despite Isaac being coy on a return to the role.
I’m excited to see where he goes in the future, the potential to see him interact with the wider universe is fun. I think because he’s so different and a bit grey and unhinged, he provides a good contrast to most of the heroes we have so far in the main continuity
Overall I think the series was a good introduction for the character. Isaac was the perfect choice and committed his entire self to the role. Despite suffering from late pacing issues among other things, I’m super excited to see the future of one of the more wacky Marvel characters. So full recommendation from me!
Watch the full and spoiler-strewn version of Sam’s Take here: