Moon Knight is the latest MCU Disney Plus TV effort, and at only six parts with a top Hollywood name at its core in Oscar Isaac it really felt like an MCU film stretched to double the length (though with more talking / character development than you normally get in the movies, obviously!) It was actually really good, though it was definitely carried on the shoulders of its lead rather than the writing or anything being the stand-out. Let’s take a deeper look, anyway…
He’s so sad…. for so many reasons, to be fair!
For those unfamiliar with Moon Knight (such as myself going into the show. I’d heard of it, seen pictures of the comic, but never read any of them) the titular character is not only a regular man who can use the powers of Egyptian God Khonshu to turn into Moon Knight but he also suffers from multiple personality disorder. Oscar Isaac plays both wimpy Brit (whose questionable accent grew on me as the series progressed) Steven Grant and harder-nosed American Marc Spectre, two completely different personalities inhabiting one body, not through super-natural means but due to some rather unfortunate childhood trauma. The strange relationship between the two characters is great, almost entirely due to the frankly stunning acting by Isaac that really carried the show during some episodes that would’ve otherwise been a bit of a slog.
It’s not just the Oscar Isaac show mind you, Ethan Hawke as the lead antagonist Arthur Harrow is strong in the role as a calm and trusting sort of villain, a cult leader who was once in the same shoes as Marc; and May Calamawy does a great job of not just the basic “love interest” archetype but also as a capable archaeologist and fighter (as well as a hero herself when she gains the power of friendly hippo deity Taweret). The trio really drive the narrative forward and it leads to a very pleasing finale. Harrow is trying to revive Ammit, the Egyptian God who judges people not on crimes committed but on crimes they will eventually commit. He sees it as a fairer and more just form of punishment than the kind Khonshu dishes out, namely beating people to death because they’ve already committed the acts. It makes for a good villain, even if a lot of the time Marc / Steve are fighting against themselves rather than him!
He’s so mad… for so many reasons, to be fair!
Good direction throughout as well, some nice (if not sometimes a little too on-the-nose) imagery and fun action scenes; plus some good CGI for the various Gods and monsters, at least for a TV budget anyway. Episode 5 was the standout, though I can’t tell you much about it due to spoilers it was entirely self-contained and dived deep into our lead protagonist’s backstory in a very pleasing and interactive way. Very well written, reminded me of Legion, which if you’ve seen my reviews of that series you’ll know is high praise indeed.
This is one of the many reasons the pyramids weren’t made of metal! (Others include structural integrity, cost and the fact metal working as we know it didn’t exist at the time.)
Moon Knight is a fun six part story, though some early and mid episodes are a little lacking it soon picks up, and even then those episodes are often full of great acting from Oscar Isaac as the duel personalities of our “hero”. Wouldn’t say no to more!
Not a lot to talk about, really. Episode 5 I talked about saw Marc and Steve in the Egyptian idea of the afterlife being stuck in a mental ward created by their own subconscious, revealing the fact that the death of their younger brother under his care led to his mother being abusive and the lead character in a cheesy British B Movie ended up being his inspiration for his other personality. It was really well told and saw the massive barge gliding across the Egyptian desert as well as the “field of reeds” that the ancient Egyptians believed waited for them in the afterlife. Lots of fun eye candy.
Harrow as he appears in Marc/Steven’s subconscious… a.k.a. Ned Flanders.
The finale not only sees Marc as Moon Knight battle an Ammit-powered Harrow but the actual Gods of Khonshu and Ammit do battle as large kaiju-style creatures. Made for a fun finale. At the end we see that Marc is actually mentally fractured in three, something that is heavily implied throughout the show but still made for a fun reveal. His third self is still under Khonshu’s command unlike the other two, as the God promised to leave them be, and is more than happy to shoot Harrow in the face at the end of the show. Good set up though I don’t know where this story will continue to be told as of yet!