I’ve said this time before and I’ll say it once again, Disney+ has created a phenomenal platform and home for characters who’ve been with us in the Marvel Universe for so long – or in this case a brand new character – to expand and broaden their backstories and arcs. With “Moon Knight,” it succeeded in doing so, introducing a fresh new face to the MCU, but I can’t say it did it in the way I was expecting. I wouldn’t deem this as wonderful as “Loki,” nor as the misfire that was “What If…?,” but in the six-episode package we got, it was fairly decent and enjoyable.
If there’s one thing that consistently held my interest in the show it was Oscar Isaac’s brilliant performance in two roles. The duality of Marc Spector and Steven Grant was incredibly entertaining from the different ways they act, to their interactions with one another, but what I thought was done the best was the personality switches. “Moon Knight” had the best first episode of any Marvel Disney+ show so far by getting us wrapped up in Steven’s life, introducing the villain, and leaving us on an amazing final beat with the look of Marc’s suit in action – and all of that never felt as long as it was. Moon Knight and Mr. Knight’s suits both looked fantastic, as was the cinematography and score, it was just gorgeous. Past the first episode, it kind of lost its touch by taking too long in episodes two, three, and four, then rushing through the main character’s story in the remainder.
They had a big responsibility in tackling the concept of mental health and, had they delved into it earlier, they would’ve nailed it on the nose. The fifth episode is by far the best, yet it’s still not amazing. It reaches the heights with the banter between Marc and Steven, but it’s almost like it realizes it’s running out of time. It’s always fascinating when the character study and talking parts is what I prefer to the action sequences (which were cool when they featured Marc’s suit) in a Marvel project.
I understand that being the avatar of Khonshu, the plot may not entirely revolve around Moon Knight himself, however, there were times where I felt this was more Khonshu’s show than at all Moon Knight’s – hence episodes two through four. I love F. Murray Abraham voicing the character, and. his battle with Ammit in the finale was sort of cool, but in reality, this should’ve been called “The Fist of Khonshu,” not “Moon Knight.”
I just think the major issue of this show was how thoroughly inconsistent it was. There could be an argument made for how the breaks in personality may affect the viewer’s perception of two separate scenes. For instance, episode four is dark and edgy by having an undead, unsettling creature chasing after our protagonists, the main character being shot in the chest twice, followed by a cliffhanger of a talking hippo. It just felt out of place to me, how tonally off it can be.
Once again, an MCU villain that has even the slightest glimmer of greatness in them doesn’t manage to make it out of their introductory story. I very much enjoyed watching Arthur Harrow – who’s not exactly all that interesting. It was all in Ethan Hawke’s nuance in making a creepy cult guy more layered than he actually is on the outside. I really wish we were able to have seen more of him.
I hate to say this because I actually liked what they did with her character in the finale – becoming the first Egyptian superhero as the avatar of Taweret – but Layla El-Faouly was way too forgettable for being generally the co-lead of the show. May Calamawy did just as good a job as Isaac and Hawke, but her backstory was very weak in comparison to other characters. It’s not a necessity to constrict these shows to six episodes. I’m sure if the budget for each episode was knocked down just a bit to add maybe two more to a show, it wouldn’t cause much harm.
We always need a breather project in something that doesn’t yet know it’s part of a bigger universe, but I can’t even fathom where exactly the character of Moon Knight would fit in. Initially, I was thinking of the supernatural sector of the MCU with Mahershala Ali’s Blade and Kit Harrington’s Black Knight, but with Steven Grant’s polite personality I don’t see it matching with the other characters’ seriousness. Perhaps that means it’s perfect for the MCU – having some lighthearted, funny moments in places they may not need to be.
Not only was I a little underwhelmed by the finale of “Moon Knight,” I wouldn’t exactly categorize it under one of the better shows Marvel has released on Disney+ as of now. There are a handful of very cool moments, it was Oscar Isaac’s performance that kept this show going week-to-week, and I truly do hope we see this character again sometime soon. Especially since we have a third personality to deal with this time – Jake Lockley.
Final Grade: B