While movie theaters have been in a sort of purgatory over the past two years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has continued to thrive on streaming service Disney Plus. From the sitcom-centric “WandaVision” or the time-altering “Loki”, Marvel has continuously brought its A-game when it comes to packing big-screen thrills on the small screen. Despite this, the series thus far have yet to focus on a new hero, only on the ones we’ve already had several movies to get to know. However, after five different series, the MCU has introduced its newest hero, Moon Knight.
“Moon Knight” centers around Steven Grant, played by Oscar Isaac, who’s a down-on-his-luck guy, struggling with his personal, romantic and work life. All of his struggles center around him constantly losing large chunks of time, mainly when he falls asleep.
One day, things become even more complicated when he’s thrust into the sight of Ethan Hawke’s Arthur Harrow, who is obsessed with obtaining a mysterious golden scarab. Eventually, Steven learns that the voice in his head is that of dead mercenary Marc Spector, and the two serve as the vessel for an Egyptian god that gives them the power of Moon Knight.
From the two episodes released thus far, Oscar Isaac is truly the glue that is holding the series together. When actors attempt these multiple personality type roles, it can either come off as incredibly strong or hilariously campy, and thankfully Isaac pulls it off effortlessly. While yes, the fake British accent can be a little distracting, you get used to it relatively quickly. Isaac has a lot of scenes where he is providing all of the scene’s energy by conversing between his identities, and he truly makes Marc and Steven their own unique characters.
Ethan Hawke also shines here; while his motivations remain a little foggy - and a part of me worries about him becoming a big CGI threat in the last episode - this more David Karesh-esque villain works for the story.
I also appreciate that the series so far has had a much more mature tone compared to the other Marvel series. Of course, there are going to be jokes and quips, but for the most part these first two episodes have been much more focused on Steven’s struggle and the mystery of the scarab. While I was hoping the series would be more in line with the newly added Netflix series, I still appreciate some of the show’s more brutal elements, even if much of the violence is only implied.
While “Moon Knight” is off to a really promising start, I still worry about the show overall as it still has some of the MCU’s familiar trappings. In the two episodes thus far, while the pacing is good, both episodes are structured virtually the same, and hopefully the rest of the episodes try to mix things up a little bit.
Another element that has me worried is the CGI. If you’ve kept an eye on Twitter, you know that there’s a particularly rough looking car chase in the first episode that might turn some people away. Finally, since it is a Marvel show, even if I enjoy the following episodes, I still have this sense of fear that the finale will let me down as shows like “Hawkeye” and “What If…?” have.
Even so, I feel a bit more hope for “Moon Knight” and perhaps that’s due to it feeling much less involved in the larger scale of the MCU, and more like a limited series event. The action, while definitely fake looking at times, is still pretty solid, the comedy and writing is engaging, and Isaac really does deliver a fantastic performance. I’m glad he’s able to redeem himself from the last time he and Marvel worked together (“X-Men: Apocalypse”).