Moon Knight: Marvel’s Most Interesting Entry Into the MCU

Patrick Dima, Scribe Reporter

Marvel Studios

The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand its range of stories and characters with Disney’s new exclusive show, Moon Knight. Throughout the many Marvel-based Disney+ shows released over the course of the past two years, we have seen an elaboration on the stories of known comic book characters such as Falcon, Wanda, Loki, and Hawkeye, yet Moon Knight finally introduces an entirely new character to the MCU roster, similarly named Moon Knight. Unlike the other shows, however, Moon Knight proves to be perhaps the most interesting, complicated, and different show to come as of late, and I love it.

Loosely based on the Marvel Comics, Moon Knight primarily follows the story of Steven Grant and Marc Spector, both played by Oscar Isaac, strangely enough. That is because Isaac’s character possesses split personalities, and Moon Knight kicks off with Steven Grant, a nerdy museum gift shop employee struggling with random blackouts and waking up in random locations that made him soon realize the forced sharing of his body with the ruthless mercenary, Marc Spector. Complicating things further, Grant discovers his attachment to the Egyptian moon god, Khonshu, who coerced Spector to pay for his cruel past by fighting for the vengeance of the innocent as his “avatar.” Similarly, but not directly related to Spector’s task, Arthur Harrow, played by Ethan Hawke, following his faith in the Egyption god Ammit, utilizes a “scales of justice” tattoo on his arm to judge people if they’re moral or evil based upon any bad deeds they might perform in the future, as seen by the scales.

Leading a merciless cult, Harrow spares no person that “fails the scales” (a rather humorous ring to something so dark) and strives to resurrect Ammit and serve as her avatar. As Grant and Spector attempt to deal with both themselves and with Harrow’s unsparing objectives, they are joined by Spector’s ex-lover, Layla (May Calamawy), who likewise struggles to understand Spector’s split personality. Through an emphasis on Egyptian mythology, brilliantly choreographed action, and remarkable CGI, Steven Grant and Marc Spector as Moon Knight take us on an Indiana Jones-like adventure that rightfully ignores any attention to previous Marvel Studios works and instead focuses solely on the unpredictable story of “Marvel’s Batman.”

Oscar Isaac illustriously captures the two personalities he plays in a surprisingly smooth and flawless way. Contrasting Grant’s high pitched British accent and timid gestures with Spector’s aggressive tone and actions, Isaac never fails to make the dynamic between his character’s personalities both entertaining and incredibly interesting. Ethan Hawke chillingly plays the main villain, Arthur Harrow, with a calm, collected, and soft tone that entirely separates him from other Marvel villains, as he truly believes in the “good” he’s doing by following Ammit’s deeds.

With May Calamawy’s character, Layla, I am extremely pleased by her significant, and dare I say vital, role in the show’s plot, and her skills and personality that highlight her character as someone other than Spector’s lover, which many other Marvel projects have struggled to do with female characters. Not to mention Calamawy’s exceptional performance while playing Layla, working with Spector’s split personalities in a fluid and effortless fashion.

What I enjoyed most about this show was its “tone-shift,” as other critics have said, from other MCU films and shows. Moon Knight is emotional, brutal, and ruthless, yet without an emphasis on gory effects. Relating to the tone-shift is its disconnection from the rest of the cinematic universe, as previously mentioned, which allows Moon Knight to be developed in a elaborate way that does not require any forced Easter Eggs or mentions to existing characters or storylines; Moon Knight can be experienced as a story about Moon Knight, and nothing else. Moreover, Moon Knight can best be described as unpredictable with every episode.

The final four or so minutes of each chapter leave you in suspense and eager for more action, although the final episode felt rushed, clocking in as the shortest season finale episode of the Marvel shows released thus far. Additionally, Moon Knight pays special attention to Egyptian mythology (obviously), and the locations, music, costumes, and visual effects throughout the show are simply stunning and engaging. Without a doubt, Moon Knight’s well written plot, beautiful effects, sensational performances, and compelling action sequences will leave it as the most intriguing Disney+ show and among the best of Marvel’s works.

Moon Knight, above all else, focuses on mental health and recognizes the routine struggles of those who suffer from different mental health backgrounds. Oscar Isaac’s character struggles from dissociative identity disorder, also known as DID, and throughout the majority of the show we experience the challenges he faces with himself in a way that should leave all of us striving to accept and assist all who share the same experiences. Moon Knight, despite his unique disorder, remains a powerful, charismatic, and captivating superhero that attains the ability to inspire all audiences to accept themselves for who they are and embrace their differences.

Moon Knight is rated TV-14. Besides a few violent scenes, the show holds a powerful message about mental health and acceptance, and separates itself from Marvel’s previous movies and shows through a unique storyline and range of characters that may very well rank it as one of the best action shows I have seen, especially considering its rating.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

 

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