Moon Knight Review: Oscar Isaac’s Marvel Series Is A Snooze Party

Moon Knight – aired on Wednesday on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar – is a very different view of a mentally troubled character than the usual comic fans. For one, the anti-hero feature of Moon Knight is more emphasized on the Marvel series. Moon Knight is not Batman but with a dissociative identity disorder, as the character is often portrayed. Especially if the Punisher meets Wolverine meets DID. In the comics, the comparison of Batman Moon Knight stems from the fact that they both have no supernatural abilities – like Bruce Wayne, Marc Spector relies on tools, combat skills and physical training. But on the new Marvel series, Moon Knight gains super strength and great healing from his link with the Egyptian moon god, Khonshu.

Oh right, god of Egypt. They are central to everything Moon Knight, whether the narrative, the location we are witnessing, and most obviously, the name of the title character. Along the way – I’ve seen four out of a total of six episodes, like all the other critics – Moon Knight name check series of Egyptian gods. Some are even displayed on the screen. The Marvel series is partly set in Egypt-other than London, although both have been filmed elsewhere-taking us to Cairo, the Pyramids of Giza and beyond. It also splashes Middle Eastern music, with songs from DJ Kaboo and Ahmed Saad. In addition, Moon Knight involving at least two archaeologists, grave hunters, and supernatural beings.

Naturally, the Marvel series was inspired by movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark, something Moon Knight creator and lead writer Jeremy Slater – previously a writer at Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy – has self -confessed. It often enters horror territory, before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness apparently did that on the big screen for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And elsewhere, Moon Knight feel closer to the psychological thriller led by Rami Malek Mr. Robot (where the main character also experiences DID), and Noah Hawley’s visual creation superhero series Legion (I won’t say how, as this would be spoiler-y).

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But unfortunately, Moon Knight is a nap party. Most of it is about the MacGuffins-first the artifacts, then the sarcophagus, and then, the tomb of the gods-and as heroes and villains chase, seek and get them, the new Marvel series becomes too plot-driven. (This also results in obvious and unnecessary exposition. Trust your audience to be smarter.) Also, there are a few things here that you’ve never seen before. Lead director and executive producer Mohamed Diab – the first Arab man to control the MCU property – has made a big deal out of how Moon Knight will correct the pop culture representation of Egyptian culture, but that doesn’t mean when scene to scene, it’s not fun to watch. Also, so much for representation when everyone still pronounces the word “avatar” like the Avatar movie.

Moon Knight follows the meek Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac, of Dune) who lives a bland life and works in the souvenir shop of the National Art Gallery of London. Her days are plagued by blackouts, which is why she uses ankle braces to sleep, and listens to helplines that help people stay awake all night. One day, Steven wakes up in the Alps and meets a god named Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke, of Predestination) who worships the Egyptian god Ammit. Arthur wants to revive Ammit because he believes he can cure the world of all evil before it is done. To do that, he must find Ammit’s long -lost secret tomb.

Meanwhile, Steven realizes that he shares his body – the word “dissociative identity disorder” is never mentioned in the Marvel series – with Marc Spector, a former American mercenary who is a vengeful Khonshu human avatar (voice of F. Murray Abraham, performed on set by Karim El-Hakim) and made his vicious bidding. Marc can turn into a Moon Knight by simply calling the suit, an aspect of the show that leads to some funny moments with Steven. With Khonshu wanting to search for Ammit’s tomb for his own unexplained reasons, Moon Knight put Steven and Arthur on the path of conflict.

With help from his archaeologist wife Layla El-Faouly (May Calamawy, from Ramy), Steven/Marc embarks on an adventure across the sands of Egypt – following Arthur and his group of followers.

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Ethan Hawke as Arthur Harrow in Moon Knight
Photo Credit: Disney/Marvel Studios

Since this is a Marvel series, the mental health struggles are discussed in a light -hearted way. Maybe Slater and his writers aren’t allowed to be dark and depressing, because it might be isolating Moon Knight the audience. Isaac plays Steven as an easily frightened idiot when he struggles with what Marc is doing. At one point, professional help was called but Moon Knight never succeeded with it. And while the show is getting closer to that reality, it feels like a conceptual gimmick – and not a serious examination of the Steven/Marc problem. I can’t say for sure because I haven’t seen the last two episodes. hopefully Moon Knight will prove me wrong in its last two episodes, because I want to be proven wrong.

To distinguish the two, Isaac switched accents between Steven (British) and Marc (American). It was a strange thing to experience at first, as it felt like Isaac who was usually brilliant was acting in an act or a comedy sketch. The effects need to get used to. Steven can also be a bit intolerant at times though, due to his temperament and behavior, though he’s also the only reason you get Moon Knight support. Marc, by the way, is a bit nasty. She thinks she is protecting the people she loves but in fact, she is isolating them. He doesn’t like to kill, and as a former mercenary, he has been part of a dubious mission. We didn’t see him stop any crime, save anyone, or do any good in the first four Moon Knight episode-even then he didn’t qualify him as an anti-hero. Without Steven’s side, Marc can’t be redeemed.

The brilliant Hawke, meanwhile, is caught playing a villain and a throat -voiced exposition machine. And this is also a bad dialogue with lines like “The Egyptian gods walk among us.” Moon Knight reminds me of a mediocre action-adventure film of the 2000s, with whites-Isaac is a Cuban-Guatemalan, but that legacy is erased with Steven Jewish and Marc American-running around in “exotic Middle Eastern locations ”, With wrong words like avatar and ushabti because there is no one around to correct it. Moon Knight threw the great Calamawy as an Egyptian token in the lead cast, but he felt knocked out to the sidelines. The love angle between Steven and Layla feels completely forced, especially considering what we were told about the way Marc treated Layla.

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May Calamawy as Layla El-Faouly, Oscar Isaac as Steven Grant in Moon Knight
Photo Credit: Gabor Kotschy/Marvel Studios

Bigger problem for Moon Knight is the lack of meaningful character scenes. The new Marvel series requires more of Marc and Layla’s past, and more scenes that perfect the Steven/Marc and Arthur dynamics, given the shared past. This scene is rare-when they come, they have the ability to lift the show, as these people temporarily feel like humans and not just pieces on a chessboard. If not, Moon Knight just move from one beat plot to the next.

And it’s not like the action is great either. Most action sequences operate on a “meh” scale; they never really involve you. Moon Knight get into promising situations, such as putting the protagonist at the weakest level, but then rushing through the solution. It skips the part that is supposed to be the most epic. Khonshu’s great healing powers are somewhat to blame for that, as his stakes are high if the character can’t be harmed in the form of a Moon Knight. There are some things that are admittedly cool, like the time the Moon Knight’s cape takes the shape of a crescent, or when he snatches himself across the roof and performs deadly movements in the air to perfection.

Moon Knight has always been a gamble, as bringing a lesser -known character to live action for the first time is a challenge. Especially involving a middle -aged man who suffers from mental illness, and who is inhabited by a vengeful god. Not only did Steven and Marc talk to each other through the show, they also constantly communicated with Khonshu. (The Egyptian god – a CGI character, per Marvel – has a scary design as well. Khonshu has a bird’s skull floating on top of a tall body that is part of a shield, part of a white bandage for limbs like a mummy, and an untied sweater on the shoulder. , and carries a ghost with a crescent -shaped tip.The Moon Knight has two crescent -shaped weapons embedded in his shield as well.)

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Karim El-Hakim as Khonshu in Moon Knight
Photo Credit: Disney/Marvel Studios

Those unique elements can also be a blessing, but Moon Knight just walking without meaning. In some ways, the new Marvel series is reminiscent of Chloé Zhao’s failure with Eternalwhich although its cast consists of immortal beings and narratives spanning thousands of years, collapses on the most fundamental question: character. Moon Knight too busy continuing the story to forget what makes a good TV. For the four episodes I watched, it was memorable and boring – although the fourth episode ended in a way that I was intrigued by what was to be offered from here on out. I really hope this doesn’t become something formulaic anymore, but we’ll have to watch the final two episodes to find out.

For now, Moon Knight represents a failed start to a new sheet for the Disney+ Marvel series. While Phase Four of the MCU has introduced new heroes on the big screen, the Disney+ party is largely about bringing its movie stars to TV. for sure, Hawkeye gave us the first new MCU heroes on TV with Kate Bishop led by Hailee Steinfeld, but she had Clint Barton led by Jeremy Renner co-leading the series. (Technically, Moon Knight isn’t a superhero, but you know what I mean.) That changed with that Moon Knight – It’s completely self -contained. More separate though than Eternal, which at least acknowledges the universe-changing effects of Avengers: Endgame. It’s so separate from the rest of the MCU that you can’t tell if it’s really part of it.

Moon Knight is a waste of that freedom – and the talents of Isaac and Hawke.

Moon Knight premiere Wednesday, March 30 at Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar. New episodes will air every Wednesday around 12:30 noon IST/ 12 am PT until 4 May.


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