The strength of Marvel’s Disney+ series so far has been that each and every show has felt unique. Moon Knight is no different. In fact, it represents a lot of firsts for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Moon Knight is darker and more psychological than anything that has been done in the MCU before. It’s a supernatural mystery paired with a psychological character study wrapped up in a dark and tense tone.
It’s a bold addition to the offerings on Disney+ with plenty of hooks, twists and turns to keep audiences coming back each and every week.
Peeling back the hood of Moon Knight, we find Steven Grant, a humble and slightly awkward gift shop employee who spends his days obsessing over Ancient Egyptian mythology and his nights not sleeping much at all.
When Steven begins waking up in odd situations with no memory of how he got there he starts to realise he’s not alone and is in fact sharing his body with a mercenary by the name of Marc Spector.
Add to that the fact that Marc has been acting as the avatar for the Ancient Egyptian moon god, Khonshu, which gives him his own set of super abilities as the hooded figure Moon Knight, and you’ve got a whole lot going on in one head.
Dissociative identity disorder is at the heart of Moon Knight’s story. The exploration of mental health is integral to the show’s identity (pardon the pun) rather than being an afterthought. It’s another step for diversity in the MCU and it feels like it’s in capable hands.
Oscar Isaac is easily the star of the show here, portraying both Marc and Steven as well as taking on hero duties as Moon Knight. Marc/Steven’s struggle to reconcile his opposing personalities makes for an incredibly compelling journey and Isaac is fully committed to realising it.
The actor imbues each of his personas with distinguishable quirks. While Steven’s thick British accent was questionable in early trailers, you’ll be grateful for it as the episodes go on. Marc, meanwhile, is American, stoic and ruthless, with an intriguing past waiting to be uncovered.
Isaac does a lot of the heavy lifting to differentiate Moon Knight’s personalities but the series bolsters this with a range of visual techniques. Everything from costume, to editing to camera angles, supports the psychological narrative that Moon Knight is trying to tell.
You’re watching a Marvel series so you’re probably wondering how Moon Knight’s hero antics hold up?
The character is a complex one. Moon Knight is more of a vigilante than a traditional superhero and his motives are often conflicted. That’s probably because neither Steven nor Mark seems to agree on what sort of hero Moon Knight should be.
Appearances of the hooded costume are also less frequent than expected but when Moon Knight does appear it’s worth the wait.
This marks the first time a Marvel hero has been given an origin story spread across a six-episode series, rather than a solo movie and Moon Knight takes this opportunity and runs with it.
At first, like its character, Moon Knight struggles to find its identity. But by episode three the train is firmly on track for a blockbuster back half, that isn’t afraid to flip expectations.
It’s hard to pin down exactly what Moon Knight feels similar to. It has many of the elements that make up a fun treasure-hunting romp like The Mummy or National Treasure. But it also has a darker psychological thriller element that is more akin to something like Mr Robot or Legion.
Make no mistake, Moon Knight is about as far into dark and bloody horror territory as the MCU has dared to go. I’d even go ahead and say it has grit that rivals The Batman.
But, surprisingly, it’s also full of humour.
Whether it’s Isaac trading quips between his opposing personalities or impatient insults from an Egyptian god, Moon Knight balances its grittiness with frequent doses of comedy.
Its closest companions in the MCU are probably Loki, Doctor Strange or Eternals, but on the whole, this Disney+ series feels very distinct from any title before it.
If you’re a fan of all of the above then good news! You’ll probably like Moon Knight.
The blending of genres is one of Moon Knight’s main strengths, but it could come as a turn off for those who aren’t willing to get on board with the show’s mind-bending antics. It’s one of those shows where you just have to be willing to go along for the ride, and if you do, you’ll ultimately be rewarded with a thrilling one.
Moon Knight isn’t afraid to explore uncharted territory within the MCU and it’s all the better for it.
Moon Knight: The Verdict
Pros: Unique blend of genres, intriguing character study, Oscar Isaac steals the show.
Cons: Takes a few episodes to find itself.
Watch it if you like: The Mummy, Mr Robot.
Moon Knight airs weekly on Disney+ starting on March 30.
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