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16th May 2022

Moon Knight: A predictable return to Marvel’s superhero formula

Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke shine in this disappointing first outing of one of Marvel’s most controversial characters
Moon Knight: A predictable return to Marvel’s superhero formula
Photo: Ancient Egypt, by Natalie Maguire @ flickr

Written by Alex Harris.

After a few big money misfires, Moon Knight is a return to form for Marvel television in what is a gripping and insightful exploration of Egyptian Mythology, mental health, and dissociative identity disorder.

Gorgeous cinematography, thrilling choreography, and the writing excellence of shows like Daredevil, this has got to be the most entertaining, and unique of Marvel’s recent projects both on the big and small screens…is what I wish I could have said about this series.

Moon Knight has a troubled history in the world of Marvel comic books. Created by Doug Moench in 1975, Marc Spector and his multiple personalities were repeatedly D-list status, nothing more than a street level hero during his early years. Until the 90s Moon Knight was little more than a horror protagonist with a cool costume and a Scooby-Doo like habit of unmasking petty criminals.

It was in 2006 when the character saw a resurgence, shaped by new writing and ambitious storytelling into the mentally ill super detective fans now know and love.

The show then was dealing with a rocky past, but rather than embracing his complexities and mixed appeal, Moon Knight slumps into mediocrity and suffers the same flaws that every Disney+ show seems to share.

For a show called Moon Knight, I could count on half a hand the amount of times the superhero shows up. Oscar Isaac’s interpretation of Steven Grant with the awful English accent to match was just grating whilst the pacing was simply baffling.

However, Oscar Isaac’s portrayal of Marc Spector is spot on whilst the contrast between Steven and Marc is incredibly well performed. Ethan Hawke as the villain Arthur Harrow is also impeccable, he embodies the charisma of a sadistic cult leader very well. It’s just that the character has no real substance behind him.

The story is meant to be a in depth character study of Moon Knight but it becomes subject to the Disney+/Marvel formula, and although it’s not bad per se, it’s extremely disappointing to the people who have liked what the comic books have done with Moon Knight in the past.

Some episodes have their strengths, like episodes 4 and 5 where the tone of the comics is captured. However, the rest of the series feels like Marvel have completely misunderstood what fans of the character wanted to see.

Fans like the character because his struggles with his mental health issues are also predicated on trying to do the right thing. He feels human, and he doesn’t change costume based on which personality is in control.

Marc Spector’s Jewish heritage is also completely brushed over. In the comics, Marc’s relationship with his Rabbi father is vital to the balance between his violent lifestyle and his morality. In the show, it is touched upon once when Spector’s family is sitting Shiva, but his relationship with his father is never really explored in depth.

In summary, the performances are solid, but the story is badly paced and the Disney formula for Marvel acts in detriment to the character. Cringeworthy quips and a horrifically boring finale leaves much to be asked.

I really hope the second season gives fans the show they deserved.


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