Moon Knight is a masterpiece. Moon Knight is, as a character, a bit of an outlier. Since his initial run under the expert hands of Doug Moench and Bill Sienkiewicz, he’s gradually transformed from alpha male playboy vigilante to a fractured shell of a man, haunted by an obscure god, grappling with split personalities, and flung into a superheroics blender.
In short, he’s less like Batman, and more like Legion. Tonally, this is a challenging place for Disney+ to kick off a rollicking adventure story. And yet… that’s what they’ve succeeded in doing.
I’ve had the pleasure of viewing the first four episodes (there’ll be six in total by the time the season is done) of Moon Knight, a truly thrilling ride through the mind of Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac), a meek, troubled British gift shop attendant who works at the British Museum, reluctantly hocking merch to children, trying his best to flex his historical expertise.
Moon Knight Review
Steven is… well, he’s a sweetheart. He’s got a wry sense of humour, is tragically self-deprecating, and has absolutely no conflict resolution skills. So when he begins to blackout and wake up in strange places, it becomes immediately apparent that something is terribly, terribly wrong.
The problem, it turns out, is Konshu. An Egyptian deity primarily concerned with meting out justice and vengeance, Konshu has made Steven his avatar. Well… not Steven. The other Steven. Because in a truly frightening twist, there’s someone else occupying Steven’s body when he’s not around.
If you’ve read any Moon Knight comics, Marc is probably your primary point of contact. He’s an ex-mercenary and a consummate hardass, but what makes this Moon Knight series so special is that he’s just as likeable as Steven. Oscar has managed to imbue both sides of his persona with charm and heart, meaning there’s no tiresome battle between the two (at least, not beyond the weird buddy cop faux-antagonism they slip into before long).
Both Steven and Marc have worth, as characters and as people. It’s a fantastically fresh approach to split personality storytelling, frankly., and it helps propel Moon Knight along without a hint of baggage or toxicity.
But how did the show’s directors manage to craft this delicate balancing act? I sat down with them to find out.
Honestly, I’m loath to reveal anything substantive – if you’ve read the comics, Moon Knight will joyously subvert all expectations. And if you haven’t read them, you’re going to be bonked on the head over and over by reveal after reveal.
Moon Knight is, at its core, a deft fusion of The Mummy, The Bourne Identity and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It’s got the potential to be the best Disney+ Marvel show yet.
Between Oscar Isaac’s effortlessly weird performance(s), Ethan Hawke’s staggering turn as the charismatic Arthur Harrow, and May Calamawy’s brilliant Layla El-Faouly, the core cast could carry ten times as many episodes without breaking a sweat.
Moon Knight is going to blow minds.
The first four episodes were provided to PowerUp! and Paul Verhoeven by Disney.