As the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues its expansion further into the cosmos and the all-encompasing multiverse, new films and series have very seldom felt like their own entities. With the interconnectivity of these projects as complex as it is, each release has usually included dozens of items listed on their ‘required watching’ lists. It’s refreshing, then, that Moon Knight – the newest MCU series to hit Disney Plus – really does feel more like a standalone entry… or at least a slight intermission from the typical saga.
But far, the most memorable part of the show is the performances from Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke. The former gives essentially a double-role as the socially-awkward British gift shop employee Steven Grant, and as the hardass American mercenary Marc Spector; the latter serves up a chilling portrayal of cult-leader Arthur Harrow. If nothing else, Moon Knight is enjoyable for these two.
Something superhero movies and series have commonly suffered from is a lack of well-written motives for their antagonists. Moon Knight avoids this problem… almost — the motives here are decent, but ultimately left a bad taste in my mouth. Essentially, Harrow’s cult’s MO revolves around eliminating bad eggs from the population before they turn bad, using the muderous judgements and power of the Egyptian goddess Ammit, in the hopes of creating an inherently better population of humans. Not a terrible motive, but ultimately one that is underutilized and kind of re-used; Captain America: The Winter Soldier has essentially the same thing going on, not to mention other films like Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report (2002).
Each episode of Moon Knight feels different from the last, and quite frankly, it’s all over the place. The show starts out as a psychological mystery (really gripping); then quickly morphs into an adventure akin to Indiana Jones (fun, but nothing new); and later on a metaphysical drama not dissimilar to something like Inception (really weird and interesting), with a bit of character study drizzled on top (YES please). I liked many of these — particularly the more character-driven moments — but overall, it would’ve been nice if the writers had chosen one or two of these genre alleyways to explore, rather than parading down each and every back-alley. It seemed like the whole vibe of the show changed every time I started to get invested in the current tone, and it felt quite disjointed as a result.
Moon Knight isn’t terrible, but a lot of its potential was weighed down by some difficult-to-ignore flaws in its structure and overall screenplay. Since the true saving grace is the performances, I would recommend this to any fans of Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke; they’re both extremely memorable here. Other than that, Moon Knight boasts some fun twists and turns in an otherwise decent story.
Overall rating: 6/10