The character of Moon Knight has often been described as Marvel Entertainment’s answer to Batman. But even that description strips away a lot of the characteristics that make the hero unique. Yes, in the comics, both characters are well-funded playboys who masquerade as tools of vengeance in the shadows of their respective cities (Gotham for Bats, New York City for Moon Knight). Yet, there’s a rich mythology rooted in Egyptian culture – as well as a serious study into mental illness – that can separate Moon Knight from the Caped Crusader, and it’s in those lines that Disney+’s latest drama finds ample room to explore.
Moon Knight will be a six-episode series on Disney+, the latest in the growing line of limited-episode Marvel stories that have centered around characters like Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) while also introducing new heroes such as Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld). The bar gets raised in Moon Knight by both leading man Oscar Isaac – playing two sides of a complicated coin – and his antagonist, Arthur Harrow (played by Ethan Hawke). Both men are vessels of vengeance, driven by ancient gods with opposing approaches to how justice is doled out. How they come to grips with these terms drives much of the action in the opening episodes of this riveting series.
Much has been made over the years by Marvel’s gift at casting, and Oscar Isaac is just the latest choice that, in hindsight, feels perfect. Moon Knight, as a hero, suffers from dissociative identity disorder, meaning that he encounters various identities inside of himself, often leading to very confusing situations. In the comics, the dominant personality in Moon Knight is Marc Spector, a mercenary who is highly trained in combat and about as lethal as they come. But the new program Moon Knight wisely chooses to keep Spector at bay and channel the story through the eyes of a different personality, that of Steven Grant.
Grant is everything that Marc Spector is not. A seemingly innocuous clerk in a museum gift shop, Steven wouldn’t say “Boo” to his own shadow. All he knows is that he suffers from a debilitating sleep disorder. The truth is, when he blacks out, Marc is taking over their shared body, and embarking on missions in the name of the Egyptian god of vengeance, Khonshu.
The juggling act between Steven and Marc is what makes Moon Knight so unique – the action scenes are solid, if not customary for Marvel television by this point. And it’s Oscar Isaac’s raw talent that brings both sides of this character to life so vividly. Thanks to his flawless interpretation, we easily fear Marc and fear FOR Steven… sometimes in the very same scene. By telling the story through Steven’s POV, Moon Knight also cleverly keeps the audience in the dark on the bigger picture, and dishes out information only when it’s important for Steven to know it.
By the end of the first episode, which lands on Disney+ beginning on March 30, you get a hint of the Moon Knight hero, and a stronger sense of the complicated relationship between Steven, Marc, Khonshu, and any other personalities that might be waiting to emerge from Oscar Isaac. You will learn more about Arthur in Episode 2, and see a lot more action from Moon Knight in the episodes that follow. But as a standalone thriller that so far doesn’t have very many ties to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and a step into the supernatural that’s more brutal and dark than we have seen from Marvel in the past, Moon Knight is appointment television, and has the potential to be one of the most exciting new entries in this ever-expanding on-screen universe.
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