TL;DR – An intriguing opening, more tease than substance, which could be a good sign for the future
Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this series.
Moon Knight Review –
While I thought I had a reasonably good idea of the realms in the MCU and Marvel in general, as we get into the wilds of Phase Four, we are starting to get into areas that I do not know about. Today is an excellent example of this because coming into Moon Knight, I don’t think I had ever really heard of the character bar one or two comic stills of him being sassy that pop up as memes now and again. Meaning we are diving into the deep end this week.
So to set the scene, on all accounts, Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac) is a perfectly average person. He goes to work at the London Museum, has dinner out, enjoys that town, and loves ancient Egyptian history. The only issue is that he straps himself to his bed at night, puts sand around his bed, and seals the door multiple ways. Because Steven suffers from dissociative identity disorder, which manifests when he is asleep, leading to him waking up in random places. His steps at control are working, right up until one night he wakes up not in his bed but outside a castle somewhere in Europe, and everyone is shooting at him. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
The first strength of this show is its cast. Oscar is delightful in his “English” accent as he tries to piece together what is happening to himself while still keeping some sort of control. He throws himself into the role and is both the main driver of the story, the mystery we need to solve, and the audience’s character. And I think he pulls off the trifecta. To add to this, Ethan Hawke is chilling as Arthur Harrow, a sort of cult leader/religious figure/avatar of an Egyptian God. He embeds everything that can be powerful and deeply dangerous about religious leaders, making the moments when these two characters meet almost electric.
Having the show set in London was also a good shift as the MCU has been very US/New York focused, allowing them to find new avenues for storytelling. To add to this, I liked the framework that the show used to make things work. I was concerned that a show so heavily based around mental health could be an issue, but they have handled it well so far. As a history and mythology nerd, I also liked the dive into the Egyptian religion and stories. The depiction of Ammit is a slight upscaling of their role, but it still works in the context of the mythology. However, while there was a lot to like, this episode was all setup and not much else. This setup focus is understandable, given it is the first episode. However, it does lead me to some hesitancy because most Disney+ shows like WandaVision have had great opening episodes but have not been able to keep that momentum going until the end.
In the end, do we recommend Moon Knight: The Goldfish Problem? Yes, yes we do, if for Oscar Isaac’s performance alone. Those moments when he wakes up and finds himself driving a confectionary truck with being chased by cars of goons, not knowing how he got there and then having to stay alive makes for some compelling viewing. I just hope it can keep this intensity up for the long haul.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Moon Knight
Directed by – Mohamed Diab
Written by – Jeremy Slater
Created by – Jeremy Slater
Based On – Marvel Comics
Production/Distribution Companies – Marvel Studios & Disney+
Starring – Oscar Isaac, May Calamawy, Karin el Hakim, F. Murray Abraham & Ethan Hawke with Lucy Thackeray, Saffron Hocking & Shaun Scott