Moon Knight is a step in a new direction for Marvel

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Marvel’s Moon Knight is a new and unique spin on the rinse and repeat MCU formula that has been in use since Iron Man in 2008 and is still prevailing to this day. Moon Knight is Marvel’s 6th Disney+ series which revolves around a masked vigilante with different identities that all form together to create Moon Knight. Moon Knight blends the styles of Indiana Jones (1981) and The Mummy (1999) and creates a seamless transition into being its own entity yet also being a part of a larger universe.

Oscar Isaac is fantastic as Steven Grant/Marc Specter/Moon Knight as he can seamlessly shift between these different characters yet maintain the same emotional and acting quality consistently throughout the run series. This creates some interesting conflicts between the different identities as shifting between them causes many problems. Even though identities are changing throughout the show on a regular basis, the show never gets too convoluted and confusing to the point where the viewer is stumped; it leaves room for suspense and mystery yet it remains coherent.

Another standout in the series is May Calamawy’s character of Layla who is equally as interesting as Moon Knight as she offers insight into Mark Specter’s dark mercenary background and she also is an instrumental part of the plot towards the end. The world-building is also fantastic as the series builds an outlandish and larger-than-life world with copious amounts of Egyptian mythological lore yet the story isn’t caught in its expansive grasp as the plot moves smoothly and stays relatively grounded.

The true highlight of the series is Ethan Hawke’s character Arthur Harrow who proves to be more than just an evil villain, but a true antagonist with a real motive that ties in perfectly to the supernatural nature of the plot. It’s also exciting to see the MCU deal with some darker and more violent themes as it shows that the MCU isn’t afraid to appeal to a more mature audience. Similarly, in the past, we have gotten shows like Daredevil, The Punisher, and Jessica Jones that were part of the Netflix Marvel TV show deal that are even darker and more brutal than Moon Knight as the MCU isn’t going the full R rated route just as of yet. Another comparable piece of media as of late is The Batman (2022) as they both are similar in regards to the darker nature of the story and both heroes are masked vigilantes who aren’t afraid to seriously harm their enemies, however, they are different in regards to the style and finished product as The Batman is more serious, slick and meticulously made in a sort of artful way whereas Moon Knight still utilizes the trademark MCU comedy which as of late is very hit or miss in almost all of their projects.

Overall, the dark tone of Moon Knight is effective but only as starting step and it would favor the MCU if they dived a little deeper in future projects especially now that they have acquired characters like the X-men and Deadpool which have historically been for more mature audiences. The settings of the show also pair in nicely with the tone as they could be playful like the markets and streets of Cairo and could also be a little scary like the tombs of deserted pyramids. The series also lends itself to Egyptian mythological locations such as the field of reeds and the Duat.

The end credits scene also sets up a second season quite brilliantly as a third personality is shown and it was teased throughout the entirety of the show as Marc and Steven both blackout and come back having committed some violent actions that none of them were in control of. In the comics, this third personality is Jake Lockley who was a taxi cab driver in the comics but has been repurposed in the series as a ruthless killer who has no mercy towards anyone. The show also deviates from the comics a little as Moon Knight was made to be Marvel’s take on Batman and details between the two masked vigilantes were very similar, however personally I enjoyed that the series made Moon Knight into his own character instead of basing him off of another more popular hero for familiarity.

Even though the series was quite enjoyable there are some glaring issues that simply cannot be ignored. Firstly, the CGI and especially the green screen effects in the first few episodes is downright laughable and it’s the worst I’ve ever seen in any MCU property to date. However, the CGI did improve vastly as the series progressed and some renders and creature designs towards the end were actually quite impressive and very well put together. Another problem I had was with the show’s reluctance to move on from the constructing MCU formula as towards the beginning the show was quite different and had many eye-catching plot points that hadn’t been seen before however as the show progressed towards the finale the plot points became bare bones and were quite predictable at some points. Finally, my biggest gripe with the show was the poor conclusion that in my opinion was quite anti-climactic and was sort of a spit in the face to the audience as all the momentum generated throughout was abruptly stopped by a variable that the viewer couldn’t even see as the conflict went from a dangerous build-up of events to just magically ending. I feel as if the show could have been even better than it already is as I believe some potential was gone to waste. Overall Moon Knight is a confident step in the right direction for the future of the MCU in catering to a more mature audience and delivering upon a new catalog of heroes that will become household names soon enough.

I personally cannot wait to see what they do next with Moon Knight in a potential season 2 or even as a cameo in a future Marvel project as I would look to see Oscar Isaac and Moon Knight be an integral part of the future of the MCU