Moon Knight Review

Moon Knight has been a C-level superhero in Marvel comics for many years since he first appeared in Werewolf by Night #32 in August 1975. He was created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin. His first stand-alone comic came out in 1980. Since then, he’s been an Avenger, a West Coast Avenger, and a member of the Midnight Sons. He’s had multiple incarnations over the years and various identities. The new Disney + show doubles down on these multiple identities and the associated disorder.

Steven Grant/Mark Spector/Moon Knight (Oscar Issac) is an museum gift shop worker. He has a problem figuring out which of the identities is actually him and which aren’t. Along with the mystery involving his identities, he has to uncover what is going on with the scarab in his pocket and the Egyptian God Khonshu. Also, a mysterious cult leader, Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), is interested in the scarab and its secrets. Issac’s characters get some help from a woman called Layla (May Calamawy), with whom he has a connection.

Moon Knight is the sixth Disney+ show, but it may be the darkest of the bunch so far. The whole idea of the Moon Knight character having a dissociative personality disorder is not for the light-hearted viewers. Especially kids. Moon Knight is labeled as Marvel’s version of Batman, but in theory, he is a lot different than the caped crusader. He is a mercenary seeking vengeance for the death of a friend, and he ends up becoming Moon Knight in the same situation. 

The show is a mix between The Da Vinci Code and Raiders of the Lost Ark. It has a lot of action and fighting sequences to go along with the action scenes. The characters go all over the place within Egypt and end up in the tomb of some ancient Egyptian God. It’s a galavanting show, which I expected from a series about Moon Knight. Considering the history of this character, this makes a lot of sense. This lends itself to the overall look of the show.  

The showrunners and writers of Moon Knight decided to go in a different direction than the comics, though. They chose to let the viewer be a bit confused, just like the show’s main character. It takes a few episodes for things to start making sense in the series. Once Isaac’s characters figure out who’s who, the storyline kicks into gear. The machinations of Hawke’s villain character are fleshed out more, and it’s interesting but confusing nonetheless. The show as a whole is a bit confusing to digest after seeing four episodes. 

Despite the confusion of the main characters and the plot of the series, there are some pluses. The show looks gorgeous, the cinematography of this series is the best of any of the shows so far. The setting of Egypt and the other locations of the film are gorgeous. The daytime scenes and the nighttime scenes alike are done exquisitely. Also, the visual effects are done very well. This series’s art direction and production value are the best of any Disney+ show so far.

The main draws of this series are Oscar Issac and Ethan Hawke. These are two of my favorite actors working today. As foils for each other, it makes me happy. Hawke is good, but Isaac is incredible as this character with this disorder. Bouncing back and forth between these characters seamlessly couldn’t have been easy. He does it like a champion. The directors help with this, using every shiny surface available to cut back and forth between these characters. Isaac is a great actor, but this might be the best work of his career.  

Moon Knight is a mixed bag. I didn’t dislike it, but it was a little confusing. I know it was meant to be a bit confusing because of the main characters. I just couldn’t follow along as well as I hoped I could. The show looked great, though. The technical departments of the show were on point, specifically the cinematography and visual effects. That said, the main reason to watch this series is Oscar Issac. He is doing some of the best work of his career here. Here’s hoping we get to see him again in more Midnight Sons projects down the road with less confusion about the character going forward.

3 1/2 stars

Dan Skip Allen

Sean Boelman Founder/EIC disappointment media

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