Series review: Moon Knight is by far the most unique superhero origin story told
Egyptian gods are now introduced in MCU!
Following the plot-changing events that have happened in the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies and series, fans can now expect Moon Knight to officially join the blockbuster franchise on Mar 30 on Disney+.
Previous origin stories from the MCU such as Iron Man, Thor, and most recently, Eternals have placed quite the focus on its protagonists’ powers and special abilities.
However, Moon Knight takes a rather different approach. The suits and powers do not take much of the spotlight. If anything, they simply become just accessories while the show takes its time to unpack and dissect the complexity of its protagonists.
It was refreshing to see the characters shine through with their personalities rather than just their flashy armours and abilities. This makes the show one of the most unique and brilliant introductions to a character in the MCU.
I had the amazing opportunity to review the first four episodes of the show. Since each episode was about an hour long, I was not expecting to binge through all four hours in one sitting. But I did that. Twice.
Going into the show, I had little expectations as I have not read the Moon Knight comics before. However, the trailer was so captivating that I was excited to see how Marvel would unfold this story.
Each episode left me wanting more as I fell in love with the characters and got hooked onto its storyline.
Directed by Mohamed Diab, the show introduces Steven Grant, a simple man who lives day-to-day working at a museum gift shop. Steven, however, struggles to distinguish the difference between his dreams and his reality. He soon finds out that he suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) where he shares his body with Marc Spector, a mercenary working for an Egyptian god.
In the series, Steven and Marc are forced to learn how to navigate their separate lives and personalities as one body as they uncover buried secrets and tombs hidden by these Egyptian gods.
Themes such as self-discovery, mental health, dreams and reality are heavily referenced throughout the show.
The show walks the audience through the story in the perspective of Steven. From the beginning, Steven is just as clueless as the audience when it comes to the existence of Marc and the separate life he leads.
Despite being played by the same actor, it is easy to distinguish Steven from Marc. This has to be credited to the phenomenal performance by Oscar Isaac. Known for his role as Poe Dameron in the Star Wars franchise, Oscar was masterful in switching from Steven to Marc seamlessly within seconds.
Arthur Harrow, played by Ethan Hawke who is known for his role in The Purge, is the show’s antagonist. Arthur’s charisma and leadership enable him to establish a cult of personality. As the show progresses, it becomes clear as to why people choose to follow his orders.
While he is generous and empathetic to everyone around him, his misguided beliefs in what is right and wrong often challenges our protagonists’ ideologies.
Gifted with the ability to see whether a person will do more good or bad in their life, Arthur eliminates those that are predicted to be evil-doers. This presents the moral dilemma – if you had the power to see someone doing evil in the future, is it okay to punish them for it before it happens?
The message of how right and wrong is not always black and white has been explored by Marvel through movies such as Avengers Infinity War, Black Panther, and many more. The show further emphasises this important understanding as the episodes progresses.
Layla El-Fouly, played by Maya Calamawy, is an explorer and archaeologist for Egyptian relics. With her strong personality, she is often the person that grounds the stories and characters. When Steven and Marc are caught up with their own issues, she becomes a strong rock and boulder for them to rely on.
Layla also has good chemistry with both Steven and Marc despite their differences. It is interesting to see how she approaches both personalities differently. For example, she recognises quickly that Steven is better at solving the Egyptian riddles and piecing clues together while Marc’s quick and strategic thinking is useful in getting them out of danger.
Overall, the show is well-paced. There was a right amount of information given to the audience at every exchange between the characters. The small digestible chunks of exposition were helpful in allowing me to keep up with the complex story and character development.
There was also no pressure in needing to know about all the different events that have happened in the extended MCU story.
The show can be watched as a simple standalone series for newer audiences to the MCU story. Information from the past movies and shows from the MCU franchise is not needed to understand the story being told in Moon Knight.
Moon Knight is meticulous in building tension throughout with music and sound. The immersive auditory experience helped reflect the anguish and anxiety of its protagonists. The picturesque but sometimes hallucinatory shots also perfectly match with the story they are trying to tell.
Audiences can expect some mind-bending plot twists that leave them on the edge of their seats.
Moon Knight has brought superhero storytelling and character study to a different level as compared to its predecessors.
There is still more character development yet to be covered in the show. I am honestly excited to see how the unexpected events in Moon Knight will impact the beloved MCU story going forward.