The only word that has been stuck in my head is hippo.
Moon Knight is a 2022 psychological thriller-mystery superhero series directed by Mohamed Diab, Aaron Moorhead, and Justin Benson, created by Jeremy Slater, produced by Marvel Studios, and distributed by Disney Platform Distribution. It is based off of various Moon Knight comics by Marvel Comics. The show stars Oscar Isaac and May Calamawy. This is the thirty-third project in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, being the sixth TV show. It was preceded by Spider-Man: No Way Home and Hawkeye and will be followed by Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Ms. Marvel.
"This is a suicide mission." - Marc Spector
After Layla El-Faouly shows up and helps Steven Grant uncover the secret behind Marc Spector, their adventure moves to Egypt, where an increasingly dangerous Arthur Harrow continues to get closer to unleashing the power of Ammit upon the world.
My Quick General Thoughts
In general, I'm very conflict on Moon Knight. I really loved the first episode, but it kind of feels like the quality is waning (pun intended) with each episode. Episodes three and four became a pretty generic Indiana Jones-type adventure, and I was checking out for a bit there.
Then the end of episode four just drops an absolute bombshell on the show and leaves you wondering what is going on. So that changed my thoughts completely.
The Ending of Episode Four
The thing I want to talk about and the thing I'm sure everyone wants to talk about is the end of episode four.
For about two episodes now, we've been following Marc/Steven and Layla on an adventure to find Ammit's tomb in Egypt. Episode three teased some very interesting things, with a possible third personality being revealed. However, I felt like the third episode lost its footing a little bit. The action wasn't exciting. The story got confusing and boring. Near the end, I was pretty burnt out on the episode, but I hoped episode four would get me back on board.
Then episode four was more of the same. The low point of the show is the middle of episode four. There are scenes that I liked, but overall, the story was losing steam.
It all starts to shift when Arthur Harrow shoots and seemingly kills Marc Spector in a confrontation after Marc finds Ammit. Marc falls into a pool of water and disappears into the cosmos.
The screen fades to black and we go into this WandaVision-like sequence of mind-bending events. We see this mental asylum where everything that we've seen in the show so far appears: Layla, cupcakes, a Rubik's cube, Marc's goldfish, a Moon Knight action figure, etc. Marc meets with his doctor: Arthur Harrow. When he tries to escape, he finds Steven. Steven's in a separate body but still played by Oscar Isaac. They run through the halls of the asylum and open the doors to find a god-like hippo greeting them.
This twist was so insane and so well done. It has the unease and tension that you want while also just adding a whole new layer of "what the hell" to Moon Knight. It came at the absolute perfect time. I really loved it. I'm hoping they pay it off in episodes five and six. I don't know what's happening. I don't know how it's happening. But I am very interested and I am dying to see the next episode so I can get some answers.
There's a few other positives I want to touch on real quick.
First off, I think Arthur Harrow is one of the better MCU villains. He's calm and collected. He can be likable at points throughout the show. There was a time in episode two where I legitimately thought that he was a protagonist. That's a really well written villain. His motives are psychotic but also kind of make sense. I think Ethan Hawke's performance fits the role nicely. I really, really like him. I don't think they should use him in future projects. I actually expect him to die at the end of Moon Knight. But I think he serves as a very nice obstacle for this specific story.
They still do a nice job of blending genres. Moon Knight barely feels like a superhero show. We don't have a lot of Moon Knight or Mr. Knight punching people in the face. Neither of them were in episode four. And I like that. It has that adventure feel, which I definitely appreciate. I really like when it dips into psychological thriller/horror. It feels like that aspect has been missing a little bit in episode three and four, but the end of episode four brought that back.
I do think, sadly, that I am more negative on episodes three and four than I am positive. Together, this basically acts as an hour and a half movie. And I'm probably negative on an hour of that. Once again, individual scenes are enjoyable, but I'm losing it a little on the overarching story.
I fell off the Moon Knight train over these two episodes. I got back on with the twist, but I want to stay on, and I'm worried that episodes five and six will not be able to keep me on the train.
My biggest problem with the show is that I simply do not find the adventure compelling. It feels so generic and so uninteresting. They try to squeeze Egyptian mythology into this show, which just does not work. It feels like The Da Vinci Code...which is a movie I don't like. It's like a giant puzzle that is connected to history and mythology...but they don't do a good job of explaining the history and mythology. It's like they expect every audience member to know a lot of Egyptian mythology. And that just does not work.
And there's nothing new. We've seen adventure movies and TV shows a million times before. Our main characters have to get to an item that's hidden deep within some crypt before the bad guys get it. That's what Moon Knight is. And that's just not that interesting. They don't really put any kind of spin on it. Yes, I enjoy the relationship triangle between Marc, Steven, and Layla. But I just think that the adventure is so cliche and unoriginal, which is really unfortunate. Hopefully the twist does actually matter. I don't want this to be a temporary event inside the show. If it just turns out that this is some big non-sequitur and we just end up going back to the crappy adventure, I'm going to be pissed.
I wish I could say that I was confident Marvel will pull it off. But there have been five Marvel shows, and only one of them has had a truly great finale. WandaVision, What If...?, and Hawkeye all had very disappointing finales. Moon Knight needs to outsmart the audience. The answers that they give us need to be more interesting than the mystery. We need to not be expecting the answers. WandaVision set up this incredibly intriguing mystery...but the mystery was more intriguing than the answers we got. So I hope that same fate does not befall Moon Knight. I'm worried. But I am also holding out hope that Moon Knight will be able to stick the landing.
Moon Knight lost it a little bit in episodes three and four, but a bombshell twist at the end of episode four sends the show back into the stratosphere and gives me hope that it will finish in a satisfying way.
Fun Factor: 7.5/10
Created by Jeremy Slater
Rated TV-14 for superhero violence and action, disturbing images, frightening scenes, thematic elements
Premiered on March 30, 2022
Episode runtime: 50 minutes
Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector / Steven Grant / Moon Knight / Mr. Knight
May Calamawy as Layla El-Faouly
Ethan Hawke as Arthur Harrow
F. Murray Abraham as Khonshu
Gaspard Ulliel as Anton Mogart / Midnight Man