TV Review - Marvel's Moon Knight (Episodes 1-2)

Original series streaming now.

Moon Knight is a 2022 superhero psychological thriller-mystery 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 Ethan Hawke. This is the thirty-third project in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, being the sixth TV show. It was preceded by Hawkeye and Spider-Man: No Way Home.


"Why did you call me Marc?" - Steven Grant

Plot


Gift shop employee Steven Grant begins to wonder what is happening to his life and his sanity when he starts seeing and hearing things that aren't there. As things get crazier, Steven learns more and more about his mysterious second personality, Marc Spector...the Moon Knight.


Psychological Thriller / Oscar Isaac / Ethan Hawke and Arthur Harrow / Building Mystery / Completely Different MCU / Egyptian Mythology / Rocky Pace / Can They Pull it Off?


The Sweet


Moon Knight brings something completely different to the MCU. In the first two episodes, we've gotten a little bit of action, but it's mostly this building sense of paranoia. As soon as the first episode of the show began, I realized what Moon Knight is: it's a psychological thriller. The only reason I labeled it as a "superhero" show is because Moon Knight himself is a superhero and it's in the MCU. But this is much more a psychological thriller than it is a superhero show. You feel like you are going crazy alongside Steven Grant. The way they use mirrors and lighting in this show is amazing, and just continues to add to the mess-with-your-head nature of the story. I love psychological thrillers. And Moon Knight is a psychological thriller inside of the MCU. Which is fantastic.


I love Oscar Isaac. I loved him in Star Wars. I loved him in Ex Machina. I loved him in Dune. But I think this is my favorite role of his. He lets his freak flag fly here. The way he plays these two personalities is just genius. When he switches personalities, you believe that he is a completely different person. One side is calm and collected, while the other side is nervous. He really does a good job of elevating that paranoia and craziness that I talked about before.


Ethan Hawke also plays one of the calmer and more unique MCU villains. This guy poses no physical threat to Moon Knight. He's actually even nice to him at parts. There was a segment of episode two where I was convinced that he was actually a good guy. You understand what he's doing, even though you don't necessarily agree with it. I cannot wait to see what they do with him over the next few episodes.


The show also has this slow-building mystery that I'm really interested in. As of right now, they are doing a pretty good job of answering questions while also creating new questions. The mystery is nice and balanced. It's definitely not as compelling as WandaVision or Loki, but maybe that's just a product of me having only seen the first two episodes. The central mystery is still kind of unclear, but there is a sense of mystery surrounding the entire thing that gets me very invested in it.


If I went into this show with no context and no prior knowledge, I would not know that it's in the MCU. It has a little bit of action. It has a few one-liners. It has superheroes. And it has the Marvel intro. And that's where the similarities end. The story and tone are completely different. This is absolutely the closest that Marvel has ever gotten to an R-rating. This is what I want Phase Four to be. More experimental. Not stuff like Shang-Chi and Eternals. We need more stuff like Moon Knight.


The Sour


I don't have a ton of huge problems with Moon Knight right now. There are a few things that bother me about the show, though.


The first is the Egyptian mythology they've got going on. Normally, world-building is a good thing...but the MCU has had thirty-two movies and TV shows. Plenty of world-building has been done. There's a long, huge lore that stretches across the multiverse...and they are trying to introduce this group of immensely powerful Egyptian gods that have been around for centuries. Well, if that's the case, how come they didn't fight Thanos? Why haven't they met Thor? It's frustrating. And I really don't think they are integrating it well. This is where the MCU can get tough, because it is such a tightly woven universe that has a delicate continuity, and it feels like you are breaking that a little bit by introducing Egyptian gods.


The pace also feels a little bit uneven. There are parts that are so edge-of-your-seat intense...and then the next scene will be kind of boring. And that trend continues throughout the show. I thought episode one was super exciting and I absolutely loved it. Episode two wasn't as good. It was still fun and had the psychological thrills, but traded some of that for crappy action that I didn't really enjoy. It felt like it threw off the pace of the show a little bit. Hopefully episode three will balance it out.


My biggest worry with Moon Knight is if they can actually stick the landing. There have been five Marvel shows so far: WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, What If...?, and Hawkeye. Besides Loki, every single finale has disappointed me. WandaVision didn't pay off the mystery in a good way. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier had too much it had to solve and didn't pay it off in a satisfying way. What If...? exchanged awesome setup for stupid action. And Hawkeye promised the return of a great villain, but underutilized him and possibly killed him off. Because of this track record, I'm pretty worried about Moon Knight. I do think it will come down to the final episode, and, as much as I want to, I don't really trust Marvel when it comes to TV finales. So I'm very nervous for the back half of this show. But we'll see. As of right now, it's definitely one of the best shows.


Final Thoughts


Moon Knight has gotten off to a promising start. Despite some bumps in the road, this psychological thriller is one of the coolest and most unique MCU projects. Hopefully, they stick the landing with the second half of the show.


Fun Factor: 9/10

Acting: 9/10

Story: 8/10

Characters: 8.5/10

Quality: 8.5/10


"Moon Knight"


Created by Jeremy Slater


Rated TV-14 for superhero violence and action, disturbing images, language, thematic elements


Premiered on March 30, 2022


Episode runtime: 50 minutes


Oscar Isaac as Steven Grant / Marc Spector / Moon Knight

Ethan Hawke as Arthur Harrow

May Calamawy as Layla El-Faouly

F. Murray Abraham as Khonshu

Shaun Scott as Crawley