With a new year comes a new hero to the ever-growing cast of characters that inhabit the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the 2021 Marvel Disney+ shows offered a retrospective insight into characters we were already familiar with, 2022 promises a completely new slew of characters, the first being the mysterious Moon Knight who was as popular to the mainstream as Ant-Man was before his own movie came out. Through this six-episode event, the MCU delivered what is arguably the darkest of the MCU shows and honestly, the show never quite dipped in quality. Even the finale, believe it or not, didn’t bog down the quality of the entire series. It was a properly decent show with some awe-inducing acting from Oscar Isaac and some fascinating new additions to MCU lore. All of that being said, six episodes were definitely not enough for a show with this calibre and in the end, while still being great, you can’t help but imagine what it could’ve been had it been around ten to thirteen episodes.
major spoilers for Marvel Studios’ ‘Moon Knight’ are included in this review.
Just like the Guardians of The Galaxy, Ant-Man and Shang-Chi, Moon Knight is a character I knew little to nothing about going into his MCU adaptation. It seems like this character would’ve made a lot more sense to make a movie about instead of a group of anti-heroes including a talking racoon and humanoid tree roaming through space but nevertheless, in 2022, Moon Knight arrives on the scene, not in a movie but a miniseries. Already, the miniseries aspect proves worrisome as the amount of acknowledgement these Disney Plus shows get in the movies is bizarrely limited and ‘Moon Knight’ definitely leaves a lot more to be desired in its criminally short finale. It is the same problem ‘WandaVision‘ faced where it couldn’t properly end and it had to be continued quite messily in the events of ‘Multiverse of Madness’ where even there not all of the payoffs were present. With ‘Moon Knight’ there is no upcoming movie which hints that we’ll see these characters again coming any soon and to put it simply, the show isn’t strong enough on its own to be considered a stand-alone story. There is a lot left on the table and it’s unfortunate that we’ll have to possibly wait years to see it resolved. That being said, what we did get was quite a blast to watch.
There is so much to love about ‘Moon Knight’, from its triumphant score, comedy and some truly mature discussions about mental health. However, the shining star of this show is without a doubt, Oscar Isaac. He is to ‘Moon Knight’ what Elizabeth Olsen was to ‘WandaVision‘, his performance carries the entire weight of the show and I would go so far as to say that he is the best special effect the show has to offer. Seeing Isaac manoeuvre his performance between Marc Spector and Steven Grant not only outside of the Moon Knight character but also within the actual suit where the small mannerisms matter and make all the difference, he is truly a blast to watch. The penultimate episode goes the ‘WandaVision‘ route, once again showing many a parallel to that show by forcing Marc and Steven to face their trauma head-on. This is unsurprisingly the best episode of the entire show. Both Isaac and Ethan Hawke aid this Legion-esque script perfectly, in fact, the psychological aspects of ‘Moon Knight‘ are easily my favourite parts. Seeing Isaac act opposite his equally wonderful scene partner… Oscar Isaac, was one of the highlights of the show. It was truly magical seeing the same person yet two very different characters, it was believable every single second and the fact that they brought out such an emotional arc from their bond together was truly mind-baffling because it really is just Oscar Isaac, a script and some nifty camerawork.
That being said, ‘Moon Knight’ has plenty more to offer including what is perhaps one of the best musical scores in all of the MCU. Composer Hesham Nazih gifts Moon Knight this beautifully haunting and epic theme that soars through each episode. The track ‘Summon the Suit’ is the perfect showcase for this and when Moon Knight’s time comes to appear in the movies, this needs to be the theme welcoming him in. The suits themselves both Moon Knight’s and Mr Knight’s look incredible, it was incredible seeing them in action. In fact, in the visual department, ‘Moon Knight’ sits comfortably next to ‘WandaVision‘ and ‘Loki‘ as one of the best looking MCU shows. The CGI on the Ancient Egyptian Gods themselves was incredible. Khonshu, Ammit and Taweret looked as good as the creatures in ‘The Lion King (2019)’ only these characters had a ton of personality animated on them as well. Tawaret especially was a joy anytime she was on-screen. The climactic fights in the final episode were pretty well done as well. Out of all the MCU Disney Plus finales, the action-heavy finale actually felt necessary and not shoe-horned in. They not only saved the action for last but they also set it up all season long and for what it’s worth, they were very enjoyable. It’s not that common for me to remember a lot of the shots from action sequences but there were plenty in this exciting finale and in the few action sequences before.
Despite getting a lot of the crucial things right, ‘Moon Knight’ is still a flawed series. Through its short six-episode run, the show tried to fit in so much that it did end up feeling rushed at times. I honestly have no idea why Disney Plus thinks six episodes is a decent fit for any of these shows. There are so many moments that needed time to either be set up or to breathe within the story. Moments like Layla becoming Tawaret’s Avatar which was one of the coolest moments from the finale yet we never really saw where that went, there is no closure or hint as to what’s next for Layla. Khonshu getting imprisoned felt oddly cheap considering how easy it was to get him back and the same goes for Steven’s death which in the show’s time gets reversed in a matter of minutes. It’s moments like these that take away the gravity of the situation and in turn, make it feel inconsequential. That being said in a show with such a well-written character like Marc Spector, moments like these don’t bog down the quality of the show that much, it’s really a matter of time and pacing which the show would’ve fixed had it been given a proper episode order.
Overall, while still flawed, ‘Moon Knight’ rises to join the ranks of ‘WandaVision‘ and ‘Loki‘ as one of the best MCU Disney Plus shows. It continues the Phase Four tradition by exploring an introspective look into a character who is above all else, a human being. The most beautiful thematic motif this phase has offered so far is that its heroes are actually very flawed. In a pre-Avengers world, seeing these new heroes stop trying to become the new Avengers and just figure out who they want to be not as a hero but as a person is very refreshing. With the proper introduction of the Scarlet Witch and the welcoming of Daredevil, the MCU is finally starting to embrace its darker sides and I for one, couldn’t be more excited. Let’s put these characters all in a room and see what happens!
Marvel Studios’ ‘Moon Knight’ is now streaming on Disney+.