Wow, are we really halfway through the six-episode run of Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight? It does not seem like it has been three weeks since we were graced with the marshmallow that is Steven Grant and the mystery of Marc Spector and Moon Knight.
Now that we have made it to this mid-point in the series, it’s as good of a time as any to reflect on the past phases of Moon Knight and where it may be headed in its next lunar cycle. So let’s summon the suit and dive right into the action of Marvel Studio’s newest hero in a cape.
[Warning: Spoilers from the first three episodes of Moon Knight are below. Read at your own risk. If would like some spoiler-free reviews about Moon Knight check out my earlier review here, or EIC Ms. Lizzie Hill’s thoughts on the series.]
First Impressions on Moon Knight
Marvel Studios wasted no time throwing us into the mystery behind what is going on with Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac). While fans of the comics may have previously known that Steven/Marc Spector has dissociative identity disorder (DID), in the first couple of episodes the clinical diagnosis isn’t discussed.
However, viewers come to learn rather quickly that Steven is losing time, waking up in places he shouldn’t be, and finding himself in trouble. Between Marc, who first is just a man in the mirror, and the voice of Khonshu (F. Murray Abraham), Steven feels like his sanity is slipping away.
Factor in being chased by Jackals and having the creepy servant of Ammit turned to cult leader Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) breathing down your neck and you’d also feel paranoid.
Traditionally in the Moon Knight comics, Marc Spector is the main alter whose life is followed. Marvel Studios flipped the script and started the story in Steven’s shoes, which was a fantastic choice.
By beginning this adventure through Steven’s eyes, viewers are learning as Steven is. This jumping-off point makes the show more approachable for casual viewers who aren’t familiar with Moon Knight’s comic backstory.
As well, there is something highly enjoyable and rewarding watching someone normal learn and adapt as they enter into the adventure. Makes it feel like anyone could be Steven and therefore anyone can be a hero.
Arthur Harrow fixes Marvel Studios Villain Issue
Okay, we need to talk about the opening scene of Moon Knight and our introduction to Hawke’s Arthur Harrow. Within the first minute, we see Harrow go from anointing a glass of water to smashing it up so he can place shards in his sandals. What a way to send chills down my spine.
Never in the history of the MCU have I been so fearful or uncomfortable with a villain. I think this may be due to Arthur Harrow seeming so real if you take away the supernatural powers. Then he is just like any person in power who uses their influence for personal gain, a cult leader.
Something that also helps make Harrow better developed is that the show has spent more time with him. Throughout the first three episodes, we see Harrow many times in different settings. Among his followers, speaking directly with Steven, and was on a mission to restore Ammit to power.
You gain an understanding of where he came from, such as the past avatar of Khonshu (masterfully voiced by F. Murray Abraham), which is something I hope continues to develop throughout the back half. But it also makes you wonder, why does Harrow truly want Ammit resurrected? Because I doubt his motivations are pure.
Moon Knight finds Balance
With Moon Knight, it feels like Marvel Studios has finally found its stride on Disney+. Perhaps part of that is because Moon Knight was less impacted by the pandemic than the previous series, but it feels like this series has found balance.
The action sequences alone are thrilling, however, they are also balanced with tender moments and a great story. Watching Isaac convey balance between two very much opposing personalities has been an absolute pleasure to watch.
I also love how this show gives me such nostalgic feelings reminiscent of The Mummy or Indiana Jones from my childhood. What the team behind the series did was nothing short of extraordinary.
The direction that Mohamed Diab and Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson give to these episodes was brilliant. It balanced the lighter tones and funny bits that we expect from an MCU film with the darker and more supernatural elements that Moon Knight is known for. From the writing (head writer Jeremy Slater) down to the music choices and composition, everything works perfectly together to bring something incredible to Disney+
Remaining True to the Moon Knight Character
My final thought on the first three episodes is how well the show remained true to the character of Moon Knight. I know some have critiqued the show for not being bloody or gory enough, however that isn’t what makes Moon Knight.
Moon Knight is an action-heavy individual who works to save those who Khonshu deems worthy of protection. The character is hilarious and fierce, and super awesome. He’s also someone who has DID, something that isn’t talked about widely enough in popular culture.
All of these integral parts are still there. Isaac and the team brought Moon Knight to life in a way that took all the important aspects of the character and paid respects to the delicate parts. I am beyond excited to see what the show has in store for us as we continue on in the next three episodes.
For further exploration of Moon Knight and his comic origins, check out Vin’s exceptional reading guides: Moon Knight 1975-200 Moon Knight 2000-2020. And if you haven’t already, check out Anthony’s review of the first four episodes of Moon Knight that he previewed below!