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Tuesday, March 29, 2022

“Moon Knight” Review – Genre-Bending MCU Series Introduces a Volatile, Fascinating Antihero

This spoiler-free “Moon Knight” review is based on the first three episodes.

The marketing behind the latest Marvel series arriving on Disney+ has promised an atypical, genre-bending introduction to a new superhero entering the MCU. It certainly helps that, outside of the comic realm, Moon Knight remains a lesser-known character, therefore a mystery. The talent behind the camera further supports the genre boast, with “The Exorcist” TV Series’ Jeremy Slater as “Moon Knight” creator and indie horror wunderkinds Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead helming part of this six-episode limited series. While “Moon Knight” doesn’t deviate too far from the MCU mold, so far, it does live up to its genre-bending promise with a heady dive into Egyptian mythology and action-adventure storytelling.

Director Mohamed Diab jumpstarts the limited series with a rousing premiere episode that hits the ground running for poor Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac). He’s a meek museum gift shop employee who discovers another personality’s presence once blackout time jumps put him in dangerous situations. As if struggling to navigate dissociative identity disorder, or discern dream from reality, wasn’t jarring enough, he realizes his alternate persona, Marc Spector, is a merc with enemies. Both get thrust into a complex mystery involving ancient Egyptian gods, and they’ll need to rely on moon god Khonshu to survive it.

Moon Knight review tv

The first episode uses Steven Grant’s perspective to plunge viewers into the deep end. Action sequences, a jarring loss of self-control, and the introduction of the central antagonist, a charismatic but forebodingly powerful cult leader, Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), make for a zippy entry point. The subsequent two episodes slow things down dramatically to unfurl dense mythology and put Steven/Marc properly on an adventure quest loosely reminiscent of The Mummy in terms of tone, scale, and, occasionally, horror.

“Moon Knight” is at its most compelling when focused solely on the inner battle for control between personalities. Steven and Marc couldn’t be further apart in morals or demeanors, with contradicting motivations that make dealing with swarming enemies or Khonshu’s directives difficult. The friction between them is engaging and even funny, particularly in how they channel the moon god’s gifts. The way the narrative toggles between them leads to atypical scenarios and situations. The mythology also adds visual and narrative interest to a lesser extent, explicitly pertaining to Khonshu.

Moon Knight review

Beyond that, “Moon Knight” falls into more familiar patterns of an emerging hero or antihero. Hawke makes unique choices that add gravitas to Arthur Harrow, but his motivations feel right out of the MCU villain-writing playbook. That lessens the impact. The front half of “Moon Knight” indicates that it may be destined to take the same narrative path as many MCU heroes before, one of an unwitting character thrust into a role they didn’t ask for while trying to navigate the newly gifted supernatural powers.

Much like the intersection of Steven and Marc, “Moon Knight” could go either way. There are enough genre-bending elements to give it unconventional style and tension, centered around a deeply, morally conflicted character that immediately hooks you. There’s still so much of Khonshu’s realm yet to be discovered, which also presents exciting genre potential. How Steven/Marc’s story comes together will ultimately reveal the answer to whether this is another familiar MCU hero’s journey or the start of a fascinating, more personal exploration of genres and cultures within the superhero framework. For now, it’s refreshingly free from all MCU context and existing storylines, making for an easy watch without needing to brush up on homework first. At least one thing is clear so far; the volatile Moon Knight character makes for a welcome change of pace.

“Moon Knight” premieres on Disney+ on March 20, with new episodes airing weekly.

The post “Moon Knight” Review – Genre-Bending MCU Series Introduces a Volatile, Fascinating Antihero appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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