Many have said that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies are formulaic, to the extent that each newly introduced hero would follow the same plot beats as the very first Iron Man film that kick started it all.
In many ways, these character introductions do rethread some broad strokes from the 2008 original and are definitely meant to serve as a means for audiences to get to know this character before their inclusion in later films.
Since the MCU’s foray into multi-episode TV shows, we have seen Kevin Feige and his team buck this trend quite a bit, with each new series offering something wholly different compared to the rest of the MCU.
The latest of these shows, Moon Knight, is definitely nothing we’ve seen in the Marvel canon, and after being shown a preview of the series (thanks, Disney+), IGN Southeast Asia can safely say that Moon Knight is a great and important inclusion in the MCU.
Moon Knight stars Oscar Isaac as the titular hero, but unlike his MCU peers who strictly play a superhero and their alter ego, Moon Knight’s many identities is the star of the show. Throughout the series, Oscar Isaac expertly shifts between these identities.
The first of which is Steven Grant, arguably the main protagonist as he is introduced immediately as the humble gift shop attendant. The first episode gives us a glimpse into his dissociative identity disorder and introduces us to Mark Spector, his mercenary alter ego.
While Grant is a meek everyman with a love for all things ancient Egyptian, Spector is the one with the means to dispatch foes and have access to the Moon Knight suit and powers. This is very accurate to Moon Knight’s comic book outings and is a joy to watch in the series.
What’s cool about Moon Knight is that it’s shrouded in mystery, which keeps the audience completely in the dark. Things are never clear-cut with regards to where the show is leading up to, as you will see in later episodes.
The abrupt shifts between Grant’s normal life and the action-packed sequences that he finds himself in is quite the tonal whiplash, in a good way of course. It is very much a welcome change from the typical MCU series of events.
Oftentimes, these sequences are further enhanced by some trippy visuals. This is especially true when the Grant’s inner voice, the Egyptian god Khonshu played by The Grand Budapest Hotel’s F. Murray Abraham, speaks to him.
The action sequences remind us of the ones seen in Shang-Chi, since both characters are more grounded in their fighting styles and devoid of the high-flying antics often displayed by characters like Dr. Strange or The Falcon.
Ethan Hawke’s portrayal of Arthur Harrow also steals the show whenever he appears on screen. As a revered cult leader with mysterious powers of his own, Harrow provides a somewhat normal contrast between Grant’s more outrageous way of life.
The first episode is a good indicator of what you can expect from the rest of Moon Knight, especially in regards to its action sequences, trippy cerebral moments, and the occasional globetrotting that Grant embarks on.
As with the many MCU series that we have seen thus far, there is no guarantee that the characters will ever return to after each episode. What we can say is that out of the rest of the MCU Disney+ shows, Moon Knight makes great use of its episodic format.
We have no idea how the concepts and story of Moon Knight could ever work as a singular film, especially with how the character is so far removed from the usual members of the Avengers. Expect surprises from this series, which is truly a breath of fresh air for the MCU.
To put it simply, Moon Knight is a mix between Venom, Legion, and The Mummy. It has the back-and-forth inner turmoil of Venom, the cerebral mental health struggles seen in Legion, and the Indiana Jones-like action from The Mummy, with a touch of humour of course.
Moon Knight starts streaming weekly on Disney+ beginning March 30.