“Moon Knight” Early Reviews Highlight Fresh, Funny, & Ambitiously Unique Marvel Series
The reviews for Marvel’s Moon Knight are starting to make their way online. One of the key takeaways thus far is that Marvel Studios has once again delivered an entirely different series, in tone and tenor, than what came before it. Beginning with WandaVision, the very first live-action series on Disney+, it’s been clear that while each new show is a card in the massive MCU deck, they are also unique specimens shaped by the talents and passions of their cast and crew. WandaVision proudly bore the imprint of director Matt Shakman, who comes from the theater world, and showrunner Jac Schaeffer. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s mapping of a uniquely American pathos, including intractable racism and an obsession with symbols (like Captain America, who is “supposed” to be white), was envisioned by creator Malcolm Spellman. Each series has been like this, an extension of the preoccupations and interests of its guiding lights, yet connecting to the massive Marvel universe from which its characters sprang.
This brings us to Moon Knight, starring Oscar Isaac as the mild-mannered giftshop employee Steven Grant. Unlike all the previous series that have already appeared on Disney+ which boasted characters established in MCU films, including Loki and Hawkeye, audiences haven’t seen Isaac’s Steven Grant before. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and the Moon Knight creative team, which includes head writer Jeremy Slater and directors Justin Benson, Mohamed Diab, and Aaron Moorhead, were relying on Isaac’s considerable chops to introduce us to a very different kind of Marvel superhero. It always seemed like this was a safe bet, and the reviews thus far bear that out.
Steven Grant suffers from Dissociative Personality Disorder, marking the first time Marvel has taken on a character with legitimate mental health issues (although it could be argued that most of their superheroes and all of their villains suffer from some form of mental health distress). Steven Grant spends his days working at the giftshop (he considers himself an amateur Egyptologist), and spends his nights chained to his bed so he doesn’t, yet again, wake up somewhere he’s not meant to be. This is because unbeknownst to Steven when the show begins, he’s also a mercenary named Marc Spector, who himself is a superhero named Moon Knight, taking his marching orders from the Egyptian god of the moon, Khonshu. It’s a doozy of a set-up, introducing a character with two personalities and three identities, a host of unique skills, and offers a crash course in Egyptian mythology to boot.
Joining Isaac are Ethan Hawke as the series’ villain, the enigmatic Arthur Harrow, May Calamawy as Lalya El-Faouly, F. Murray Abraham as the Egyptian god Khonshu, Gaspard Ulliel as Anton Mogart, and Fernanda Andrade as Wendy Spector.
So, how does Moon Knight come together as a series? Let’s take a spoiler-free stroll across the critical landscape.
Variety‘s Daniel D’Addario writes that Moon Knight is “an adventurous limited series” that has “a freshness to it that’s enticing even for those outside the fandom.”
The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Bob Strauss says that “Moon Knight is all about reveling in controlled chaos, as well as superb acting, satisfying action, meticulous production design and measured strains of comedy and horror.”
Paste‘s Terry Terrones writes that Moon Knight “perfectly blends multiple genres, with a unique mashup giving the series an eccentric vibe that audiences will love.”
Empire‘s James Dyer writes that the series is “Fresh, funny and occasionally batsh*t, Moon Knight is an MCU departure in both topic and tone, spicing the superhero formula with a cocktail of comedy-horror and a twist of old-school adventure.”
The Telegraph‘s Bejji Wilson says that “Moon Knight is both simple, and yet complicated entertainment. It works on many levels and it’s right up there with Wandavision as Marvel’s most Marvellous TV show to date.”
Sounds like a series worth exploring, even if you’re not coming into it with a working knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is the benefit of getting someone like Isaac in the lead role, and surrounding him with such a talented cast and crew.
Moon Knight arrives on Disney+ on March 30.
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Featured image: Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.