Spoiler Free Review of Moon Knight Episode 1
Moon Knight is finally here! The much-anticipated next instalment of the Disney+ MCU series arrived on the 30 March 2022 with Moon Knight Episode 1. In the comics, Marc Spector (a mercenary) is left for dead and given powers from the Egyptian god Khonshu; he isn’t a god himself. Khonshu by the way is cool – he’s a god from Ancient Egypt who represented the moon. His name means “traveller”.
In Marvel Comics Khonshu is on a one-god war against evil. Marc Spector is given powers to become ‘the fist of Khonshu’ aka Moon Knight. Supernatural strength, heightened reflexes and endurance are part and parcel of this character’s powers, getting stronger depending on the phase of the moon. It will be interesting to see how closely the new series sticks to this origin. I am almost certain we’ll see the granting of the powers in a flashback sequence.
The series begins with Steven (Oscar Isaac), a museum worker at The British Museum in London going about his life. We learn quickly that he suffers with mental health problems as (as we saw in the trailer) he keeps himself chained to his bed and door taped up at night. If you know the comics, you know that Moon Knight’s alter ego also has dissociative identity disorder. Isaac plays this role brilliantly. He can achieve the subtle nuances of a man fighting an inner conflict – a mix of fear and sadness and in places, total confusion. While the British accent is a little hammy it’s certainly better than what us Brits usually suffer through in Hollywood productions where non-English actors attempt a ‘cockney/London’ accent.
The overall tone of Moon Knight Episode 1 is very much an introduction. We are introduced to the world of Moon Knight through the eyes of a character who knows as little as we do. That’s refreshing as we as an audience aren’t made to feel bad for not necessarily having read the comics. There is plenty of heart, interesting character study, light comedy and action sequences that will undoubtedly remind you of franchises like Indiana Jones.
In addition to Isaac, we also meet the character being played by Ethan Hawke. Another great portrayal of an interesting character. The series starts with an introduction to him over the main character. Hawke plays a cult leader exceptionally well, really grasping the double-edged sword of charisma and malice perfectly. His character is an interesting retelling of a known Moon Knight comic villain and I’m looking forward to seeing how this spin will work long term. Marvel is known from departing from comic book origins to give us something contemporary and fresh and Moon Knight is certainly no exception.
Visually, the show is a treat and Mohamed Diab has sympathetically introduced Ancient Egyptian mysticism into the MCU. Diab also gives us what promises to be a wonderful character study with Issac’s character. There is one scene in a London restaurant that is partuclarly moving. When most would have probably cut it out to keep pace Diab didn’t. For that I’m thankful.
Moon Knight Episode 1 also has a great soundtrack, which compliments the tone perfectly. What the series has to offer going forward will be exciting to find out.
Overall, Moon Knight is off to a fantastic start. It’s great to see a lessor known Marvel character being given a chance to shine. Isaac is honestly the perfect casting and I’m anticipating a strong series from the whole team and cast.