Moon Knight is another Disney+ winner
Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues with Moon Knight, the latest miniseries from Disney+. Moon Knight follows Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac), a mild-mannered gift-shop employee who becomes plagued with blackouts and memories of another life. Jeremy Slater serves as the series creator, with the directing talents split between Mohamed Diab and the duo of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead.
Steven discovers he has dissociative identity disorder and shares a body with mercenary Marc Spector. As Steven/Marc's enemies, led by Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), converge upon them, they must navigate their complex identities while thrust into a deadly mystery among the mighty gods of Egypt. Assisting Steven and Marc in their journey is Layla (May Calamawy), an archeologist and adventurer from Spector's past.
Moon Knight is one of those comic book characters I was aware of growing up but never actively followed his storylines. I became a bit more familiar with Moon Knight in my adult years as he was a playable character in the Marvel Ultimate Alliance video game series. After years of appearances in animated a few Spider-Man series as Avengers Assemble, Mr. Knight finally gets the spotlight to himself.
First-rate talent Oscar Isaacs assumes the title role, and within the first few moments of Episode 1, I was immersed in the places Isaacs takes the character. Part of the magic of the first four episodes I was able to view was watching Isaacs juggle two different personas. Given that Isaacs is a character actor, he effortlessly juggles the alpha male/tool attributes of Marc Spector and Grant's mild-mannered British gift-shop employee. Commendation must also go to Isaac for the accents he uses to differentiate between the two characters.
Quinary talent Ethan Hawke was also fun to watch in the role of Arthur Harrow. As I alluded to earlier, I had no prior knowledge of the Moon Knight character. Thus following the series announcement, I was under the impression that Hawke's character would serve as a mentor to Isaac's character. Instead, Hawke is somewhat of an antagonist. Harrow is a religious zealot and cult leader associated with the god Ammit. Who sees Moon Knight as an obstacle to him "healing the world." Therefore he encourages Spector to embrace his inner darkness. Hawke appears to be having a great time in the role as he brings just the right amount of diabolical moxie to a villain that could've quickly become campy.
I want to reiterate to viewers that Moon Knight is somewhat heavy on the dialogue and light on the action over the first four episodes. Now, it's impressive when the action does happen, but I feel that the series creator is more concerned with establishing the Moon Knight character and his extensive history than just giving viewers eye candy. Concurrently the narrative structure flows between the two episodes naturally.
Mohamed Diab (who helms Episodes 1, 3, 5, and 6) constantly contacted Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (who direct episodes 2 and 4).
Kudos to the scriptwriters and show's development team and their handling of mental illness. As someone who suffers from chronic anxiety, I felt that the show's handling of dissociative identity disorder was very respectful.
Overall, Moon Knight's first four episodes garnered my attention enough to recommend checking it out. Like the three Disney+ series that preceded it, Moon Knight has a style all its own.
Final Grade : B
MOON KNIGHT will air weekly on Disney+ beginning March 30, 2022.