Another year, another Marvel TV show, one could say. Marvel rules everything and can get almost anybody they want, so why not cast Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke while having F. Murray Abraham be a voice of a literal God? If you get as big as Marvel, that’s not an issue, and hence, Moon Knight was born. What I absolutely adored about Moon Knight was the self-contained and how it managed to avoid most of the MCU clichés… Well, at least until the last episode, which wasn’t bad but felt more formulaic than the rest of the episodes…? But we will get to it.
Where Moon Knight shines (is that a pun?) is its casting and its self-containment. Let’s start with the casting first. We all know by now Oscar Isaac is one talented performer, and in this show, he’s not letting us forget that. His performance, playing multiple characters throughout this show, was superb. I loved it wasn’t just his accent that changed every time he became the other person; it was his posture, face, everything. And it always felt “right”. I know some fans have had an issue with his British accent, which didn’t bother me…? I can’t say it was 100% nailed; after all, I am not British, even though I am a British citizen now, but that accent sounded perfectly fine to me. It wasn’t distractingly bad, and it fit the character.
Ethan Hawke had the more subtle role of villain, who is always quiet yet menacing. And his performance was great too. But again, it’s Ethan Hawke; if you have seen some films over the past 30 + years, you should not be surprised by him knowing how to get the maximum out of any role. Who surprised me the most (which is logical since this was my introduction to her) was May Calamawy, aka Layla. I liked where they took her character at the end and hope we will see more of her in the future because she can do it all – strong, witty, charming. I hope this show will be a jumping platform for her to showcase her talent and capabilities.
I have really enjoyed Moon Knight as a whole, at least the first five episodes. I thought the concept was original; I have always loved stories/movies set in and around Egypt and Egyptian mythology. Also, as mentioned before, I liked how the show managed to be self-contained for its entire length. I don’t think there was one reference to any other MCU property. I was waiting for somebody to refer to something else happening within the MCU, and it never came. I don’t think this would be considered a spoiler, but also, I was surprised we didn’t see anybody we already knew. There were no cameos from any other MCU movie or a TV show, and this was refreshing to see. Not everything needs to be tied up to MCU directly; not every TV show of theirs has to have some cameos or references to Thanos, The Blip, Avengers etc. I liked and admired that they have done it, and I can only hope we get to see more of this. A brand new superhero whose introduction will only rest on their shoulders, not on references or cameos.
So wait, how come I am praising this TV show for its originality and yet I said at the beginning of my review that the last episode falls into some MCU clichés? Well, that is because it does. And for me to discuss it properly, I might need to touch on some things that will be spoilers, so…
Beware, SPOILERS are coming!
I might be in the minority, based on the early reactions from all over the Internet (I am writing this review on Wednesday evening, the day this episode dropped on Disney+) but I only “liked” this episode, not loved it. And I will tell you why – because I recognised many MCU patterns. Moon Knight does it so well for its entirety to feel different, to feel like its own thing. And then, in the last episode, we get your typical “same vs same” battles, both for the Gods and Avatars (but not the blue ones directed by James Cameron!) and even though I knew it would come down to this (again), I secretly hoped for something slightly different. But Layla being “the first Egyptian superhero” was a pretty cool scene, I am not going to lie.
One thing that bothered me more than most about the final episode was the reveal of the third “alter ego” in the credits. The show hints at least one other character living “inside” of Oscar Isaac (besides Marc and Steven) for most of its entirety, and it was pretty clear to me that there must be a third alter ego. So I thought we would get to see him in the finale. And sure enough, the big climactic fight is happening our main hero seems to be losing the battle, now is the time when we surely get to see him… But no, the show cheated, cut to black like it did in the first episode and showed us only the aftermath of that third character, where all the bad guys are dead. To me, that felt like a step backwards. I get it doing it in the first episode because it worked brilliantly; it creates the tension for us to ask questions about who this “other” alter ego is. Back then, it was Marc. And now, we should have been introduced to Jake (that apparently means something to you if you read the comics, which I have not) and to finally see how dangerous he truly is, only for the show to cheat. Sure, we get to see a glimpse of him at the end, and that was a pretty cool ending, sure. But imagine how much cooler would that be, had we seen him take over when our hero was losing the battle? He suddenly comes back up, starts fighting super hard, and might even utter a word or two in Spanish, so we understand this isn’t Steven or Marc anymore. And then, we would cut to black, back to Steven or Marc. How awesome would that be?
I will also say the rules in Moon Knight aren’t that clear. I understand everybody is hoping for a second season (and trust me, I am everybody, I also want more), so things should become clearer then, but if there was an MCU show that needed more than six episodes, it was Moon Knight. I would love to spend two or even three more episodes in this world, to establish the rules more. Like, what happens after Khonshu releases Marc and Steven? Will they continue living in one body, effectively being schizophrenic? What happened to Layla? Are the other Gods actually dead, or were those just their Avatars who died? Who is Jake, and why should I care? See, the MCU does this a lot too, where they set up many things “for later”. I don’t mind when their movies or shows set up new things, heroes, stories, no. As long as they finish telling the story, they start. And this final episode felt a bit rushed at times. I could have really used a few more episodes to get more answers.
Overall, Moon Knight is a show that had a great promise, that introduced two new superheroes I hope we get to see more of, and I had a fun time watching. Sure, I might not be the biggest fan of the final episode, but that doesn’t mean I hated it or that it somehow spoiled my enjoyment of the entire show. No, I will say Moon Knight is 100% worth your time. Part of it is it’s only six episodes, but mostly due to the outstanding casting, stunning camera work and the self-contained element, where you don’t have to watch any of the previous MCU shows or movies to enjoy this one. I hope we get at least one more season and possibly a movie…? It will be interesting to see where exactly will Moon Knight‘s and Layla’s characters fit in in the MCU as it stands.
That’s all for this one! Did you see it? What did you think about it? Let me know!
Until next time,