REVIEW: ‘Moon Knight’ – Episode 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Moon Knight Episode 1

Moon Knight Episode 1 launches the Disney+ Original Series created by Jeremy Slater and based on the Marvel Comics character created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin. Steven Grant (Oscar Issac) is a gift shop employee working at a museum who struggles with a sleeping disorder. One day, Steven wakes up in a mysterious village and is plagued by voices in his head, as well as visions of a horrific figure clad in white who claims to be the Egyptian moon god Khonshu (F. Murray Abraham). Soon, Stephen learns that he isn’t alone in his body and that he possesses an object that the mysterious Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) needs in order to awake the Egyptian God Amnut.

Moon Knight is one of my favorite Marvel characters, yet he happens to be fairly obscure; adapting him for the screen was always destined to be a tricky endeavor. Thankfully Slater has a knack for tackling obscure characters, having helped develop The Umbrella Academy for Netflix. He and director Mohamed Diab take the “slow burn” route with Moon Knight; viewers will get to know who Steven is before he starts experiencing blackouts and hearing voices. Special props have to go to Diab for staging sequences that hint at the horror of Khonshu. The moon God is shown to tower over Steven, and his skeletal bird head is the stuff of nightmares as he flickers in and out of the shadows. Even Steven’s transformation into Moon Knight feels less like a standard superhero suit-up and more like something out of a werewolf film.

Moon Knight Episode 1 also benefits from being a standalone endeavor, which is a first for Marvel. While I’ve enjoyed most of Marvel Studios’ TV efforts, with Loki and What If..? being the standouts, they were built around characters who had been established over on the MCU’s film side. Moon Knight takes a different approach; it slowly builds out a world of gods and magic and lets the audience immerse themselves in said world. It’s a great approach to hook new users and provide a refreshing approach to building connective tissue to upcoming projects.

Great directing and writing can only take a premise so far; a show needs a solid lead. Thankfully, Issac is more than up to the task as he portrays Steven and his separate personality Marc Spector as two utterly different people. As Steven, Issac employs a British accent that does feel a bit off but is ultimately endearing. As Spector, he adopts a tougher, more guarded performance, complete with a Chicago accent. This delineation not only serves as a testament to Issac’s acting skills but also helps Steven and Spector feel like two different people. Spector’s more confident under pressure, while Steven has perhaps the worst day ever as he constantly blacks out and wakes up to dead bodies and car chases. I also have to say that it’s ironic (but in a good way) that Issac is portraying another Marvel character with ties to Egyptian mythology after X-Men: Apocalypse.

Hawke and Abraham also deserve immense amounts of praise. Hawke is honestly one of the more prolific actors in the business, tackling everything from sci-fi fare such as Gattaca to the utterly sublime Dead Poets Society. As Harrow, he gives off a quiet menace and can command respect with a single gesture. Abraham brings the same sense of pompous bombast to Khonshu that he did to Mythic Quest‘s C.W. Longbottom. As someone who’s read the comics, I can tell you that Khonshu is imperious overbearing. Spector/Steven and Khonshu have butted heads in comics canon, and I expect that to continue in future episodes.

Moon Knight Episode 1 takes the slow-burn approach to the lunar vigilante, resulting in a trippy horror-tinged experience that’s perfect for the character. This show is built for both longtime fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and newcomers to the House of Ideas’ heroes, and it’s off to a great start.

New episodes of Moon Knight premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.


Moon Knight Episode 1
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Moon Knight Episode 1 takes the slow-burn approach to the lunar vigilante, resulting in a trippy horror-tinged experience that’s perfect for the character. This show is built for both longtime fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and newcomers to the House of Ideas’ heroes, and it’s off to a great start.

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