Moon Knight ★★★★
Mohamed Diab, Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson
Starring Oscar Isaac, Ethan Hawke, May Calamawy, F. Murray Abraham, Ann Akinjirin
Marvel strides into 2022 with its best and most textured TV offering to date with Moon Knight; proving Oscar Isaac’s third comic book tryout is his first home run.
We begin with the life of troubled Steven Grant (Isaac) - a Museum gift shop worker with a crippling sleeping disorder which renders him constantly out of touch with reality. Haunted by ghosts of Egyptian Myth and missing memories, he soon realises that somebody else is in control of his body when he’s not awake - a deadly mercenary serving the ancient god Konshu, embroiled in the powers of the Moon Knight.
Where most stories would seek to correct Steven’s problems with the aid of superhuman abilities, Moon Knight’s strength is the way Stevens life unfolds into that of mercenary Mark Spector. Oscar Isaac's dual roll as both opposing characters in the same body is delivered with such skill and charisma that you believe they are truly different people. His portrayal never feels stale and provides a lot of entertainment as both the iconic superhero and fish-out-of-water juggling for control. When an actor makes you care about a split personality, they must be doing something right.
May Calamawy as Spector’s ex-wife Layla is a perfect and endearing character mirroring the audience’s reaction to Steven and Mark whilst never falling into the Mary Sue or Damsel-in-Distress pockets. Whilst Ethan Hawke’s Arthur Harrow has plenty of depth and range beyond a one-note villain, his character would eventually become lost as the ‘cult leader’ stereotype if not for a killer mind-bend in the second act that puts the audience in an equal head spin to out protagonist(s).
The show also makes a great effort to explore Egyptian lore and expand the world beyond our ensemble, reinforcing both the setting and themes of each characters battle with some truly impressive visuals.
Whilst the 6-part series is a must-watch for Marvel fans and delivers something fresh that the MCU has lacked under the radar for sometime now, I can’t help but feel that the whole package of Moon Knight could have been trimmed in to a killer 2 hour movie - especially in its slow opening episodes.
Nevertheless, unlike other Marvel series, Moon Knight sticks the landing and gives us a Disney+ series with the most compelling performances so far and characterisations of a hero that can’t be painted by numbers.
Moon Knight available now on Disney+