So I finally finished watching Moon Knight. Over-all this was another great Marvel Disney + series. It’s the most separate series from the rest of the MCU. We only have a few different mentions of MCU stuff but other than that it’s basically the first separate series from the rest of the MCU. No characters from other areas of the MCU pop up, it’s a little refreshing to be honest. There will be spoilers in this review as the show has been over for a couple weeks now, and people The show stars Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector/Steven Grant, Ethan Hawk as Arthur Harrow, May Calamawy as Layla El-Faouly, and F. Murray Abraham as Khonshu. The show tells the story of Steven Grant and Marc Spector and their journey to figure out what is going on between themselves as they try to stop Arthur Harrow from releasing the inprisioned Egyptian god Ammit, who wants to judge the people of the world on whether they are worthy of living or not. The story the show told is really interesting as it’s both the end of Marc’s time as Moon Knight, but also the origin story for Moon Knight. The way the show tells this story is really good as it keeps the mystery going just long enough to keep it interesting but also to keep it moving. To see this, here are my thoughts of each episode written after I watched them.
Episode 1: The Goldfish Problem
A pretty good introductory episode. Introducing us to most of the characters and the first inklings of whats happening. This first episode introduces us to Steven Grant, a guy who works at a museum gift shop with a penchant for the ennead, the Egyptian pantheon of gods. It takes a little time to introduce us to him and his routine and showing that there’s something going on with Steven. Eventually it throughs us and the character right into the fire with him waking up from “blackouts” in the middle of some bad situations. That scene in the village and the subsequent chase scene were really cool and an interesting way to introduce the character into the wider world he is a part of. Everyone gives a great performance in this episode. The music is pretty good and the effects are good for the most part. I like the slow build to the ending with the first view of the suit and the slow introduction of Marc and Khonshu. This is a good start to the series.
Episode 2: Summon the Suit
A good continuation from the last episode. We get introduced to more of the world with seeing Mark’s wife Layla. We get more information about Marc and his relationship with Khonshu, as well as Harlow’s shtick and plan. It’s pretty interesting seeing just how many people are under his spell and I can really see why. Except for the whole able to kill a person with a touch thing. Classic change the world death cult leader stuff. I like that we get to see more of Khonshu and Mark in this episode. We get an idea of the limitations the gods of egypt at least have without an avatar or vessel. We get to see more action this episode, it’s pretty good and creative. It’s interesting how they make this pantheon fully mystical/magical with magic weapons and invisible beings that only avatars or such can interact with and see. Like the fight between Steven and the Jackal is pretty fun and full on like Supernatural with most of it being Steven fighting a to everyone else invisible enemy. The Mr. Knight suit looks incredible in live-action and is very comic accurate. I like the suit summoning stuff and it makes me want a full on tofu style moon knight show, even though this already is technically a tokusatsu show. The music continues to be great, really liking the Moon Knight theme. Over-all a good continuation of the show.
Episode 3: The Friendly Type
Another great episode. We see more of this side of the world with the avatars of the other gods in Egypt as well as the first mention of the wider MCU world with the mention of Madripour. It’s the first time we get a full episode with mostly Marc in it, we get to see from his perspective what losing control of the body is like, as well as the first inkling of another personality in the body. Some good action in this episode as well as a kinda emotional scene with the imprisoining of Khonshu. We also get to see more of Harrow’s abilities as a manipulator and knowledge. We also get to find out more about his past, and a little bit about his past with Khonshu. It also confirms the damage that he claims Khonshu did in the time he was an Avatar of the god. Over-all a good episode.
Episode 4: The Tomb
Wow, another great episode. This was a great classic adventure episode. Taking cues from classic adventure movies such as Indiana Jones and The Mummy. This episode features some stunning cinematography, set design, and great performances. We get more about the past between Marc and Layla, as well as the truth between the two finally coming out. The last 13 minutes of this episode is crazy. The Shot of Marc falling into the water is some straight up art-film level stuff. The part in what I guess is the afterlife in the asylum making us second guess what is happening is great stuff. Plus the reveal at the end is a great moment. We even get some hints at another personality that is just under the surface after Steven is freed. A great episode over-all
Episode 5: Asylum
My goodness, I know I’ve said this a lot but this was an amazing episode. The most emotional episode of the series so far. Just an incredible work. This episode gets to the heart of Steven and Marc’s relationship and reveals the truth of their history and how Steven came into being. Some incredible performances in this episode, especially from Oscar Isaac. Having to play the most emotional reveals and revelations of both Mark and Steven is just incredible. The effects are incredible, and it’s ingenious making the characters having to relive their past to move forward is a really smart move. I like having the idea of Doctor Harrow being there to force Steven and Marc into this and to help them balance their scales to get into the afterlife. And a really emotional end for Steven at the end of this too. Just sad to see him go, but he facilitated a role and has now kind of fully fulfilled it. Incredible stuff. One more episode to go, let’s hope it ends strong.
Episode 6: Gods and Monsters
AND IT ENDS STRONG. What a finale, one of the best in the marvel shows so far. A great finale to this story and a great way to establish where the character(s) are going forward. A great finale with some great action, including a big Kaiju battle between Amit and Khonshu. A great ending and a mystery to go forward with the realization and confirmation that there is at least one other personality inside of Marc and Steven, one that has been hinted at throughout the series with the random blackouts followed by mass bodies. A great finale for all the characters, with Marc and Steven coming together and being able to switch around at will without blacking out. Seeing Layla as the avatar of Twaret was great, Harrow’s ending coming full circle with the asylum from the last episode was great. And the full reveal in the post credits scene of Jake Lockley was crazy and very well done. I can’t wait to see what they do with these characters going forward. Over-all a great finale episode to an over-all great series.
I feel like this is the first series where the length helped it, maybe it could have used a couple more episodes, I feel like it doesn’t need them though. We get enough time with the characters to establish them and their relationships and motivations well. It doesn’t feel like a longer movie, and it also doesn’t need more episodes to feel more complete like I did with most of the past Marvel shows. Admittedly I haven’t seen Hawkeye yet so I can’t judge that. But I feel like the show was paced well, moved slow enough for the relationships, but fast enough to keep it fresh and interesting. The tone of the show is great as well, a bit more of a darker tone than we’ve seen in the past, which fits for the character, the subject matter, and where the character will appear in the future.
The characters and performances are all amazing. Everyone does and incredible job with the material and likely had a lot of fun with what they got to do in this show.
Oscar Isaac is a stand-out in this show with what he gets to do with Marc and Steven. Each character is given different traits and quirks to separate them from each other and Oscar is incredible as both. I can only imagine how hard it would be to play multiple characters like this switching between each other as many times as they do. Even the character introduced in the mid-credits scene felt different from the others. Even playing with how uncomfortable he was when Khonshu was taking over his body during the court scene was impressive and funny. The character arcs he goes on in this show are great too. I think it was a smart move to have Steven be discovering this stuff in the early half of the season as he serves as the audience surrogate, learning about this new world he’s in while also having more knowledge of the situations they find theirselves in than Marc does. They have a really good arc in this show, learning to come to terms with their past and accepting the truths of their lives. I even like the idea that in The Tomb they have an easter egg for where Steven’s name comes from before it’s fully revealed in The Asylum. I like how through Steven, Marc learns to become more honest and truthful and to be able to forgive himself for his actions int he past. While Steven is able to become more confident in himself and his abilities through Marc. It’s going to be interesting to see where the characters move going forward with the reveal of Jake Lockley, the secret third personality, being Khonshus new avatar takes them in the future.
May Calamawy was great as Layla as well. She did a great job with what she was given and also got some moments to have some fun with the role. She is a badass character who comes to learn the truth behind her relationship with Marc, as well as learning the truth about Marc with Steven and even a bit of seeing Lockley in action. Her character arc was pretty good, and she has really good chemistry with Oscar in both roles he plays.
Ethan Hawke was great as Arthur Harrow. In both ways he plays him he does a very good job as him. His turn as Harrow in Arthur form was really good as this cult of personality cult leader. You can really believe and buy what he is saying, especially with how they show the cult he leads being a “better” way of life. But like all cult leaders, there’s a darkness waiting underneath of the pain that Khonshu caused him when he was his avatar. His turn as Doctor Harrow is also really good, as a doctor that does seem to care about his patients and wants them to succeed, even though we don’t exactly get an answer as to what is happening in that realm.
Everyone else did a great job as well in their roles. They played their roles well and brought life to them. F. Murray Abraham as Khonshu was great, his voice fit the character very well and had the right amount of power, anger, and sass to it.
The technical aspects of the show were great as well. I really liked the way they depict the blackouts for the characters, and how they depict when another personality/character takes over the body. The cinematography was incredible in this show. Very colour and well framed and brought a sense of style to the show that we don’t really see in the MCU as much. The grading of the show is great, not drab and muted like it used to be in a lot of marvel films. The effects are all pretty good in the show, most working well if maybe a little iffy at times. Over-all they’re great. A stand-out moment of affects was when Khonshu and Mr. Knight were turning the sky backwards in time to see the constellation on a specific night. Although this raises the question of when are these big visual events going to be brought up in the future. I mean there’s this moment, that everyone saw, than there’s the moment of Arishem coming to earth in The Eternals, to the multiverse stuff in Spider-Man (unless the spell also made the world forget about all that stuff).
The gods shown in the show all look good with how different their designs are, the underworld stuff looks great. I thought it was really interesting how they’ve now brought up something from the comics in that the gods of the different pantheons all work very differently. The ennead Egyptian gods are all very mystical in nature and need avatars to have their power to work in the physical world, while the gods of Asgard are very physical and exist in the physical world. The Moon Knight costume stuff looks great too. The costuming, props, and set design are all great as well. I was a little hesitant at first with the main moon knight costume, but I’ve come around to it. I like how it does have a bit of ceremonial armour to it, while also having the bandages to look like a mummy. While the Mr. Knight costume is so good looking. A great adaptation of the suits from the comics, also I can’t wait for the moon knight marvel legends to come out even if we have to wait till next year to get them. If everything was on green screen than they did a great job making everything look real and like an actual set. The music from this show is incredible as well. Great amounts of sad and quiet moments, as well as the big epic moments. I really like the epic music motif of the main Moon Knight theme.
I know some people out there may be a little perturbed by what I’m about to say, not everyone but some people will be. This is the most toku a marvel show has been. A lot of the costume’s in the past have had a lot of people compare them to power rangers and kamen rider type costumes which I’ve seen people be mad at. To me this show brings those comparisons to the forefront. To do a bit of education to people, toku is short for tokusatsu, which is basically the Japanese word for live action special effects. So yes Moon Knight and all of Marvel is technically tokusatsu. It’s a discussion that I’ve seen people have lately on what does took mean, yes it’s tokusatsu as the base meaning of the word describes a majority of media out there. So a lot of people have been discussing what makes toku, well toku. To me the short version of the word toku is the format/genre of the shows. I feel this way as toku shows and movies to me feel different than live action superhero shows and movies from elsewhere. To me Kamen Rider and let’s say the Marvel shows are both live-action super hero shows, but they feel different enough in make, story, and character wise. Toku isn’t even Japan specific either as there a number of these types of shows being produced around the world, including here in North America with Power Rangers. Now i got a little distracted there, and the reason for that is I feel like Moon Knight is the closest that Marvel has come to making a straight up toku series. It’s got a main hero that can say a phrase to summon a suit to transform into a super hero, it’s got a hero with multiple forms, the hero has a similar power source as the villain, there’s a giant creature battle. To me these are all things that toku is. Ok I’m going to move on from this conversation now, it’s turned into a bit of a tangent.
Over-all I really enjoyed this show, it’s a great watch and makes use of the format to it’s strengths. Moon Knight is a great watch and I can’t wait to see what happens with the character in the future. Watch it soon, 2 thumbs up!