Marvel’s latest superhero series offers exciting excursions in haunted pyramids, psychological adventures and brilliant performances by Oscar Isaac.
As the first Marvel series on Disney + with a brand new superhero in focus, “Moon Knight” is a welcome feature that stands out in a popular cultural universe with slightly watered-down faces and tropics – although of course there are many similarities.
In the series, we meet Steven Grant (played by Oscar Isaac, known from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), a cautious and somewhat awkward guy who works in the gift shop at a historical museum in London. It may not sound like a really as exciting protagonist as Tony Stark or Steve Rogers. However, Steven suffers from dissociative identity disorder, which means that he has several personalities within him. One of these is the tougher and more determined Marc Spector, who uses the powers of the Egyptian god Khonshu to punish those who hurt the world.
I have no idea how well the series depicts the psychiatric diagnosis or the Egyptian mythology, but it is undoubtedly a good recipe for an exciting and different superhero story. At first it is Steven who is at the helm, while Marc and Konshu (with the voice of F. Murray Abraham) are more sitting in the back seat and trying to persuade the clumsy hero what to do. Oscar Isaac is really brilliant as the two of them and playing them against each other. The concept also opens up for some really cool action sequences and some more emotional scenes, which I will not go into further.
As a counterpoint, we have the charismatic and wonderfully evil sect leader Arthur Harrow (played by Ethan Hawke), who wants to release the Egyptian goddess Ammit from her captivity and instead sentence people to death based on future crimes. He is also the former avatar for Konshu, which gives a personal connection to our heroes. Every time he lets his hoarse voice utter clichéd evil remarks the character is convinced are righteous, I shudder with pleasure. The previous MCU series have lacked a really good villain, which “Moon Knight” corrects with flying colors.
In addition to exploring the main character’s psyche, “Moon Knight” offers a very adventurous journey reminiscent of old matinee movies. The scene of the story moves quite quickly to Cairo in Egypt, where exciting excursions in the desert and old dusty pyramids take over. This is where the series takes off in earnest and takes me on an exciting, action-packed, emotional and mythological adventure that is a nice contrast to the Marvel movies’ fad for New York and skyscrapers. It should also be said that this is probably the most violent and grotesque MCU series so far, with a lot of blood, brutal battles and other nasty things. The smallest Marvel fans may have to hide behind the couch at the heaviest scenes.
We also get to know Marc’s ex-wife and archaeologist Layla (May Calamawy), who is an extremely charming addition to the universe. She also plays really well and will probably be a favorite with many. It is very interesting to see her interact with Steven, who is a kinder and unspoiled version of her now broken marriage.
“Moon Knight”, however, suffers from some bad effects, just like several of the other TV series. Much of what is created by a computer simply does not look very good. This may be my personal but taste, but I also think that the suit that Moon Knight wears looks quite quirky. In addition, Marvel never really manages to get away from ending their stories with a bombastic final battle, which is admittedly always entertaining in its own way, but they should be able to come up with something else to tie the knot with at this point. Otherwise, “Moon Knight” is one of the better TV series that Marvel has produced so far, as it manages to do something unique without leaving the superhero genre entirely.
All episodes of “Moon Knight” are available at Disney +.