I don’t know much of anything about Moon Knight. I haven’t read any of his comics, didn’t read up on him through Wikipedia, and haven’t even read a show synopsis. The closest that I’ve come to knowing anything about Moon Knight is encountering an alternate-universe version of him in the Marvel Ultimate comics many years ago. From what I understand, that version was starkly different from the 616 comics version of the character, so at the end of the day, I’m pretty much in the dark about Moon Knight.
Oh, and the memes. I know a couple of the memes.
And to start this show, I kind of like it that way.
*SPOILERS FOR MOON KNIGHT EPISODE 1 AHEAD*
The show stars Oscar Isaac as Steven Grant, a timid and perpetually tired gift shop employee of a history museum. He is a sleepwalker, and thus sleeps every night chained by the ankle to his bed, a ring of sand on the floor around him, and tape marking the door to indicate if he has left. His sleepwalking is what makes him perpetually tired, causing him to fall asleep on the bus up against his fellow passengers.
Or so he believes.
He soon awakens on the ground outside of a castle, his jaw dislocated, and men shooting at him. He somehow works the jaw back in place and flees, but in addition to his strange and dangerous circumstances, he is hearing a loud voice in his head that seems to know more about his situation than he does, but also considers him a complete moron.
He witnesses Ethan Hawke’s Arthur Harrow perform some magic, killing a woman, then Steven is exposed and a chase ensues. Steven blacks out several times, kills people during his blackouts, and eventually wakes up back in his bed.
He is relieved; convinced that it was all a bad dream, until he feeds his fish to discover that it has regrown a previously missing fin! This is when it all starts to unravel for him. He starts hearing more voices, seeing giant monsters, and discovers a cell phone in the wall and someone on the other end of the line calls him Marc!
Upon returning to the museum he works at, he is confronted by Arthur again, told he has chaos in him (which could mean that he has a connection to chaos magic, though it’s unclear), then is later attacked by a mysterious dog creature. It’s only by relinquishing control to a mysterious alternate personality that he defeats the creature, saves himself, and becomes to hero(?) Moon Knight.
And that’s the end of episode one!
So here are my thoughts on it so far:
It was pretty good. Not great, but definitely not bad. The one glaring point that actually was bad was the CGI. The effects, especially during the car chase and the dog attack, were downright bad. Needed a larger budget or at least some more time to make things more convincing. They really did look awful. Except the suit. Suit looked pretty good. The dog looked like trash.
But other than that, I enjoyed it! Oscar Isaac did well in his role, even if his accent was a little spotty. He played confused and spastic pretty convincingly for being one of the best-looking, smoothest men in Hollywood. Dude’s got range.
Ethan Hawke did fine, but he also didn’t have much to do yet. Hopefully, his villain gets fleshed out and he gets to become a presence.
Even though the CGI was bad, the chase scene was fun. The blackouts and reveals of the carnage that Steven unwittingly visited on his attackers were well done and thrilling. I wonder if that will continue at all, now that Moon Knight has arrived. I imagine not, but again, it was fun, so maybe they will return to it at some point.
So here is where Moon Knight stands apart from the other Marvel shows, and even the movies. We have a very unreliable narrator. Is Steven tricking himself? Is another persona tricking him intentionally? Is he tricking the audience? Is anything that we’re witnessing on screen actually happening? Will people find the damage and destruction from Moon Knight’s fight with the demon dog or will it never be discovered because it never actually happened? Did he actually go to a far-off country and get chased or was it actually a dream, as he initially thought?
I know the answer, of course. It did happen and Moon Knight is real and everything that’s going on with ancient Egyptian gods is real and true and he’s got magic superpowers. BUT MAYBE he won’t have a magical connection and magical powers and he’s just desperately wishing for it to be true! We see how much he loves Egyptian mythology and how bad he wants to be more than he is, so there’s a slim chance it is literally all in his head.
I don’t think they’ll go that way, but a guy can dream. If Scarlet Witch can fabricate an entire alternate universe in a tiny little town, why can’t Steven manifest this subconsciously?
Anyway, I’m excited for episode 2! Wondering whether the mystery will be gone soon or if they’re going to keep Steven/the audience in the dark for a while longer. I hope they do, I hope it doesn’t turn into a generic superhero show of some kind. My favorite part of the show was the tone. How lost Steven and we were, and I don’t want to lose that already. They could really mess with our heads, make us question what is real, make us lose our friggin’ minds each and every week!
Bring on the mindfreaks, Marvel. I am here for it.