By Khonshu, I hope this doesn't fall into the WandaVision/Loki cliffhangers-for-the-sake-of-it territory
If someone had told me, a decade ago, that Marvel Studios was about to put out a Moon Knight series (and on a Disney streaming platform, no less), I’d have laughed at them. And then I’d have watched, with abject bewilderment, as the Marvel Cinematic Universe populated itself with The Guardians of the Galaxy (albeit a very different line-up than the one I’d been familiar with), a slew of amazing Netflix shows, and even an entire series introducing the Time Variance Authority.
Clearly “limits” are not something the MCU, or Disney+, are interested in and Moon Knight is a clear representation of their promise to not hold back their punches… literally.
Much like the adopting of the Deadpool films, and the recent transplanting of the aforementioned Netflix shows, fans have been concerned about the possible Disneyfication of these less-than-family-friendly instalments, and the implications it would have for the somewhat violent and mature-themed Moon Knight. But with the debut of the series, it’s clear that fans can expect to witness the character unrestrained in all his blood-stained glory!
Not that there’s very much of that to see in this first episode. With the narrative focused on the single consciousness of Steven Grant, most of the action and violence is heavily implied rather than explicit. In some ways, it almost feels like the avoidance of showing us the good stuff is Disney’s way of just playing with the audience’s expectations if not for the frequency of Steven’s blood-smeared face and fists.
And while there is little in the way of clear Moon Knight action, what little of the sequences we do see from Steven’s intermittent consciousness are disorientingly action packed to perfection. Oscar Isaac’s acting as the Brit Steven Grant, and eventual segue to the better known Marc Spector, is all the acting chops needed to sell audiences on this relatively unknown character. It’s very quickly apparent as to why Marvel has so confidently rested the weight of such a risky portrayal on Isaac’s shoulders.
Although there is very little in terms of his co-stars, what we do see of Ethan Hawke’s charismatic cult leader-type is nothing short of chilling. Hawke’s somewhat A-list averse reputation somehow contributes to the role, reminding us why he was once as runner for Doctor Stranger before Cumberbatch was ultimately cast. Indeed, his cool indifference and intensity may have contributed to a more sinister tone had he become the Sorcerer Supreme–and perhaps that is an interaction we might be rewarded with if Hawke’s character of Arthur Harrow doesn’t meet an absolute end by the finale of Moon Knight.
While Moon Knight is certainly not the MCU’s introduction to the mystical, the character does offer an alternative gateway to the incorporation of mythology and ancient religions into the universe which has, by and large, played coy through the likes of the Asgardians’ advanced extraterrestrial sciences, similarly reflected in Eternals, and even Doctor Strange’s eldritch-inspired perception of magic.
There is obviously much more to Moon Knight that we’ve yet to experience, from tale to talents, but if Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke’s performances are anything to go by, we’re certainly in for a pretty wild ride.
Moon Knight now brings his own brand of justice to Disney+ in this 6-episode series!