Moon Knight: A psychological thrill ride for the MCU

By: Collin Frazier

frazierc@findlay.edu

@Collin_53

A departure from the source material pays off

Something that always keeps fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe coming back is how they will see their favorite heroes appear in films not dedicated to them. More recent examples of this include Dr. Strange appearing in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” and Wanda Maximoff in the upcoming “Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” Sometimes new characters will have an established character appear for a sense of familiarity, such as Nick Fury in “Captain Marvel.”

And then, there are times where a whole new franchise is introduced on their own. Sometimes it pays off, like in Guardians of the Galaxy, and sometimes not so much, as with Eternals. The most recent entry in the MCU follows the third with Moon Knight. This most recent entry follows mercenary Marc Spector, who suffers from dissociative identity disorder, as he gains the power of the Egyptian moon god Khonshu, along with his many personalities, including kind-hearted Steven Grant. With the first episode releasing on Disney+ on March 30, this show had to make its mark without any established characters. And for the most part, it did just that.

A scene from the series. Credit: IMDb.

Fans of the mentally unstable mercenary know he takes the mainstage in the comics. However, this first episode is mostly focused on Steven as he finds himself in the midst of a cult serving the Egyptian goddess Ammit. That said, there were moments where Marc appeared and left a trail of chaos behind him, only the viewer sees the aftermath. It makes for a unique viewing experience because no one, not even the main character we see, knows what he is capable of. It is not until the end of the episode where we see how deadly Marc can be when he takes control.

The recent history of two Marvel characters sharing the same body has been less than ideal, as both Topher Grace and Tom Hardy’s portrayals of the Venom and Eddie Brock have been let-downs. Moon Knight finally shows that a symbiotic-like relationship is possible in Marvel, as Steven needs Marc to survive the intense fights, and Marc needs Steven so they have a body to share, because if Marc was in control most of the time, they would both be dead.

Chase sequences are such a trope in many superhero action films that it is hard to stand out. However, this series premiere manages to show that chase sequences can be intense, unique, and even funny all at once. Of all the chase sequences that have graced the MCU, I would say that the sequence in the series premiere could be the darkest. Cars flip multiple times down a countryside, others get crushed by lumber, and the aftermath of Marc stabbing someone only to shove a cupcake in the wound is shown. It was oddly refreshing to see something so dark in an MCU entry. Beyond that, the use of Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” reminds you of the humor that is par for the course in the MCU. I hope that the rest of this show has these types of dark sequences with just a dash of humor.

Of course, no series premiere is perfect. Ethan Hawke will obviously have a massive role in the show as Arthur Harrow, but his actual powers feel slightly underwhelming. He basically swings a pendulum and if his scale tattoo sways one way, the person dies. I am sure he will be a great villain, but his introduction could have been better. As well, the titular antihero is not shown until the final shot of the episode, which was already seen in a trailer. At least more of Moon Knight will be shown as the series progresses.

Having no knowledge on the antihero prior to this series premiere, my first impression of Moon Knight was a sound one. The banter between Steven and Marc was what Venom tried (and failed) to do, the action did not hold back, and the exploration of Egyptian gods was a fresh theme to explore. I greatly look forward to what unfolds in the rest of the limited series. My final rating for “Moon Knight’s” series premiere is 94/100.

Featured image credit: IMDb.

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