Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Moon Knight


Moon Knight
Stream date: March - May 2022
Six Episodes.

Warning: Yes, there are spoilers entombed here.

I apologise in advance for what is probably going to be a very short review of the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe (a misnomer now, surely?) TV show Moon Knight. I’ve not read any of the various incarnations of Moon Knight in the comics over the years. I have a friend who was an avid fan of the character throughout the 1970s and 1980s and he always used to explain that the character was pretty much the Marvel equivalent of Batman. Therefore, since he always knows his stuff about this kind of thing, I’m going to have to assume that this version of the character is probably based on one of the much later, revamped iterations of Moon Knight.

The show starts of with Oscar Isaac, who is frankly the one thing which really saves this show and makes the whole thing watchable (you can tell I was a little disappointed by this one already, can’t you?). He plays Steven Grant, a troubled individual with an accent apparently based on that of my home town of Enfield (yeah... not sure about that, to be honest... we don’t have accents mate!) and a pleasant, comic relief style manner. He works for the British Museum and talks to a living statue in his lunch hours... even though, it turns out, that he seems to walk out of said museum and somehow finds himself directly in Trafalgar Square (which is a good five or ten minutes and a few blocks over).

However, he also has a split personality of which he is not aware... this other being Marc Spector, who apparently created Steven to shield himself from certain traumatic events over the years. To complicate matters further, Marc is also the living avatar of ‘justice seeking’ Egyptian God Konshu (voiced by F. Murray Abraham) who also, like Marc, turns up when Steven blacks out and relinquishes his body. Marc (but not Steven... kinda) is married to Layla, played by May Calamawy... but Marc has tried to lose her for her own protection in the upcoming battle with a bad guy, Arthur Harrow, played by Ethan Hawke who, I dunno, seems somehow wasted in the role I would say. Harrow is trying to release another Egyptian God which will spell doom for the vast majority of mankind but, first, Steven has to find himself and then the two sides of Marc’s personality need to find balance to be able to become a threat to Harrow...

And so on. And, it starts out really great but, by the time it came around to the second episode, where various of these little plot details were being set up, I started to really not care anymore. It was just a confusing mess of a plot until, sometime around episode 5, the majority of the plot points I just explained in the paragraph above became a lot clearer. I won’t deny that the slow and surprising reveal of those elements are a good deal of why I kept watching but, frankly, if it wasn’t for Oscar Isaac’s absolutely brilliant performance as Londoner Steve, then I may not have made it through all the episodes. And I say that even though I’ve always held a keen layman’s interest in Egyptology.

The action is okayish, with the running joke of Steven suddenly blacking out and returning to consciousness having bashed up all his enemies and having gotten himself out of whatever life threatening situation he’d gotten into. The chemistry between Oscar Isaac and, um, himself is pretty good too, it has to be said.

And there were some good things in it including a comical Hippopotamus Goddess, a silly costume for whenever the Steven Grant side of Spektor’s personality summons his Konshu avatar and, even some nice little nods to the comics such as a hospital named after the legendary Bill Sienkiewicz.

However, it has to be said that, by the time the sixth episode rolled around, I just wanted it to stop. The finale was a quickly won resolution which leant on the whole ‘blacking out’ trope to both pull the rug from under the audience by revealing that there is a third personality locked in Marc Spector’s brain and also to skimp from having to show the audience just how Moon Knight and his new superhero partner in crime (his wife as the avatar of the hippopotamus Goddess) actually defeated the bad guys. And on top of this there was a post credits sequence which reveals a little more about this other, ruthless version of Spector, waiting in the wings as a puppet to a less than morally black and white Konshu.

And, yeah, it was an okay show but it didn’t feel that linked to, or invested in, the Marvel universe (I did spot what I thought was a link to an upcoming Marvel show but, since nobody on the internet is talking about it, I’ll keep quiet about it for a bit in case I got the wrong end of the stick) and it didn’t feel like much of it would have any consequence to future iterations of the MCU. Moon Knight was entertaining enough and, honestly, just made me realise what an amazing actor Oscar Isaac (who is also one of the show’s producers) actually is but, yeah, it’s not exactly essential viewing, I would say.

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