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‘Moon Knight’ the show is as much in two minds as its titular hero

My Kolkata lists three positives and three negatives from the Disney+ Hotstar show

Vedant Karia | Published 06.05.22, 05:23 PM
Moon Knight saw Marvel simultaneously break new ground and fall prey to old tropes

Moon Knight saw Marvel simultaneously break new ground and fall prey to old tropes

Photos Courtesy: Marvel

One of the most hyped projects in Marvel’s Disney+Hotstar roster, Moon Knight gave Marvel fans a lot to think about, while also teasing interesting directions that the MCU could take in coming years. While the stories of Marc Spector / Steven Grant may be over (for now), we at My Kolkata couldn’t resist listing the things we liked (and didn’t) about the recently concluded miniseries.

Yay: Oscar Isaac

Marvel was on the right path when they roped in Oscar Isaac for the role

Marvel was on the right path when they roped in Oscar Isaac for the role

Is it really surprising that the best thing about the show is this starry-eyed gorgeous actor? Playing a superhero with a complicated past and dissociative-identity-disorder was always going to be demanding, and we knew Marvel was on the right path when they roped in Isaac for the role. However, we had no idea about the depth Isaac was going to bring to the role, making us love, hate and empathise with different parts of his character at the same time. His seamless switching between Marc and Steven (props for the accents) made us truly believe that both were two different characters, and not personalities in the same body. 

PS: Ethan Hawke is brilliant as the baddie Arthur Harrow, and seems to be having as much fun on screen as Willem Dafoe did playing Green Goblin.

Nay: CGI

The show tends to rely too much on CGI

The show tends to rely too much on CGI

Okay Marvel, we need to talk. We love to see a sly racoon sob, a fallen hero shoot thunder into the air and a duck pointlessly hanging around in your frames. Your CGI is great when it helps a character reach a significant point in their arc. But can you please stop relying on CGI for all your final battles and action sequences? The scene where Ammit grows stronger by preying on souls feels almost like a copy of the Dweller-In-Darkness from Shang Chi. Not cool.

Apart from one sequence in the finale, Moon Knight’s action was disappointing at best and non-existent at worst. While it's not a major issue since the story is primarily character-driven, we as comic loyalists do feel slightly cheated, especially after the bloody glimpse in the trailer. 

Yay: Characterisation

The show expertly navigates the similarities and differences between Marc and Steven

The show expertly navigates the similarities and differences between Marc and Steven

The show captured a distinct arc through its six episodes, and the writers deserve credit for equally fleshing out both Marc and Steven. From the pilot that teases an intrusion on Steven’s blacking-out mind, to the finale where Steven and Marc come full circle to work together, we see clearly outlined characteristics for both our leads and their alter egos Moon Knight and Mr Knight, and are rewarded for our investment in them. Episode 5 deserves a special mention for being one of the most ambitious projects in MCU’s history, and serving as the best origin story for a Marvel character. 

Nay: Tone

Marvel struggles to balance the PG-13 rating with the character’s dark tones

Marvel struggles to balance the PG-13 rating with the character’s dark tones

The show fell prey to Disney’s classic curse as it struggled between balancing the comic’s gritty tone and catering to its PG-13 audience. Most of the gruesome fights (and they are all pretty gory, at least from what we see in the aftermath) are hidden in the form of black-outs, taking away from the development of Steven / Marc. This creative decision is partly the reason why the final twist doesn’t feel as high-stakes as it should, and we sincerely hope that future appearances of the character are more accurate to his darker comic book roots. 

Yay: The setting

Director Mohamed Diab makes the Egyptian setting feel very authentic

Director Mohamed Diab makes the Egyptian setting feel very authentic

The Egyptian setting is fascinating, making for a refreshing change from the otherwise US-centric MCU. Courtesy this, the show was rich in easter eggs, and we lapped up every piece of trivia the writers threw our way. The mediaeval Egyptian gods also gave the show higher and newer stakes, and didn’t purely rely on cross-referencing other Marvel projects to create fanboy moments. Props to Marvel for committing to representation by hiring Egyptian director Mohamed Diab, who made the sandy setting seem authentic, and not caricaturish. 

Nay: Pacing

The show struggles to maintain a steady pace after the pilot, with everything up to Episode 5 feeling like a filler

The show struggles to maintain a steady pace after the pilot, with everything up to Episode 5 feeling like a filler

The show arguably had the best pilot among all of Marvel’s shows (not counting Daredevil). The penultimate episode was an emotional roller coaster, telling a self-contained story while pushing the narrative forward. However, the story barely goes anywhere during the three episodes in the middle, which feel like fillers. The sluggish pace constantly builds an air of urgency, hinting that something major will happen, but seldom gives any real payoff. This makes large chunks of the show (including the finale) feel like loglines that were never truly developed into a script. 

The character’s source material and the show’s production makes it feels like a lost opportunity of what could have been. Hopefully, we’ll know better the next time Moon Knight appears on our screens.

Last updated on 06.05.22, 05:23 PM
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