New series from Marvel Studios on Disney+, Moon Knight introduces a new character played by Oscar Isaac in the MCU. What is this expected psychological thriller worth? Our opinion, without spoilers.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT ?
A discreet employee in a souvenir shop, Steven Grant suddenly suffers from memory loss and is haunted by visions of another life. He discovers that he suffers from dissociative identity disorder and that he shares the same body as a mercenary, Marc Spector. As the noose tightens on Steven / Marc, the two men, immersed in a perilous adventure among the powerful gods of Egypt, will have to find their balance in this double identity.
The Moon Knight series airs on Disney+ one episode a week. Episodes seen: 4/6.
WHO IS IT WITH?
Marvel has tapped two big names to embody the main characters of Moon Knight: Oscar Isaac (Star Wars postlogy, Dune, The Card Counter, Scenes from a Marriage, among his most recent projects) opposes Ethan Hawke (recently seen in The Good Lord Bird and The Guilty and soon to be featured in The Northman and Knives Out 2) in what turns out to be a high-stakes clash that sparks.
Alongside them, we find another face known to movie and series enthusiasts: F. Murray Abraham, Oscar winner for best actor for Amadeus and seen in the series Homeland and The Good Wife. Here, he mainly gives voice to embody the god Khonshu.
Finally, Moon Knight can also count on a shock ally, Layla El-Faouly, played by May Calamawy (excellent in the Ramy series). On a sadder note, the series also marks the final screen appearance of French actor Gaspard Ulliel, who died last January, as Anton Mogart.
WELL WORTH A LOOK ?
It was announced as a separate series in the MCU and it is! A new original creation from Marvel Studios on Disney+, Moon Knight introduces an all-new, multi-faceted hero. On the one hand, Steven Grant, a solitary employee of a museum gift shop and having trouble sleeping; on the other, Marc Spector, a globe-trotting mercenary plagued by his own demons and deities from Egypt.
Sharing the same body, that of Oscar Isaac, Steven and Marc are Moon Knight and are embarked on a crazy and dangerous adventure to find answers and a semblance of balance between these two totally opposite identities.
With all this mythology to create around this new character in six episodes, creator Jeremy Slater (The Exorcist, Umbrella Academy) and the writers did not choose to weigh down the story with too pronounced allusions to the MCU in itself. even nor with references to other Marvel superheroes and superheroines. And it’s a good thing.
Between thrilling adventure and nightmarish horror
As the MCU takes a whole new turn with its Phase IV and tries to distance itself from the Infinity Saga, it’s extremely refreshing to see a one-of-a-kind character evolve on its own, not constantly being brought back. to the universe to which he is supposed to belong. It was a risky bet but it’s a successful execution, as the character of Moon Knight is rich and exciting enough to stand on its own.
Like other Marvel Studios series on Disney+, Moon Knight has carved out a strong and authentic visual identity, as original and creative as WandaVision and Loki were, – where Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Hawkeye were more classic – thanks to the overall vision of chief director Mohamed Diab and fellow directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead.
This concern for the representation of Egyptian culture and mythology, aided by consultants, is transcribed in the breathtaking sets created by production designer Stefania Cella and her team and set up in studios in Budapest. These custom designed and shaped sets are a great playground for the characters caught up in an adventure. Indiana Jonesque panting.
But Moon Knight is not just an action series, it is also distinguished by its almost horrific side and its dark and violent atmosphere which accentuates a major theme in the show, namely the dissociative identity disorder from which the hero Steven / Marc.
The “Batman of Marvel” is not the first character to suffer from mental illness or post-traumatic stress (Jessica Jones, Bucky Barnes, Wanda Maximoff, Thena or Norman Osborn know something about this). But the subject is treated here in an even more frontal way and with the greatest care, both in Oscar Isaac’s stunning performance – even in his British accent – and in the inspired staging of the directors, playing on shadows, reflections, mirrors and ubiquity effects to accentuate the dual personality of its hero.
Opposite him is a calm and fearsome villain embodied by an Ethan Hawke at his best. The actor takes pleasure in playing this enigmatic and dangerous antagonist, this guru imbued with immoderate convictions, a kind of more down-to-earth Thanos with a dubious ideology but nourished by reasons of his own with more than extreme methods. The opening sequence of the series presenting Arthur Harrow already announces the color of this brilliant and well-constructed character.
The chemistry between the two main actors is undeniable but it is supported by the diligent performances of other talents who accompany them, led by May Calamawy, Lara Croft of modern times, who brings flawless sensitivity and pugnacity. For his part, the actor Gaspard Ulliel delivers a last remarkable incarnation on the screen of a character who was, without a doubt, destined to return to the MCU.
Finally, we salute the rather crazy costumes of Moon Knight but also the visual effects in the series and in particular the incarnation of the Egyptian god of the Moon, the venerated Khonshu, who frightens as much as he amuses, as much by his physical presence as by his his vocal interpretation mischievously provided by actor F. Murray Abraham.
Moon Knight still has some under the cape?
After viewing the four episodes provided to the press out of six in total, it is undeniable to say that Moon Knight is an original creation which differs from its predecessors, both in substance and in form, and which fulfills its contract perfectly.
It proves once again that the series of Marvel studios is a freer and more creative space, which allows to go on still little explored grounds and to divert the established codes while keeping the spirit of the gigantic universe imagined by Kevin Feige, the boss of Marvel Studios.
That being said, we still hoped that the slider of darkness and horror would be pushed even further in Moon Knight, as we liked in Daredevil, and we remain a little hungry at times keys, which Marvel can’t help tinting with humor (even if the effect is much more successful here than in Venom when Steve is confronted with the divine master of his double). Only remains for the last two episodes, certainly decisive and promising a new and intriguing direction, to truly surprise us and totally seduce us.