- Created by Jeremy Slater
- Based On the Character Moon Knight by Doug Moench and Don Perlin
- Marvel Productions
- March 30, 2022
- Marc Spector / Moon Knight and Steven Grant / Mr. Knight-Oscar Isaac
- Layla El-Faouly-May Calamawy
- Khonshu-Karim El Hakim (performance) and F. Murray Abraham (voice)
- Arthur Harrow-Ethan Hawke
- Anton Mogart / Midnight Man-Gaspard Ulliel
- Selim (Osiris avatar)-Khalid Abdalla
- Crawley (the living statue)-Shaun Scott
- Yatzil (Hathor avatar)-Diana Bermudez
Presented here are my thoughts per episode.
Ep. 1: The Goldfish Problem
- Directed by Mohamed Diab
- Written by Jeremy Slater
- March 30, 2022
National Gallery employee Steven Grant is having mysterious blackouts during which he encounters Arthur Harrow.
My first thought after a few minutes into this was “Did anybody actually read an issue of any series?” The character has had several. Pick one.
I’ve been a fan of the character of Moon Knight for over 40 years. Since issue one of his first series comic book series. With the random superhero (usually Batman or Superman getting a movie over the years) I really wanted to see Moon Knight on the big screen or even the small screen. I would have even taken a cartoon or something live action like we have here. That is how much I wanted this and I really wanted to love this show.
The thing is I’m not seeing too much of what one could say is inspired by the comic book. To be honest I’m not the biggest fan of the current crop of Marvel films but there’s usually enough of a similarity between what gets onto the screen and what was on the comic book page that you can see where it came from. So far I can’t say that too much here. I’m not really seeing the connecting thread.
Ethan Hawke’s Arthur Harrow character is less like the evil disfigured doctor from which his name derives and more like the newer villain Sun King. It’s clear they took the two characters and merged them into one though I’m not sure why they just didn’t go with just Sun King. Then again Sun King sucked as a villain in the comics. He was just awful.
Why is Steven Grant British? He’s not British in the comics. Originally Steven Grant was the assumed identity of Marc Spector who wanted to leave his mercenary past behind. Here it appears to be an actual identity though this is only the first episode so I can’t be 100% sure. Regardless Steven Grant was not some nebbish douchebag with a British accent. He was a rich philanthropist who if you think about it was a bit of a rip off of Bruce Wayne though without the large corporation to control.
My second thought for the episode was “What’s with the comedy?”
Moon Knight is not funny. There are moments of humor in the series but that can be said for every comic book series. In the comics nobody got a laugh when Moon Knight cut off the face of Raoul Bushman. Nor were they yukking it up when that oil tanker was circling Manhattan with the plan to ignite the spilled oil.
Jokes to lighten the tone are fine but these are at the expense of the main character, and he is, well, the main character. They knock him down rather than build him up. Why turn the hero into an ineffective moron? Grant does not need to have it all together but he looks like he needs help to get dressed.
My third was “The costume looks good but why not go with something inspired by something better from the comics?”
Some of this looks like it was drawn from the First of Khonshu run which is quite possibly the crappiest iteration of the character to date. Another influence looks to be the series Mummies Alive! They made Moon Knight look like a mummy. Why? Declan Shalvey did a great version of the MK gear. I know they’re going to be using Mr. Knight at some point (which the artist also created) but his MK costume was perhaps one of the sharpest looks the character has ever had.
Crawley makes an appearance (the golden statue dude) and the closest we get to Moon Knight’s long-time sidekick of Frenchie is the appearance of his last name when Steven Grant is scrolling through the phone he finds.
I do give them credit for how they handle the blackouts. Currently the character suffers from multiple personalities though originally in the comics his multiple identities were just façades he used to gather information. The blackouts are a great way to introduce the issue.
As of the first episode I can’t say I’m too impressed. There is some hope, but I don’t have much.
Ep. 2: Summon the Suit
- Directed by Aaron Moorhead & Justin Benson
- Written by Michael Kastelein
- April 6, 2022
Steven is fired from his job and the mystery of what is going on deepens.
I would like to say this episode was an improvement over the first one. I would like to say that. I know I’m not going to get a one-to-one translation of the character from page to s creen but it looks like, and I know I’ve said this before, no one even looked at the source material. What we get here is Kurtzman level effort on a Marvel Product. Then again the newer the Marvel release the least connected it is to the source material. There is a difference between knowing the material and simply reading up on it.
Whatever is going on with Moon Knight/Marc Spector/Steven Grant appears to involve some kind of deal with the Egyptian god Khonshu. Exactly how that works or what was agreed upon is not revealed. The reveal should have felt like a big deal but instead it was “Meh.”
We get introduced to the character of Layla who is apparently some badass buttkicker that went hunting for the scarab that leads to Ammit’s tomb along with Marc. We also get a little more explanation of how Arthur Harrow connects to everything. Harrow, who is a lot more like Sun King than Harrow, is also the former avatar of Khonshu. I guess he is a disgruntled former employee. Almost as bad as Mysterio’s reason in Spider-Man: Far From Home for going bad.
Steven is still framed as a goof. But we get to see Moon Knight actually kick some butt. Unfortunately it’s in the last quarter of the episode. Why must heroes be largely incompetent these days? Our hero here cannot function without significant help from others. Moon Knight does not need to start out perfect but he needs to appear to be heading in a direction where he can overcome the problem of the story.
This was a little bit of an improvement over the last episode but that’s not saying too much.
Ep. 3: The Friendly Type
- Directed by Mohamed Diab
- Written by Beau DeMayo, Peter Cameron, and Sabir Pirzada
- April 13, 2022
Harrow and his followers find Ammit’s tomb. Yay?
There is a short trial at the beginning of the episode involving Arthur Harrow’s quest to resurrect Ammit. In an attempt to stop him Khonshu and Moon Knight bring Harrow before the pantheon of avatars for the Egyptian deities.
It really doesn’t take much on Harrow’s part to get off. How pointless was this whole scene? You bring together the avatars of the Egyptian god pantheon and nothing really happens? What followed afterwards could’ve been accomplished without that little pointless moment. It was just padding.
In this episode Layla gets more attention here than the titular character. Why? The creative minds here have decided to make her an important character, but she is important at the expense of the hero. He cannot do anything without help.
Mark Spector is continued to be demonstrated as incompetent. He is incapable of handling what is going on without Layla’s assistance. Harrow looks more capable than Spector yet Khonshu decided to chose somebody that needs help after using the decidedly self-sufficient Harrow.
The character of Moon Knight was not necessarily the best of the best but he keeps pushing on which could be seen as a holdover from his boxing days. He would take a beating and get up and go at it again. Here he can’t seem to do anything or even successfully fight at this point in the series.
And Anton Mogart/Midnight Man shows up here but in no way similar to his presentation in the comics. Once again they didn’t even take the comics as inspiration. He is vastly more competent than either of the two mains.
I have heard Kevin Feige was a big fan of Moon Knight so I came into this series with some hope. The more I watch this the more I think he was not an actual fan but rather picked a relatively unknown character to look deep. He appears as much of a Moon Knight fan as JJ Abrams is of Star Trek.
The whole point of the episode is Khonshu getting screwed and Mark Spector being left in the lurch. Some dark secret involving Layla‘s father is hinted at but not directly addressed. My guess is that in the next episode some kind of bastardization of what happened with Marlene’s father in the comics will be shown.
So far I am unimpressed with the series. It’s a very superficial version of the character and significantly waters down his mythology. I will stick with it only because I’ve waited 40 years for this but unless the final few episodes improve, I do not see myself really liking this show.