Marvel’s “Moon Knight” hit the Disney+ streaming service on March 30 — so let’s talk about it!
Who Is Moon Knight?
Moon Knight was initially introduced to Marvel Comics back in a 1975 issue of “Werewolf by Night,” a comic written by Doug Moench and Don Perlin. The Moon Knight character was originally written as a disguised mercenary, who was hired to retrieve and capture the werewolf. It wasn’t until many years later that mental illness and Egyptian mythology were intertwined into the character’s origin story.
So within the vast sea of Marvel heroes, villains and whatever Loki is — what makes Moon Knight different?
One of the most obvious reasons is that the show’s main character is actively suffering from dissociative identity disorder (DID), which is described as a mental health condition, often induced by past trauma, in which those who have it have “multiple, distinct personalities” and whose “various identities control a person’s behavior at different times.” Symptoms can also include “memory loss, delusions or depression.”
Specifically, Moon Knight has multiple personalities that aren’t always aware of each other, causing them to compete with one another at times. His major personalities are Marc Spector, Steven Grant and Jake Lockley.
Okay, Let’s Talk About It
The newest Marvel Cinematic Universe mini-series stars Oscar Isaac in the role of the universe’s darkest hero to date. Moon Knight tells a story of a mentally distressed man and Isaac’s performance perfectly evokes the fear and confusion that accompanies most mental illnesses.
The subject matter of this series is definitely the hardest to swallow out of the MCU’s releases, while also being a breath of fresh air.
Although refreshing, this isn’t Marvel’s writers’ first time delving into the realm of otherworldly beings; “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (2021) explored a hidden world of fascinating folklore, “Loki” (TV series; 2021-) intertwined the Time Keeper in its plot and “Eternals” (2021) reveals the origin story of the Celestials. This phase of the MCU sets itself apart from the reign of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, showing viewers there’s so much more hidden up the comic-book-turned-cinema-phenomenon’s sleeve.
It’s early, with only the first three episodes available to stream as of writing; despite that, it’s easy to say that “Moon Knight” is absolutely something to gush over and binge-watch.
Starting with the first episode, titled “The Goldfish Problem,” the show gives off a sort of chilling suspense and eeriness during its initial minutes — I mean, we see an elderly woman sacrificed before the 20-minute mark.
Throughout the first episode, the series effortlessly introduces the audience to the main characters, which is a job all the other mini-series haven’t had to do because their characters were already introduced in past films. From the start, you’re dropped into the gift shop worker’s life and you feel the weight and turmoil as it begins to unravel so fast that it’s impossible to grasp — it almost feels like it’s your own life being consumed by chaos.
As he navigates the confusion of what’s going on with his body and the dark truths of what resides within his head, the imagery and the landscapes constantly morph and shift, further instilling in the viewers how lost he feels within himself.
The mini-series’s second episode, titled “Summon the Suit,” dives deeper into the world of Egyptian mythology. Throughout the episode, we watch as Marc takes control over the shared body and shifts into Moon Knight to beat down the bad guys. Even though it’s still early in the series, it’s fair to say that Stevens’ character acts as the more quirky comic relief of the two — which is refreshing and offers a break from all the mythology and seriousness the show chucks at the viewer.
We also get formally introduced to Layla (played by May Calamawy), who happens to be Marc’s wife, and more is revealed about their dynamic throughout the episode’s run time.
The third episode of Marvel’s “Moon Knight,” titled “The Friendly Type,” is the most striking and action-filled so far. We watch as Marc and Steven begin to master working together within one body, as they try to stop the evil Arthur Harrow’s devious plan to cleanse the world.
We also see the show focus on characters from the past lives the men have lived, as Marc’s estranged wife Layla becomes more of a key member of the team. All of this was garnished with amazing visuals, which undeniably add to the viewing experience.
From the first few episodes, it’s clear that “Moon Knight” brings something to the MCU that we haven’t seen before, with its chilling nature and its dauntless attempt to tackle a largely stigmatized mental illness with grace and the utmost sensitivity. The show also delves into Egyptian mythology and culture, which is largely underrepresented on both the big and the small screen. Unlike more recent mini-series like “Hawkeye (TV Mini-Series; 2021), “Moon Knight” doesn’t lean on major cameos to guide its story forward; it finds a way to stand on its own two feet, which should be applauded. After watching the first three episodes of the series, MCU fans anxiously await the next three, which will complete the six-episode limited series.
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