Moon Knight, starring Oscar Isaac, Ethan Hawke, and May Calamawy, is a refreshing installment to the ever expanding Marvel universe. Like most people, I had no idea who this character was or what to expect for this show. I’ve generally been a little disappointed with the Marvel TV series, so I didn’t have the highest of expectations heading in. After finally getting around to watching the show, I can now say that I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoyed it. Instead of feeling formulaic and predictable, this series was the opposite: it was wild and adventurous. Not knowing the character of Moon Knight turned out to be beneficial because I enjoyed getting to discover the character and trying to understand his complexities. In terms of weirdness, there was a similar vibe to WandaVision (2021) in that you can feel something’s off, but it’s not revealed until much later in the show. If you tend to like Marvel’s wackier and weird side, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy this one. That’s not to say this show was perfect by any means though, because it definitely had its flaws.

What initially peaked my interest and got me into this series was its focus on Egyptian mythology. I had no idea Moon Knight had anything to do with Egyptian gods and creatures, so I was very excited when the whole idea of being an ‘avatar’ was introduced. I did wish that this whole concept was better explained though because there were certain aspects of it that confused me; there was never a proper explanation so I didn’t understand what the limitations were. I will say, the gods looked awfully scary so I’d be quick to turn down that offer. Not really sure I want Khonshu peeking at me out of the corner every day. Exploring Egyptian history and mythology in this show was definitely one of the highlights and was a big plus for me. I was getting some serious Percy Jackson vibes (which was great!). I love mythology so it was fun learning little tidbits of ancient history and getting to explore a completely new realm of Marvel. This made the show feel unique and different from the others we’ve already seen; I was way more invested because it’s a new character AND a new world.

That being said, the show still contained many elements of the typical Marvel experience: it had lighthearted humour and flashy fight sequences. I mean, it’s not Marvel if there’s no action, and this show definitely had its fill. The action was intense and thrilling, and I thought they matched Moon Knight’s fighting style quite well with Marc Spector’s personality – it was aggressive and decisive. There were times when the fights felt reminiscent of Deadpool and Batman, what with the occasional bits of comedic movement, the dual batons, the flowing cape, and his blade shaped like a crescent moon (instead of a bat of course). I also really loved the look of his suit and how it formed around his body. There’s a creepiness in the way it looks like he’s being mummified as it wraps around him, but I like that callback to Egyptian history. I had some issues where it looked a little too CGI at times, but I’m not too picky about it. While there was a lot of action present in each episode, I liked that it wasn’t forced or happening every second. That way, there was a lot of room to focus on Marc’s personality and internal struggles instead. In fact, the action wasn’t what defined this Moon Knight series, it was the psychology of the character.

Moon Knight is a very complicated character so the show really depended on the actor nailing the role. Thankfully, Oscar Isaac put on a great performance and did an amazing job portraying all of Marc Spector’s multiple personalities (the British accent wasn’t terrible but it felt a little over the top at times). Isaac was able to convincingly play each personality – he was able to be either vicious or sweet, menacing or kind, capable or klutzy, all depending on which persona currently had control of the body. While this role was definitely physically demanding, it was surprisingly emotionally demanding as well. I wasn’t expecting Marc to have such a traumatic and sad backstory, but it certainly helped explain his character more. Marc is an incredibly complex but broken character, and I really felt that from the way Isaac drew out the emotions of grief, guilt, and fear. It really broke my heart to see his childhood memories and the abuse that he endured. While Moon Knight is unquestionably an ambiguous character who has done many wrongs in the past, I couldn’t help but sympathize with him after learning what he’s experienced.

With such a stand out performance from Isaac, I really wanted the villain to be a good one too. When I finished the final episode and was thinking about my review, I realized this posed an intriguing question – was there even a real villain in this series? A really interesting aspect of this show was that it didn’t seem like there was a definitive evil or good. Look at Marc, can we undoubtedly call him “good” after witnessing all of his murders? Arthur Harrow, played by Ethan Hawke, was an intriguing antagonist for Marc, and while he wasn’t physically overpowering or exceptionally menacing, his devotion to his cause and belief still made him terrifying. (Just want to quickly note that the opening scene of him filling his shoes with broken glass made me shiver. That’s one way to immediately know if a guy’s crazy) But despite all that, I found it difficult to strictly call him “evil”. It wasn’t like he was killing people for the sake of killing people, in fact, his belief in Ammit is similar to Marc acting as Khonshu’s “fist of vengeance”.

So let’s look at Khonshu too because I would argue he’s an antagonist in this series as well. To me, he just seemed like a manipulative, controlling overseer who was forcing Marc to do his dirty work. He’s essentially the same as Ammit – both make their avatars commit murders and crimes for the justice they believe in. If Ammit/Harrow believed in killing people before they could commit their crimes and Khonshu believed in killing people for their crimes, aren’t they…essentially the same? I feel like this was done so we as the audience feel skeptism towards the Egyptian gods. Can we really trust them? All I can say is, Moon Knight is definitely more of a vigilante than a superhero.

Towards the end of the show, I found that the plot became a lot more confusing and difficult to understand, so I was disappointed to see how rushed the ending was. It was way too abrupt and didn’t feel very satisfying. I wanted some answers; like how is Marc and Layla’s relationship now? Is Layla still the avatar for Taweret? How did Jake Lockley (Marc’s third personality) defeat Harrow in that final battle? I’m sure this was all done purposefully to set up a second season, but I’m not a fan of shows ending without giving some sort of closure for the current season.

After reflecting on all the other Marvel TV series, I’m going to say Moon Knight is tied with WandaVision (2021) as my favourite. My final rating for this series is 7.5/10. I liked how it had its own unique and distinct storyline, but still incorporated a lot of Marvel elements that we know and love. While it does feel a bit clunky sometimes and doesn’t properly explain the ins and outs of how everything works, it was an overall enjoyable experience. I personally really enjoy it when Marvel steps out of their comfort zone to provide us with something new and refreshing. I’ll be looking forward to seeing if Marvel has any announcements of a season two.