By Matthew Moorcroft
Episode 3 (The Friendly Type) – Strong Recommendation
Episode 4 (The Tomb) – Strong Recommendation
- Directed by Mohamed Diab (Episode 3), Aaron Moorhead & Justin Benson (Episode 4)
- Starring Oscar Isaac, May Calamawy, F. Murray Abraham, Ethan Hawke
It’s been a good while since we’ve gotten a good treasure hunting movie, hasn’t it? One of the things that makes the genre so compelling, at least on my end, is the grand adventure of the whole affair. Deep ancient secrets, old conspiracies, bizarre supernatural things that go bump in the night; there is an inherent appeal to it that makes me really glad that Moon Knight decided to lean in heavily into it for this batch of episodes.
And why not? Moon Knight’s origins lie in the Egyptian mythos which is ripe material for this kind of story, even if Moon Knight himself as a character has gone far beyond that. Still, as general audience’s introduction to the character it makes sense to go back to the 80s for inspiration and there is a lot of that here. From the start of Episode 3 it’s clear that the show is taking a lot of cues from adventure flicks first and foremost, and while the central psychological conceit of DID never leaves the show the focus of the plot has shifted into something a bit more grandiose.
And while it’s possible this could become a double edged sword by the finale right now it’s absolutely working for the show and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Isaac’s internal dialogue to himself is witty but also manages to keep Steven in the game here as the story shifts over to Marc as a perspective character, and quite possibly a third, maybe more violent personality that neither of them know about. With the desert as the main setting, the mirroring of shots and the usage of said reflections are becoming more and more creative, and Marvel is clearly flexing here as this is easily some of their best cinematography they’ve done in terms of sheer design.
The lack of actual super heroics in the show is also admirable, even if it does mean that there is a large chunk of these episodes without much in the way of Moon Knight himself. The appeal of Moon Knight has always been the multiple personalities though and if the ending of Episode 4 is any indication, from it’s white sheen to the clean, almost hospital like clinical like way it approaches it’s big twist, they know that as well. That big twist in general is one that immediately sets off alarm bells as a fan of Jeff Lemire’s absolutely brilliant 2016 run on the character, and if that’s truly the direction they are going we are in for some dark stuff coming.
Everything with Layla is solid as well. While an original creation for the show she has fit right in with the cast and her chemistry with Isaac, well both versions of Isaac, is very good to the point where the weird yet sincere love triangle that emerges between Layla, Steven, and Marc is believable. Hawke really shines here though with tons of screentime, particularly in Episode 4, and his laid back, quiet performance is a far cry from other MCU villains which makes him already a standout.
With the final act approaching, it’s going to be interesting to see if Moon Knight can keep it’s momentum going. Marvel’s finales have tended to be on the weaker side for their shows (outside of Loki and WandaVision), if still solid on the whole, so I’m curious to see if it falls victim to that train or if manages to keep up that quality even until it’s final minutes. Still, one weak episode does not make a bad series, and Moon Knight‘s high batting average up to this point is more then enough to have kept me invested.