By Matthew Moorcroft
- Directed by Mohamed Diab
- Starring Oscar Isaac, May Calamawy, F. Murray Abraham, Ethan Hawke
And thus another MCU Disney+ series comes to a close, and it’s once again time for people to ask “did this really need to be a show?”. The answer isn’t exactly as black and white as you would think it is, cause in reality nothing ever “needs” to be a movie or a show, it only really matters if you take advantage of your format to it’s fullest advantage. And so far the Disney+ have managed to use their mediums effectively – good cliffhangers, more focus on character, solid enough pacing (though could use maybe a tiny bit of work there) – to the point where I find myself thinking that’s a pretty boring question to ask.
Instead, I’m more interested in the actual content and what they give us, and in Moon Knight‘s case the stuff they give us is really damn great. This final episode is mostly action and wrap up, but that’s all it really needed to be especially after last week’s powerhouse emotional whallop. And the action is great! Some of the better fight scenes these Disney+ shows have had, even if The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has yet to be truly beat on that front. But when you have Mr. Knight transforming from Moon Knight back to him again while soloing a group of guys in a one-take, it’s hard not to cheer at the sheer image of that.
Obviously there is still more going on here thematically that’s really cool. The final battle itself is paralleled between Ammit and Khonshu’s massive duel and then the more intimate battle between Harrow and Spector on the ground, and there is some interesting stuff to take away here. To an extent, while Khonshu has proven to untrustworthy, there are more similarities between him and Spector then differences, and while one could see the decision to cut to black from Harrow’s eventual defeat it’s a fun narrative decision that pays off later as well as leads to the real climax of the story. In fact, the final battle reminded me in a good of the finale of WandaVision, which was more focused on dialogue and emotional cartharsis then pure action. And while I think WandaVision‘s is slightly more successful on that front (Moon Knight makes up the baggage with stellar action), it’s admirable that it wants to keep things focused on it’s lead rather then tease future events.
But it all comes back to it’s theming and focus on DID and mental health. All throughout Moon Knight, Spector and Grant have been told they are broken, damaged, in need of repair. Even Khonshu uses Spector as a way to get what he wants and uses his fractured psyche against him. But in the last few moments, Spector chooses his own fate instead of letting Khonshu use him – telling him that he isn’t broken, he isn’t damaged. This is just who he is, and the final scene in the psyche ward is the best representation of this. Beyond simply giving Isaac a final chance to show just how good he really is, which is insanely good, seeing both Marc and Steven reject their own personal hellscape and embrace a duality of life (evident by the two fish instead of one) is a great little cap on their arc. Even if Moon Knight never appears again there is a culmination to his story here that isn’t found in a lot of other MCU fare.
Of course, Moon Knight will absolutely appear again. In another season maybe? A movie? Somebody else’s movie? A crossover event? It’s hard to say with the ever-changing, ever-flowing Marvel machine, and while we can speculate all day what property or Phase he will be in next time, we can all rest easy that at least Moon Knight‘s first major live action story was a success. A solid, even great, affair that brings out the best in not just it’s actors and behind the scenes crew but also shows how the MCU can thrive without it’s pre-established characters.