Oscar Isaac looked exhausted after The Rise of Skywalker. In fairness, Oscar Isaac seemed exhausted after watching three Star Wars movies and five years in the Star Wars machine.
However, Isaac was more open to returning to independent films that made him famous. Interviews revealed that he wanted to make more “handmade movies” and with the people who inspired him, joked that he would only return to Star Wars if he had another house. One scene from The Rise of Skywalker, ” Somehow Palpatine returned” went viral. This meme seemed to capture an acute mixture of frustration and exhaustion.
Moon Knight quickly reveals that Isaac has turned all of his (perceived), frustration into this role. This is a post-“somehow, Palpatine was returned” performance. Isaac clearly decided that if he takes on another major franchise role, he would have as much fun as possible. The most obvious sign is his mocked British accent, which is, in fairness Isaac, less irritating in context than in the trailers. It’s a mockney effect with a cadence clearly inspired by Russells Kane, Karl Pilkington, and Brand. This always shows that he doesn’t take things seriously.
The first two episodes of Moon Knight are primarily about Grant’s British identity as Steven Grant. The central idea is that Grant suffers from a dissociative identity disorder. Grant was never named and may not have been treated as sensitively as they should. This means the down-on his luck museum gift shop worker doesn’t realize he has been working as a superhero. It’s a cleverly designed series that introduces the world to a character they are unlikely to know. Moon Knight is as much about the character as the audience.
Tonally, it’s broad and big. Oscar Isaac’s performance is the benchmark. He’s clearly having the best time with his bewildered accent, which is also confusing. It’s less The Dark Knight than The Lark Knight, but it is more The Lark Knight. There are plenty of jokes, and lots of humor, and Isaac seems to be quite at home as a comic-leading character. Steven Grant is clearly out of his depth when he appears in a Marvel movie. This, with some notable exceptions, feels more like a big-screen production than Hawkeye. Moon Knight, the fish out of water, has a lot fun.
Marc Spector and Steven Grant meet in Moon Knight (Credit Disney+).
It’s likely that there will be a large group of Marvel fans who don’t like it. It’s not bad – it’s entertaining to watch Isaac perform intricate stunts and fight scenes – but it’s very different from what many people have made Moon Knight out to be. Moon Knight is by a large margin better than Hawkeye, The Falcon, and the Winter Soldier.
While it’s not as novel as WandaVision, or as charming and charming as Loki it does have the potential to surpass them all. Anyone expecting the Disney+ series to be on par with Netflix’s Daredevil or Noah Hawley’s abstract X-Men drama Legion is going to be disappointed.
Moon Knight is not a new film in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Its continuity-light approach is refreshing and allows for more individuality. Isaac was also right that Marvel’s inclusion of a Peter Sellers-esque character in a story is a first. It’s a refreshing change of pace, and less a novel idea, but more of a welcome refreshment to an existing one.
Moon Knight’s character study promises to be a success. Although only two episodes are enough to assess the character study of Moon Knight, it is still a good start. Steven Grant is clearly defined and charming. Ethan Hawke’s villain Arthur Harrow is a significant role, and is more than a supporting actor.
Isaac is actually on-set for the majority of Moon Knight. This gives the series a more solid feel. (Though an early acknowledgment that Egyptian God Khonshu has the ability to choose any person as his Moon Knight avatar feels a bit like it’s setting Isaac up for a later film – Moon Knight may appear in future MCU films but will Marc Spector?
There’s a lot to love about this movie. Although it may not be what many people expected, Moon Knight’s appeal isn’t going to be as popular as some think. However, the lighter, adventure-serial feel makes for an enjoyable and entertaining outing for superheroes.
On Wednesday, March 30, Moon Knight will debut on Disney+. New episodes are released every week. Before writing this review, I have seen the first two episodes from an eventual six.
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