Right from the start, Marvel’s Moon Knight is a fast-paced nightmare adventure that cleanses the palate of the formulaic Marvel mold.
The first episode does not explicate upon past events or take a limp shot at tying this series into a larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. This is said, however, with disappointment inspired by the assuredness that the series will quickly file its way into a grander scheme as Marvel has continued doing since the original Avengers assembling.
Oscar Isaac, who plays the series protagonist Steven Grant, is a delight to watch slip and slide through an unforgiving Britain. This remains true if you can squint past his cartoonish accent.
Isaac, in some ways, overshadows Ethan Hawke’s portrayal of the series cultist villain, Arthur Harrow. Hawke fills the role, but does not have any particular shine with this series start.
The first episode wastes no time, sprinting with stylized jump cuts and a frequent change of scenery. The handholding of the camera adds a sense that things are not quite right with the story being witnessed.
Shots capture the alarm of being haunted by an eight-foot-tall skeleton bird-man that only Grant can see. Those that capture the everyday are nothing more than stock Marvel cinematography.
Style choices are most powerful with Grant’s transition to his alternate personality Marc Spector. The audience is left feeling intentionally confused, though there are some fundamental gaps in what is familiar and what is new to Grant.
Moon Knight surprises its audience by not withholding actions and implications of violence. This gives a full view of the character well known to Moon Knight’s comic book audience, a feat often softened in other Marvel productions with cutaways or discolored alien blood.
The reveal of the newest champion wailing on an anthropomorphic Egyptian werewolf leaves the viewer with the quandary, “What will he beat the s*** out of next?”
With all said and done, the mere premise of Marvel unwrapping a deep cut character offers the studio freedom to try new and interesting things, as has been the case with other former little-knowns like the now-beloved misfits, The Guardians of the Galaxy.
While this is surely cinematic junk food, it is a slightly more exquisite junk food. It may not be very filling, but it is certainly fun.