Last week’s opening episode was one hell of a way to introduce a new character to the MCU; the Fight-Club-meets-Egyptian-mythology story and action was brilliantly done (check out my review here!).
Not only were we introduced to the kind-hearted, mild-mannered museum shop assistant Steven Grant, but we also got to meet messianic antagonist Arthur Harrow – along with glimpses at Grant’s other life, in the shoes of a far more aggressive and capable man named Marc. Waiting in the wings, heard more than seen, was the ghostly figure of Egyptian God Khonshu – berating and scaring Steven, who has no idea who or what it is. Then of course, there was Moon Knight himself – who made the perfect entrance before the episode’s end.
Moon Knight taps into a very similar puzzle box type structure as WandaVision, albeit with a vastly different stylistic approach of course. This episode sees more of Steven’s backstory being carefully built up in the aftermath of the museum attack – which, intriguingly, may or may not have actually happened. Then of course, there’s the matter of who’s been calling him on his mystery phone, referring to him as Marc and asking why he has a British accent – not to mention Arthur Harrow, who seeks an artifact he last saw in Steven/Marc’s possession…
Oscar Isaac once again works wonders with the duality of the character, giving Steven a truly appealing vulnerability in the face of impossible things occurring around him – which he could likely explain and deal with if only he was able to safely access his Marc persona. It’s dark, action-packed – though once again marred ever so slightly by a short section in which the CGI isn’t quite up to the usual standards – and it’s also genuinely funny. Again, I must point out that Steven’s mental condition isn’t used as the butt of jokes, but Isaac is given some very off-kilter and intentionally funny material to work with.
We do see more of Ethan Hawke here – his Arthur Harrow is creepily reasonable and mostly possessed of a calm that makes him seem like an ok guy – until he’s stopped from getting what he wants. It’s a genuinely effective episode that doesn’t have quite the impact of the first – and the London geography is hilariously wrong for those familiar with the area – but it remains an intriguing, well handled premise that, by the end of the episode, promises to take us to some truly exciting new places.
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