Why Moon Knight Season 1 Is Worth Watching (Review)

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Moon Knight, MCU, Marvel, Avengers

After a long few years, Moon Knight has finally made it to audiences worldwide. With all six episodes aired, fans have now been able to meet the wonderfully broken mind of Marc Spector. But was it any good? Thankfully, the answer is a sure-fire yes. Sure, there have been some fairly diverse opinions about the project. Still, the Egyptian-based series was able to tell a deeply personal character story while carving out its own unique corner of the MCU—all while still providing elements that audiences have come to expect.

Unlike WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, and pretty much all of the other Disney+ series, Moon Knight is nearly entirely disconnected from the MCU—in the sense that the story isn’t beholden to referencing the wider connected world or pulling in characters from other stories. While this may be a hit against the project for most, it ended up being one of the show’s strongest elements.

The entire journey feels like its own ride. Despite having basically avoided the MCU for six episodes, the new series actually ended up enriching Marvel Cinematic Universe in many ways. The key example? Well, none other than the addition of Oscar Isaac.

Oscar Isaac Is Moon Knight

Oscar Isaac Moon Knight

Needless to say, Oscar Isaac’s performance in this show is among the best in all of the MCU. He’s fantastic and seems to effortlessly bring the unique character(s) to life. Both Marc Spector and Steve Grant feel like fully realized characters, and the way Isaac can effortlessly transition between the two is astounding. The MCU is truly blessed to have him in the fold.

The story of their struggle with DID was impressively accurate and well-handled. How they interacted with each other throughout was also creatively utilized throughout the six installments—one of those standout sequences being the end of Episode 2 as they converse through the glass pyramid.

It’s also worth noting how his alter ego’s costuming is also some of the best to date out of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe’s history. The details of both the Moon Knight and Mr. Knight costumes, and the countless other costumes seen throughout the show’s runtime, were incredibly impressive.

Khonshu and the Egyptian Gods

Khonshu, Marc Spector, Moon Knight, Oscar Isaac

With Marc Spector comes the deity that haunts his every moment: Khonshu. The big skeleton bird made his debut in live-action and was brought to life splendidly.

He was foreboding and off-putting, his presence was as threatening as one would hope, and the intention behind those empty eye sockets was just as mysterious as ever. F. Murray Abraham brought the perfect voice to the table, and the sinister future of the character will be exciting to watch unfold.

Skeleton Head was far from the only God to make an appearance, as both Taweret and Ammit graced viewers with their introductions. Each was brought to life as lovingly as Khonshu, though it’s a shame audiences got so little time with Crocodile Braids.

The CGI behind all three was impressive, and clearly took up the bulk of the show’s budget. While not all of the show’s VFX is quite up to scratch, far from it, the God’s never suffered from a lack of quality on that front.

The Dark Side of the Moon

Moon Knight, Oscar Isaac, Marc's Mom

When talking about the series, one of the first elements of the show that is bound to come up is how dark it is. More serious themes and storylines aren’t new to the MCU—Captain America: Civil WarAvengers: Infinity War, and Endgame come to mind.

However, Moon Knight dropped in and told one of the darkest stories Marvel fans have seen in a long while. The key example of this was in the fifth episode when the powerful truth behind Marc Spector’s trauma was revealed: he was abused by his mother after she blamed him for the death of his brother.

Despite the dark parts of the show, the story was still able to successfully operate in the whimsical and zany side of everything as well, the best example being Taweret’s introduction in the Asylum. Even with the surrealness of it all, the hippo goddess' gleeful and quippy nature never took anything away from the serious events that unfolded afterward.

Navigating a consistently shifting tone is not an easy feat, but it’s one that, thankfully, Moon Knight was able to pull off.

Layla the Scarlet Scarab

Moon Knight Scarlet Scarab

May Calamawy’s Layla was a pleasant surprise. While many believe her to basically be a rendition of Marc’s comic love interest Marlene, she’s so much more: a completely original character for the MCU.

Calamawy’s performance throughout the series is fantastic, with her presence and energetic personality shooting off the charts. 

She was able to stand toe-to-toe with Isaac’s phenomenal performance and hold her ground, making it clear how lucky audiences are to be meeting Layla in the first place. It’s always great to have more strong female characters on the frontlines, and Calamawy’s hero is perfect for the job.

While she was a great character, and it was awesome to see her become an Avatar in the finale, that moment did come out of left field. She could have used some more setup leading to her superhero reveal—but, either way, it’s great to see her in such an important place.

But when will the Scarlet Scarab show up again? That’s certainly the question.

Cult of Personality

Arthur Harrow, Moon Knight

The series didn’t have the explosive villain that many have come to know from the MCU. Instead, Ethan Hawke’s big bad was more on the level of Baron Zemo—and he was great. Hawke’s ability to exude both villainy and extreme kindness was consistently unsettling. He truly played the cult leader well.

His motivations were equally sound, with his past experience as Khonshu’s Avatar fueling his misguided desire to do better than his former master. Though, it would have been beneficial for the story to have explored some of what that time looked like, and how Khonshu and Harrow’s dynamic broke apart.

Within the ranks of all the villains across Marvel Studios’ Disney+ projects to date, Harrow is a clear front-runner. Sorry, Agatha.

The MCU Gets Another Win

Moon Knight, Avengers, MCU

Backed by an incredible soundtrack, Oscar Isaac’s introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe was filled with wonder, intrigue, and more than a few emotional moments. Marvel’s take on the complex and conflicted hero was a triumph in nearly every way.

Sure, the VFX lacked from time to time, and there might have been less action than many expected, but the pacing still managed to maintain an engrossing and engaging story all the way through. When the show did go all in, it really went the whole nine yards. After all, the finale did go to the extremes with its action, juxtaposing Arthur Harrow fighting Moon Knight on the Pyramids with Kaiju-sized Gods duking it out.

At the end of the day, Moon Knight has certainly earned a spot alongside the many iconic heroes of the MCU. Now to begin the countdown until whenever he may pop up next.

Moon Knight is now streaming on Disney+.

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.