‘Moon Knight’: A wild mash-up of multiple genres

Series: ‘Moon Knight’ (Streaming on Disney+ Hotstar)

Duration: Averaging 50 minutes per episode (Total 6 episodes)

Directors: Mohamed Diab

Cast: Oscar Isaac, Ethan Hawke, May Calamawy, F. Murray Abraham, Karim-El-Hakim, Gaspard Ulliel

IANS Rating: ***

This highly anticipated series, ‘Moon Knight,’ begins with a promise that gradually withers away to oblivion. Designed as a psychological thriller with ample action, comedy, and horror tropes thrown in the series might work for you if you binge-watch it, or else the series with all its complexities might just be beyond caring.

For the uninitiated, Moon Knight is a complex fictional character and a robed superhero created by Marvel Comics. He appears as the main protagonist of his titular comics and a supporting character in the Marvel Universe. Characteristically, he wears many hats. He had once led a life of violence until he was chosen by Khonshu – the Egyptian God of the Moon and vengeance to protect the innocent and also as a way to redeem himself. Thus he is named Moon Knight.

This six-episode series follows Steven Grant, the cringey gift-shop employee at the National Art Gallery in London, who has an affinity to Egyptology. While he enjoys a regular lifestyle, he has a peculiar habit when- he goes to sleep. He shackles himself to his bed, for he suffers from nightmares that transport him to places he is unsure of.

Also, at times, during the day, he suffers from blackouts and hallucinates about memories of another life, which he soon discovers is the result of a dissociative identity disorder that he suffers. He realises that he shares his body with Marc Spector, a former mercenary and is also the avatar of Khonshu (Voiced by F. Murray Abraham). How Steven navigates through his complex identities to fight his enemies as he finds himself- enmeshed in an Indiana Jones-esque adventure that involves the powerful gods of Egypt, forms the crux of this series narrative.

The series is diverse in its storytelling and does require an open mind due to its unusual yet intriguing complexity. On the face of it, ‘Moon Knight’ appears very straightforward in its approach. It features a guy who is, losing his mind hallucinating an Egyptian God while a cult leader Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), is after his life and has other supernatural goals.

Oscar Isaac plays his dual roles astutely. It feels like watching two different actors delivering powerful performances. As Steven Grant, he is the most interesting- character in the series with his humility, innocence, and nerdy charm. His unintentional one-liners are typical of the wry British humour that keeps you in splits. As the formidable Mark Spector, he is the hands-on broody guy, a tortured soul, constantly fighting Grant for control.

Ethan Hawke’s mesmerising performance as the relaxed supervillain Arthur Harrow is intimidating. As Harrow, he does not use force or manipulation. He is just mellow and speaks his truth, which could be misleading.

May Calamawy, who portrays the tough and smart Layla, is the conduit that channelises the action-adventure feel in the film. She is the woman Steven Grant has always dreamt of, while Spector tries his best to stay away from her.

Mounted with ace production values, the series with a unique mashup of multiple genres appears wild and unlike any previous Marvel MCU shows.


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