This is a SPOILER Review of Episode 5 of Moon Knight so if you haven’t watched it yet, please go and watch the episode and then read.
This episode is amazing but extremely heartbreaking at the same time. It takes some time to start kicking but when it starts it doesn’t stop. It deals with some very dark and adult themes, the likes of which Marvel has never featured beforehand which provides for an emotional journey and leaves the series on another cliffhanger, leaving only a few hints along the way on how the series may end.
This episode an awesome emotional voyage. Which breaks down Marc Spector and takes him through the demons of his past to balance his heart. We get some necessary insight and explanation into the setup for the series. Following the common episode structure of traveling through the main character’s memories for them to gain closure and stability. Similarly to WandaVision episode 8 this episode perfectly takes us through his origin of abuse, trauma and accurately portrays how a DID system is created.
But make no mistake, this isn’t WandaVision Episode 8. This is truly bonkers! Marc is dead in the underworld and his other alter Steven now has his own physical form as they both get their hearts plucked out from their chest and weighed on a boat going through the underworld. The setup alone is quite fantastical. It also keeps us guessing on the validity of the reality as we see him switching between his reality in the underworld and him in the Asylum with Arthur. Which leaves you guessing as to which is real.
However, it all takes a very dark turn. As Marc is faced by all his trauma which has him face up to everyone he has ever killed. These are things he’s hidden off and secluded from Steven and has hidden off in his mind. It really poses a question about the morality of the Fist of vengeance Khonshu turned him into.
Then comes a little boy who takes us to place which is sure to break your heart.Taking us through how Marc blames himself for the loss of his brother. Which gives us the heart breaking origins of “Laters Gators” and takes us through a cycle of abuse which caused Marc to develop DID and which was the abuse that Marc endured, hiding it all from the Steven alter. We see the crushing portrayal of how DID is created in live action as his Mentally ill mother continues to blame him for his brother’s loss and we see Marc’s painful denial to face up to the memories of his mother who physically tortured him.
Oscar Isaac and the young actor’s portrayal is just breathtaking. How they seamlessly transition between the alters. DID is caused when someone is mentally or physically abused by someone as a child. Which causes them to dissociate as to not feel the pain of the abuse any longer. They make you feel the mental, physical and emotional tone that this has had on him. And it’s painful and crushing to watch.
We also gets great scene near an Egyptian tomb which is straight from the Moon Knight comics as he is an ex military mercenary in Egypt killed by his partner Bushman, but saved by the Moon God Khonshu right before it happened, becoming his Fist of Vengeance.
The ending sees Marc’s final piece of the puzzle in balancing his heart being the death of Steven so as Steven sacrifices himself to save Marc from Egyptian sand zombies Marc’s heart balances and he’s left in the field of reeds or the Egyptian heaven.
This ending leaves me questioning how they will wrap up the series but if they manage to pull off what they’ve been doing in the last two episodes, we are in for a treat. We also have them sending a message to Layla to free Khonshu which will most likely be his path out to deal with the Gods and Monsters of the next episode.
The most mind-blowing, shocking and dark episode of Moon Knight or any Disney Plus show yet was just released on Disney Plus. This is a Spoiler Review for the episode so if you haven’t watched it go and watch the episode first.
Opening Thoughts (Non-Spoiler)
So first some thoughts on the episode. I loved the pacing of this episode and just the general eeriness of it all, it keeps you gripped into the episode even when not much is happening. A surprising amount of gore and sequences straight out of a horror movie. The directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead really are at their best with horror which is so expertly directed that it is sure to make you scream.
Breakdown and Spoiler Review
So we start of with a great rotating shot, which is a classic shot of Benson and Moorhead showcasing all the Ushabtis of the other gods the Ennead has trapped. This presents a frightening message and the music by Hesham Nazih just so brilliantly punctuates the horror of this message. The Marvel Studios logo is also played with this same music continued and extended which just sets the tone for the episode.
Next we are taken back to Steven and Layla as they are being followed by Arthur’s goons and as they escape we get a great conversation with Steven and Marc as Steven denies Marc control which mirrors Marc denying Steven control in Episode 2 and 3. This also gives us a great conversation between Layla and Steven as she talks about her having agency in her choices, this truly makes her character fully rounded. We also get a great kiss between Steven and Layla which shows that she still wantss Marc’s love, also providing for a hilarious scene as Marc punches Steven of the cliff.
Next we get a sequence straight out of Horror movie which truly had me shrieking, screaming and constantly at the edge of my seat. This was the sequence which truly gripped me into the episode just the sound design with those dotted noises and the amazing horror directing, even after having watched the episode numerous times I found myself extremely stressed for Layla and just plain scared. The gore here is also just shocking as actual organs are pulled out of a man.
May Calamawy’s performance really just stands out this episode as she steals every scene, in particular her conversation with Arthur is just heartbreaking. Really shows her wanting to believe in the good Marc but also within herself feeling like she had a feeling it was true.
Breaking down that ending
MARC/STEVEN IS DEAD!!!! Noooo But wait what, where are we? WTF?! These were my reactions and I’m guessing everyone’s reactions during the ending section of the episode. As we see Arthur shoot Marc but Marc continues falling into or out of his dream as he wakes up in a mental asylum. Where we see a TV film about a Dr. Steven Grant which shows us what Steven’s creation in Marc’s mind was inspired by.- see all the ingredients Marc could have used to make up all the events of the past 4 episodes in his mind. As we see Donna as a fellow patient , we see Arthur’s goons as nurses. We see that Moon Knight itself is just a toy. We see a fellow patient make drawings of what could’ve inspired Khonshu and we finally see Dr. Arthur Harrow the head of this establishment who Marc could’ve made into a villain in his mind. We see Layla as a friend of his also a patient. The show gives us all these clues, not explicitly telling us but inferring to us that all of this was a dream, a concoction of Marc’s mind and trauma. That Marc thinks of as real as he leaps and asks for Steven. Marc is clearly very mentally broken as he can barely understand everything around him as Arthur talks to him, telling him that all this was false. This is the only part that makes me doubt that all this was fake since Arthur has been setup as an unreliable narrator. We end on Marc escaping and freeing Steven from his sarcophagus as they pass another sarcophagus also banging to let whoever is inside out. Hinting at the third alter, possibly Jake Lockley. Here we also finally get Marc’s acceptance of Steven and it is truly heart warming. As Marc longs for Steven, he needs him and the relief he feels when he gets him back is wonderfully expressed by Oscar Isaac. Next we end on an even crazier scene as a cartoonish Hippo runs in to them and says hello in the most cartoonish way possible.
I absolutely loved this episode and it is by far my favorite song f the first four. It just blends horror, emotion and surprises expertly together. It keeps you gripped with the horror and emotion and gut punches you in the end with uncertainty.
Ever since its beginnings in 2013, the Arrowverse has made quite a reputation for itself in the world of crossovers and interconnectivity. With a total of 7 crossovers beginning in 2014, fans are treated to a wide variety of comic book character and events brought to life. The most recent of these came to fruition in The Flash’s Armageddon in late 2021. Although, this event was much less of a crossover compared to past years in terms of scale, we do get a ton of characters that we haven’t seen in for a while. As we dive into a review and recap of the first five episodes of The Flash Season 8, please be aware that this review will include spoilers. Lets dive into The Flash Armageddon!
The Flash: Armageddon Part 1
The season premiere begins with a cold opening of the future. Central City is in ruins and a man (Tony Currans character) stands before the absolute carnage raining down upon the city. This scene straight away sets the tone for the rest of the episode. Snap back to the present and it’s revealed Team Flash are up to their usual shenanigans in Central City. We finally get some character development for Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) who is at long last ready to get back into the dating scene following her husbands death some seasons ago. Iris is working on her podcast and Barry is happy saving people from every day accidents. And then there is Ray Palmer (Brandon Routh) who arrives on Barry and Iris’ doorstep. Although its great to see his character again, he doesn’t really add much to the story instead feeling extremely shoehorned in. Despero (Tony Curran) is a fine villain for this story although he isn’t the best considering a lot of the logic behind his motivation is extremely flawed. His whole motive is based on the fact that he believes Barry to be the cause of an event called Armageddon which leads to catastrophe in the future. I think as the episode goes on it slowly gets worse. But as the ending draws closer the quality does increase, with the final few minutes being the strongest really depicting the struggle in Barry’s mind.
The Flash: Armageddon Part 2
Continuing on from the prior episode, Flash has seven days to defy fate and save his world from imminent danger. According to Despero, he would lose his mind which would in turn lead to Armageddon. Chaos ensues with just about everything going wrong for Team Flash. Barry doubles down on proving his innocence and a shocking revelation is uncovered. The said revelation is the reveal that Detective Joe West had been dead for six months which comes as an utter shock to Barry. Its a twist crafted for the shock factor, and its certainly executed quite well. I found a few of the moments in the episode to be a little contrived and contradictory to other seasons. In particular, one of the subplots involving Gideon and how Gideon has to erase themselves. Not written too well. As the episode draws to a close, Barry goes to Jefferson Pierce AKA Black Lightning. Which makes for a great cliffhanger for the slowest episode of the crossover.
The Flash: Armageddon Part 3
The third episode of Armageddon introduces several new plot points that progress the story along. I think the stuff they introduce with Thawne replacing Barry in a Reverse Flashpoint timeline is probably the most interesting out of all the five episodes. The interactions Barry has with Jefferson was one of the best moments in the entire event and something that was teased back in Crisis. I feel that was some well done fan service. This episode also has a lot of hard hitting emotional moments for long time fans of the show which I love to see. After that episode 2 ending we were sort of led to believe that Barry had been erased from the timeline which set up a lot of great moments in this episode. This is probably the strongest episode out of the 5 but I wouldn’t say this is anything special. A few minor writing flaws but nothing too serious, although there is some cliché moments.
The Flash: Armageddon Part 4
Part 4 of the crossover really gives the feel of conclusion and ending that the event needed. Which is weird because this isnt the final episode. The episode centres around Barry being the Reverse-Flash with Thawne being The Flash and the problems that situation could lead to. This episode reminded me of the Elseworlds comic series a ton. With like Ryan Choi becoming Vigilante and the Legends are dead. I found that to be a really cool scenario. The episode is structured in a way that the flow of the story is quite logical and smooth which I really appreciated. I think one of the biggest issues with this episode and CW shows as a whole, is that the the team up shots seem so awkward. Its a minor criticism but it’s always prevalent in these shows. Overall, its an enjoyable penultimate episode.
The Flash: Armageddon Part 5
The finale of this miniseries crossover provides a decent capper for the event whilst leaving room for the plot of the rest of Season 8 and other shows. It was great seeing Mia Queen again but her involvement and arc in the episode doesn’t seem to be closed too well. The Despero arc is also seemingly left open even though it appears he dies. Like I said in the Part 4 review, part 4 provides a better ending to the event whereas this episode just feels like CW prolonging the episode count just so its more marketable. A few nuisances in the writing department but nothing overly bad. Especially in comparison to the second episode of Armageddon.
Overall, The Flash Armageddon is an average crossover providing some special moments in an average collection of episodes. Utilizing great character performances, the showrunners manage to convey an emotionally rich plot with high stakes.
Tokyo Vice is a new series on HBO Max Produced by Michael Mann. The series just recently released it’s 5th episode of nine. An adaptation of the 2009 real-life memoir by Jake Adelstein, the first foreigner to work as a crime reporter at a major Japanese newspaper, building relationships with both the police and the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia. Which provides for a great meal of Yakuza-drama, gore and bonding between friends. The cast includes Ansel Elgrot as Jake, Ken Watanabe as Hiroto, and Rachel Keller as Samantha.
The series starts off by putting us in the present day as our protagonist Jake(Ansel Elgrot) is in a meeting with some Yakuza bosses with his Japanese partner. This provides for an abrupt and jarring first scene as no context is given and we are thrust right into the thick of it all. After the conclusion of this sequence, the series cuts years back to a younger Jake who is working hard to fulfill his dreams of being a crime reporter, giving us the necessary context and backstory. This is where the series shines initially. since his past struggles provide a more compelling storyline.
The series is shot in Tokyo and the way the series puts you in a 2000s era Tokyo is just brilliant. The city it portrays is never too dirty and neither too straightforward. Like many other portrayals of Tokyo in film, we see Hostess and host clubs, love hotels, picturesque alleys and a sea of neon decorating the sky. But where the series differs is the unique lens Michael Mann puts it through, he is able to define a set mood for the series one of emotion, darkness and gritt. This style really provides a great rhythm for the series. It’s portrayal of the city really levels up the series. Michael Mann only directs the pilot but the distinctive style he develops is carried on and kept intact by all the directors.
As we see Jake finally get his dream job and work at the biggest news trade in Japan, the series ads more of a work-place comedy nature to it’s tone. This tone can be distracting and sometime detracts from the actual plot-line, but provides a more enjoyable experience. The main plot involves jake being paired with a young Yakuza named Sato and a bar-singer named Samantha, who both of them admire. This is a compelling setup, but is never given any true focus, direction or interesting portrayal by the screenplay.
The other setup of Jake with Hiroto who is a Japanese cop who Jake is paired with to take down the larger Yakuza. Hiroto is played by legendary Japanese actor Ken Watanabe who steals every scene he is in, be it with the sheer power in his line delivery or his pragmatism. Hiroto is an honest man and a frustrated detective who is unwilling to take bribes or to stand by as the Yakuza conduct their dealings in his city. Watanabe brings the perfect balance to the character of realizing jake’s potential and how he could help him in preventing an ever closing gang war but also wanting to protect Jake mentoring him. You get a sort of father-son kind of relationship with the two. Which gives shades of the relationship between Walter and Jesse in Breaking Bad. Watanabe really bring a lot of compassion into the character and is really the only totally rounded character in the series apart from Jake.
Ansel Elgrot gives a very different performance to his previous performances as seen in films like West Side Story. He really embodies Jake’s struggles, passion, impatience, frustrations, and smarts all really well. He really finds his comfort in Jake and knocks it out of the park portraying the many sides of Jake Adelstein. His Japanese is also great, he has to deliver a lot of his lines in Japanese and excels at every point.
Cine Geek Meter
This is a great Japanese styled detective-mafia drama, often even feeling like an anime brought to life in the best way. A must watch for fans of Japanese media and also for fans of great dark and gritty detective stories.
You can watch the first 5 of the 9 episodes of Tokyo Vice exclusively on HBO Max right now, with the next 4 set to drop weekly. Our review for episodes 6-8 will be dropping this Thursday with the release of the 6th episodes. Also check out: our Review for the 4 episodes of Moon Knight.
Two years after our favorite hedgehog got his first live-action outing in 2020’s Sonic the hedgehog, we finally have his return in Sonic the hedgehog 2. The sequel keeps the light-hearted and fun tone of the first, while upping the stakes and scale. The film is also a love letter to any fan of the classic games. ends The film does end up sacrificing a balanced story for these moments and does ends up confused between Sonic‘s life on Earth from the previous movie and his life from the games with Dr. Eggman and his many companions. All this however is easy to forget in all the fun, heart-warming fan-service and Jim carry’s craziness. Both of the New characters Knuckles and Tails are extremely fun, with Idris Elba as Knuckles being the big standout.
A love-letter to the games
The film particularly excels in fan-service, which has recently started to nonsensically be considered something negative by fans and critics. When in reality it really isn’t, fan-service is made to give something extra to those fans who have dedicated significant time to the properties who love the characters more than others. It like anything else in film is dependent on how well it’s done and I am delighted to say that this film does it extremely well. Be it through some of Sonic’s specific jumps and rolls, or through the portrayal of classic characters like Tails and Knuckles the film is sure to put a grin on any Sonic fan. Tails is even voiced by Colleen O’Shaughnessey, who voiced the character in the video games. Fight sequences with the Giant Dr. Eggman Robot are also straight out of the Sonic games. What makes this fan-service particularly great is that the film also adds a great bunch of it’s own touch to those classic moments and really expands the universe established in the previous film.
Jim Carry carries and New Characters
The film does have problems with balancing multiple storylines. On one hand Sonic is trying to fit in with his family on Earth, while on the other he’s rolling with Tails and fighting Dr. Eggman. This could allow for an intriguing character arc of self discovery, but the film fails to do so and thus ends up losing some heart. All of this can be forgiven though if you are hooked into the movie for the fun, because the side it decides to go is just pure blue-eyed enjoyment. The film is bound to leave classic fans and fans of the previous film with a smile as they leave the theater. Tails is a fun strong companion to Sonic, while Knuckles is a great rival who also provides excellent humor, It’s various pop-culture references and Jim Carry’s brilliant performance makes silly and crazy scenes feel real, while maintaining the humor. Dr. Eggman has scenes hilarious scenes which are powered by Jim Carry, the lines themselves aren’t as well written as he delivers them.
It also helps itself greatly by starting off from right where it left us in the previous film. Sonic is about to venture into the new land with Tails and explore. This entire aspect is extremely intriguing, but where the film stumbles is where the first excelled. The first felt like a buddy cop film between James Marsden’s Tom and Sonic, where this one awkwardly sidelines the relationship by splitting the two up and having parallel storylines play out where the one with Sonic is significantly more enjoyable than the other, making points feel like two different films. This is the part of the film which even the amusement of the other parts couldn’t save.
Overall, Sonic the hedgehog 2 is an improvement over the previous one, with bigger stakes and larger action sequences. It excels at being fun and enjoyable to watch, to the point that it’s shortcomings can be forgotten. It is also a great letter of love from the writer to fans of the Sonic Games, which always leaves you with a big smile. It is a perfect easter film for families and should be enjoyed as such. Nothing, truly game changing but certainly entertaining.
Sonic the hedgehog 2 is Now in theaters across the world.
Also check out our review for Sony’s latest Spider-verse flick ‘Morbius’.
After 2 years of non stop delays, and an entire Spider-Man movie being made, released and having finished its box office run. Sony’s other Spider-Verse film Morbius has finally been released in theaters. The film’s first trailer came out more than 2 years ago in January of 2020. If I were a Sony executive, I would’ve done the same to bury this movie as much as possible, a true bore of a film, with terribly written characters and a nonsensical plot.
The movie is a Comic Book movie straight out of the 90s, combined with a vampire flick. It accomplishes what even most vampire movies could not, by providing really no source of enjoyment. My main issue with the movie was that it took it self way too seriously, to the point where dialogue and writing feel unnatural. The movie sets up a lot of threads in it’s first 30 minutes and ends up delivering on none of them, leaving you asking why certain characters and elements were even introduced. Throughout the character choices are inconsistent, where you don’t feel that the choices the characters end up making is at all true to what the film set up in the first half. It also makes it apparent why Sony tried to sell the movie on Spider-Man references instead of the actual content.
Cine Geek Meter rating
I can also say however that the film is not as bad as it’s rotten tomatoes score suggests, especially with the quality of Sony’s previous entry in their Spiderman universe Marvel film with Venom Let There be Carnage. At least Morbius can be called a film, the structure is all there. I also quite liked the visual design of his powers, which the movie undercut itself on by overusing it and with wonky CGI in it’s latter half. Matt Smith’s character really carries this movie providing some emotional depth and comedy to the movie, however, the way that the movie decides to go with his character at the end is totally inconsistent with what we previously know about the character.
Not much makes sense, the plot itself leaves you asking why? throughout the 104 minute run time of the film. Neither the director Daniel Espinoza nor Jared Leto seem decided on the tone of the movie, with it taking itself too seriously throughout and odd jokes sprinkled along, taking you out of the experience.
Post Credit Scenes
No review for this movie is complete without mentioning how stupid and non sensical the post credit scenes of the movie are. *SPOILER WARNING* The first post credit scene starts off with Doctor Strange’s spell bringing in Michael Keaton’s Vulture into Morbius’ Universe, clearly contradicting the Multiversal logic established by Marvel in Spider-Man: No Way Home. And it gets worse as Michael Keaton’s first line after being transported into a different universe is about the food in this joint. The writing in the film is extremely laughable but the writing in the post credit scenes is just plain hilarious. The second post credit scene also makes zero sense since Morbius is developed as a hero in the movie but is now willing to team up with a bunch of other villains. You would think that Sony would’ve learned from the post credit scenes for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, trying to unnaturally setup a sinister six. The scene also destroys the Vulture character, who was an amazing villain in Spider-Man: Homecoming, being a family man and not someone who is a villain for the sake of just being a villain. But here instead of trying to find a way back, now he’s assembling the sinister six to fight Spider-Man. The dialogue like the rest of the movie is yet again horrible. These post credit scenes give me the feeling that Sony made a movie pre No Way Home without consulting Marvel Studios on how the multiverse logic would work. Where the previous version of the film would’ve had Vulture somehow arriving into the Venom Universe. So when Marvel President Kevin Fiege finally heard about this, they were made to edit Vulture’s scenes in the movie out and film post credit scenes which would partly fit in with the logic establish in No Way Home, failing to even do that.
Morbius had the potential of being a good film at least, however stupid creative decisions, an uncertain tone and mood, and horrendous dialogue prevent it from being even watchable. The movie also shows that Sony have not yet decided the direction for their universe of movies. This is a movie which would leave Marvel Studios scrambling to have the Marvel logo removed from the start of the film. The unethical marketing approach of the movie also adds to the sour taste left by the film.
We encourage you to still go and watch the film in theaters to form your own opinion. Morbius is Exclusively in Theaters right now.
This is a non-spoiler review for the first four episodes of Marvel Studios’ latest Disney Plus series Moon Knight. Check out our CineGeek meter rating for Moon Knight below.
After watching the first 4 episodes of the series, I can say confidently that this is among the best projects Marvel has ever put out, certainly from the past three years.. The series marks Marvel’s first step into the dark side as they brilliantly venture into issues of mental health, violence, brutality, and horror. The series feels totally disconnected to the greater MCU, which may be a concern or a negative for some fans but works perfectly in service of Moon Knight. Being self-contained allows the show to focus on developing the main characters in a way no MCU series has been able to before it.
The series provides us with a totally unique iteration of the character, differing from any of the previous comic book iterations. The themes of the story are heavily inspired by Jeff Lemire’s game-changing run, where he put the emphasis on portraying Marc Spector’s DID first and foremost. Lemire truly changed how mental illness was addressed in comics, putting Marc Spector’s Dissociative Identity Disorder first and foremost by focusing the story on Marc dealing with this broken mind more than anything else. The show seeks to combine the mental health aspects of Lemire’s Moon Knight with the classic crime-fighting Moon Knight.
The show follows Steven Grant, a gift shop employee at a museum who is trying to navigate his way through a normal life in London. Hthinks he’s dealing with a sleeping disorder, when in reality his other personality Marc Spector takes control whenever he sleeps. Marc is a mercenary who is working for the Egyptian god of the Moon, Khonshu. Marc takes up the mantle of Moon Knight to prevent the main villain of the series, Arthur Harrow (portrayed by Ethan Hawke) from unleashing an Egyptian boogeyman, the demon goddess Ammit. From just the very first moments of the series, you know you’re in for something special, as it starts off from a direction no other MCU series has done before. The very first scene of the series feels jarring and unexpected, where no line is spoken, instantly giving you the darker tone, focus andintroducing the villain of the series. The direction, acting, and cinematography of the series are also in great show here. This scene for me was Moon Knight telling me to strap in as I was in for something special.
Action? Mental Health? Religion? Mr.Knight or Moon Knight?
To answer the questions which fans have been asking over social media, Yes, the action is great, surprisingly brutal, certainly the most violent and bloody from any previous Marvel Studios project. Yes, Moon Knight’s mental health is given great importance, being a central part of the show, I dive into how Marc/Steven’s DID is portrayed later on. Yes, in the first four episodes there are subtle nods made to his Jewish origins, including him living in a primarily Jewish are of London, the main villain of the series being a nazi-sympathizer and some smaller details. But the director of the series Mohamed Diab promises fans to wait for episode 5 and 6 to see more of Marc’s Jewish side, with his parents set to appear. As much as I love Mr.Knight, Moon Knight will always be my pick, he’s just much more of a bad ass character.
What is Moon Knight, if not craziness persevering?
Moon Knight is a dark, violent, Egyptian mythology themed, psychological thriller series. The series never feels like a superhero series, focusing instead more on the mental struggles of Steven Grant and Marc Spector with their Dissociative Identity Disorder. The series also doesn’t fall into the same problem as every other Disney Plus series. Where the previous Disney Plus series would wait till the later half to introduce the main villain, Moon Knight introduces us to Ethan Hawke’s Arthur Harrow from its very first moments. This allows the audience to be as interested and immersed in the villain’s motivations and beliefs as they are in the heroes’. May Calamawy’s Layla also has a massive role to play in the series, being a main focus from the second she’s introduced. The character is also one of the best additions to the MCU in recent times, showing great female empowerment with her amazing skills as a fighter and archaeologist.
The acting in the series is just stellar across the board, with Oscar Isaac giving us an Emmy prospective performance, portraying both Marc Spector and Steven Grant as really quite different but also partially similar to each other. Giving the identities a great duality and making each identity instantly recognizable as different from the other. Ethan Hawke gives a truly terrifying performance in the role of Arthur Harrow, never being the bad guy, but rather being someone who thinks what he’s doing is the true path and bettering the world for others. He portrays the character in a way that feels like he’s trying to guide Marc/Steven to his ideologies, because he recognizes Marc/Steven as being mentally broken. Although you can also pick up on those sinister intentions in Hawke’s character, altogether this gives us one of the best Marvel villains to date, certainly the best on Disney+. May Calamawy also gives a great emotional performance, bringing out great depth in her character and excellently portraying her confusion and frustrations with Marc/Steven’s DID. Her personal relationship with Marc is also front and center in the series with her excellently portraying her struggle with love and also being hurt. F. Murray Abraham’s Khonshu lays out the main lore of the series and provides an enjoyable and humorous dynamic to Khonshu and Steven/Marc’s relationship, as he tries to prevent Arthur Harrow from achieving his goals, however, he cannot directly interfere as he needs Marc/Steven to follow his instructions, so a great humorous and frustrated dynamic is created between the two.
Are we even in the MCU?
The Series is a definitely nothing like what we’ve been accustomed to in the MCU before. The series is dark, brutal at times, straight horror at others, and really plays off more like a psychological thriller. This truly is a stepping stone into a greater form of storytelling in the MCU. Which keeps you hooked to the series based on its own characters and events, rather than having to rely on returning characters, easter eggs or cameos. The Series also does very well to use humor in a unique way for the MCU, where it never feels forced but it rather relies on the absurd moments caused by the supernatural and the frustrations of Marc and Steven’s identity swapping. This aids the series in feeling more mature and distances itself from any past criticism on MCU projects, be it unfounded or true. The series really features no reference to the MCU other than the opening Marvel Studios logo or one mention of a specific city.
A true spectacle
Another area Moon Knight excels at is direction and cinematography, personally I felt that this was the best we’ve got in the MCU for a while now. With stunning shots and truly wonderful stylistic direction, effectively portraying the theme for each specific episode extremely well. Mohamed Diab also brings on great Egyptian representation and sets a perfect Indiana Jones vibe for his episodes, making ideas of Egyptian Mythology which an average director may portray cartoonishly, into something interesting and dark. Though even in this case it can come of as cartoonish in one or two instances, I would’ve also liked if there had been more Egyptian characters in the series. With Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead truly tapping into their horror roots for the series, making it feel gripping and messing with the audiences mind in many ways, especially in the 4th episode with terrifying sequences which could be straight out of a horror movie. The direction and writing of the series masterfully never make it clear if something is real or not, so that the audience is kept guessing if what we’re seeing is even real or just in Marc’s broken mind. Marc/Steven is portrayed as a sort of unreliable narrator, in which we don’t know if what we’re seeing from his perspective is true or if what he’s saying is true or not.
Why it just works?
What the series does especially well is balancing all these dark, psychological, Egyptian, comedic and horror tones into a single narrative. Where the series paces itself perfectly, with the cinematic feel and pacing of the series, to the point of where it could also be an excellent Full-length feature. However, the series expertly makes use of each and every one of those extra seconds. The series makes sure to retain its main focus, even with all the Egyptian gods, jackals and other enemies, on our main four characters Marc Spector, Steven Grant, Layla El-Faouly and Arthur Harrow. Marc and Steven’s relationship is the driving force of the series, with the DID being represented as something Marc and Steven have to work through, understanding each other, while the actual Moon Knight persona is more of a sort of necessary boogeyman in their minds, who they have to unleash to fight dangers but are also ethically hesitant in doing so. The series does extremely well in asking the important questions. The series also has great emotional weight, with the Layla character, being the one person who knew the old Marc Spector, who has a personal relationship with him.
Sit amongst the Egyptian Ennead
A main focus of the series is Egyptian gods, whose decisions and rulings provide us with the basic plot of the series. The series does an incredible job in including various aspects of the Egyptian mythos and its Pantheon of Gods. Whether they are present in their true form, as thoughts, as a voice in the head or their as their avatars, they are front and center in the series. Something else which is extremely amazing to see is Egyptian talent brought front and center into the series with Producer Director Mohamed Diab giving us truly amazing Egyptian representation, giving us a look at the culture, people, beauty and music of the region.
One of my main fears for the series was that it was leaning in to heavily into the supernatural side, however, I am delighted to say that it never feels that way. I would even go on to say that the series feels much more grounded in reality than most MCU projects. The series tackles Egyptian mythology in a way in which it all feels real, the adult tone of the series allows it to feel like real life. Oscar Isaac, the directors and writers do an incredible job in making it all feel real, where none of it feels too fictional. Instead, the beautiful cinematography fills you with wonder and awe, while still feeling natural. Though the use of the vfx in the first 2 episodes can be really distracting.
Dissociative Identity Disorder
The series marks a really long way the industry has come with the representation of DID. With many Hollywood projects portraying it as either a plot-twist or some villainous presence. Moon Knight does very well in addressing those issues, still not capturing every aspect of the disorder correctly, with the DID being partially linked to supernatural elements, but truly marking a step forward in the representation of the disease. The series makes it clear that DID is something within Marc which he has developed and gives us a sense of the shattered state of mind Marc is in, to the point that Marc is now losing control of his own body. Steven is the polar opposite of Marc in some ways and The series expertly portrays the conflict between these two ideologies with an outstanding creative choice, using Mirrors. The set design is done in a way that there is always a reflective surface somewhere near Marc/Steven, so that the personality which is not dominant always exists as a reflection of the other. This works greatly in metaphorical terms, but also serves the storytelling beautifully as it allows for great conversations and arguments between the two personalities. By the end of the first four episodes you realize the duality that the series portrays with one personality never being more important than the other. Even with Marc being the mercenary and Steven only being a gift shop employee, the series makes it so that they are both equally important in their own unique way. This creates an interesting struggle in which only one personality can be the primary handler of the body at a time and only they can control when the 2 personalities swap between each other. So when the skills of the other are needed they have to surrender control to the other, but they are both unwilling since they both want to be the primary handler of the body themselves, with both having their own obligations against the other. This variation of skill also pays homage to the original Moon Knight comics where Marc didn’t have DID, instead adopting different personas for specific situations and areas.
Just the way Egyptian mythology, culture and music is used in the series is extremely heartening and adds a great touch to the series. The cinematography is just brilliant with it feeling cinematic all the way through, never feeling like it’s restrained by the television format, instead it feels like an extended Feature where the series makes use of each an every second of the extended runtime. Egyptian composer Hesham Nazih‘s score is also extremely amazing, giving the series a unique identity. Perfectly, reflecting the Egyptian focus of the series and providing a mysterious tone to the series. How the series leaves you questioning everything you’ve seen is also amazing, which leaves the questioning what they’ve seen and what they will see, keeping you gripped in. Oscar Isaac’s performance deserves its own Oscar, his brilliant performance is what carries the entire story and dilemma of the series. May Calamawy is just truly amazing I can’t even emphasize how great her character is and how great she portrays her, she is bound to be a fan-favorite by the end.
To end it off as someone who had been a Moon Knight fan for ages this series is a home-run for the perfect Moon Knight series, bringing together all the various iterations of the character into one, encompassing the mental struggle with the bad-ass action and the usefulness of each of Marc’s personalities. The series also dives deeper into Egyptian mythology than most Moon Knight comics would dare to. This also allows it to encourage wonder and see in the viewer. I fell that the series is a great stepping point for the MCU into its darker side, and to follow into more mature projects. The series is also expertfully crafted in a way that it perfectly blends the dark and gritty Marvel street-level themes with the insane concepts and ideas of Egyptian mythology and Mental illness. It’s truly the craziness of the Moon Knight comics, come to life. The series can also be just downright terrifying at times, truly leaning into its darker side, constantly gripping you to the screen. I genuinely found myself screaming and jumping back at times, also greatly genre bending, merging adventure hero themes, with psychological horror.
In my opinion we truly need more projects like this in the MCU, this is what the Disney Plus shows should’ve been, allowing Marvel to deep dive into new concepts with all the time they need. Moon Knight delivers something special for the MCU to build on to explore even further be it in the form of more seasons, a movie or even a team-up movie in the form of a Midnight Suns team.
Stay tuned for a breakdown and Spoiler review for the first episode dropping on thecinegeek tomorrow at 1 am ET. With weekly breakdowns and spoiler reviews dropping right after the episode.
Moon Knight starts streaming Exclusively on Disney Plus March 30