Marvel’s latest foray into Disney+, Moon Knight reinvents the studio recipe a bit. Will the new series with Oscar Isaac manage to land the moon? Critical.
Will Marvel’s recipe get boring? Looking at the box office numbers, the answer to this tricky question is definitely no. Spider-Man: No Way Home, the latest film to date, grossed no less than $1.8 billion, and confirms that the idea house is far from the last word. He advanced on the conquered lands, or almost.
Because we can begin to observe a certain fatigue in the audience, who regretfully notes that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is having a hard time reinventing itself. If a few surprises slip here and there, productions that are purely motivated by artistic vision are rare.
Recently we could quote Chloé Zhao’s The Eternals, which places humans at the heart of the story, and who frees her from the visual code of her elders. Wandavision also had little effect, forcing itself like a UFO in its debut, before reverting to a more classic formula in its final episode. Will Moon Knight Camping by Oscar Isaac allow Disney and Marvel to conquer new audiences?
A thoughtful gift shop employee, Steven Grant, suddenly suffers from memory loss. Haunted by a vision of another life, he discovers that he shares the same body as a mercenary named Marc Spector.
As the two men learn to tame one another, they embark on a perilous adventure in which they will encounter Egypt’s most powerful gods, but also its most dangerous foes.
Day and night
Say right away, Moon Knight is nothing like anything Marvel has offered us in the past. Director Mohamed Diab acts as a security guard, and intends to portray his country in the most realistic way possible. He made it clear on several occasions that he wanted to move away from the look that American productions had in North Africa, and at this point it worked somewhat.
His camera manages to capture with ingenuity the London and Egypt settings, while having fun with the basic postulates on which to build his image. Aided by editing with a small onion, Moon Knight embraces his different inspirations, without ever falling for the pastiche. Moon dives into the same universe. Marvel has a hollow nose when it comes to hiring directors from independent cinema.
Thanks to Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, Moon Knight also dives into horror. Both filmmakers bring their mastery of their genres to perfect the picture, all a play between darkness and light. Nevertheless, we stay at Marvel, this series shouldn’t give you nightmares. It’s not part of a series that’s banned for kids on the platform, like Pam & Tommy or Dopesick, so cherubim will be able to find it worry-free.
Note that on the digital effects side, the copy is nearly as perfect, especially when it comes to bringing out the divine character created for the event. This is especially true of Khonshu, the bird-headed giant to whom Mark owes his resurrection.
Marvel has hatched a monster that looks like an Egyptian mummy, with a very distinctive look and of course inspired by the comics. A true work of texture also found on the costume side, it’s so neat in this series that it sounds like an invitation to travel.
For the first time since the arrival of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on the small screen, audiences will be able to discover completely new characters. Out of the Avengers spinoff, Disney+ is doing something new.
Marvel then recruited Oscar Isaac, who had established himself as an unmissable pop culture. After an extraordinary journey in the Star Wars galaxy, where he played Poe Dameron, the actor abandoned his scout costume for a Manichean score less.
A challenge because it’s not just a character he has to embody, but two protagonists with very different personalities. Isaac came out with praise, perfect in every way. Whether playing a clueless and emotional museum guard or a violent and violent American soldier, this actor delivers a performance that bluffs with sincerity, and manages to deliver story content with his interpretation.
He gave answers to other actors of his caliber, starting with Ethan Hawke, very convincing in the teacher’s skin. May Calamawy also looks amazing, and her character has a lot of surprises.
Nor should one overlook the participation, of course only vocal, of F.Murray Abraham in the role of Khonshu. The actor, who gave us a few laughs as well as a few tears in Mystic Quest, didn’t fail in his reputation.
We’ll also have a touching thought for Gaspard Ulliel, who recently died and who made a brief appearance in one of the four episodes presented to us. With his angelic face and sincerity, the French actor blew up the screen. All of this still leaves a bitter taste, we want to find out what Marvel has in store for her in the future.
It is very difficult to know what made Moon Knight really successful, because we found a familiar element in the construction of the plot, Marvel did not create a pyramid, but provided a single work in a highly codified universe. From the staging to the treatment of its subjects, Moon Knight surprises us in several ways.
One could put that to a darker tone than the work as a whole, but this is far from the first time a Marvel production has taken this route. Daredevil is highly successful in its business in the genre, turning the adventures of a masked superhero into a real detective thriller in the New York underworld.
The Steven S. DeKnight series is not officially listed in the MCU roster, so we can consider Moon Knight a first to house the idea.
A mummy-style ancient treasure hunt, a Fight Club-style split personality, it’s hard not to see where the work of showrunner Jeremy Slater takes root. However, Moon Knight is a breath of fresh air in the MCU, without losing what we love most: great entertainment and action in spades.
Moon Knight’s awakening was therefore successful, at least in this first episode. The surprises are bound to be plenty, so we’ll be closely following the final chapter that will be offered every Wednesday morning for six weeks on Disney+.