The latest bit of hubris from the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe sees the Disney-run studio trying to launch a C-list superhero’s franchise by way of an unmemorable BBC comedy. Unsurprisingly, this does not entirely work.
Moon Knight’s first episode opens on Ethan Hawke continuing his First Communion tradition of being a hard-drinking, self-flagellating preacher. Here, he downs a bit of the hard stuff, takes the glass, and smashes it into bits—placing the shards in his woven leather shoes, to walk in the broken glass. Weird, right!?
Meanwhile, over at Oscar Isaac’s place, he’s shackled to the bed and has a half-dozen other precautions to hinder and know whether he’s snuck out during the night. As has been explicitly stated and not so subtly implied in this episode, Moon Knight has dissociative personality disorder, so he’s on the lookout for getting goofy. But in this series opener, we pretty much just get Isaac doing his extremely Bri’ish accent as Steven, the personality who’s a gift shoppist with an inordinately spacious London flat.
And, over the course of about half an hour, we learn that Steven blacks out during all the ostensibly exciting parts of his show, always waking up to a visually-absent action sequence that kept him alive by way of a more competent personality. Pretty cool!(?)
This mechanic eventually leads us to Hawke’s Arthur Harrow, who gives a little sermon where his magical tattoo literally judges people’s sins as an inked animated gif on his forearm. Again, pretty cool!(?)
It also leads us to another mechanic: that Moon Knight is following Venom in not just bizarre across-the-pond accents but in having an obtrusive voice-over as the inner voice of the lead’s possessed “power.” Moon Knight’s unheard voice of an Egyptian God in his brain is performed by F. Murray Abraham. It feels like a late-era Civilization game’s narration every time the booming recording turns up.
This is basically all that happens in this introductory episode. Yes, Moon Knight has multiple occasions where he doesn’t know why he is in The Italian Job’s final act or whatever, because he just woke up from one of his dissociative episodes. Yes, Ethan Hawke shows up again to be like, hey, don’t mess with me and my other Egyptian God. But that’s more or less it.
The only big revelation is when Steven’s other half, Marc Spector, shows up to become Moon Knight himself. And it looks like utter trash. People have rightfully been giving Spider-Man: No Way Home shit for looking like a CGI mush, but this is so much worse. Moon Knight himself, his CGI cape oddly draped, looks like a PS3 game. Robert Downey Jr. has not worn an Iron Man suit since 2008 and somehow this looks worse than anything Marvel has done in the decades since. Real garbage.
Anyway, so that’s the show. See you next week for more of a bad accent and a worse simulacrum of a man in a white hood and cape.