Marvel tackles Egyptian mythology and Dissociative Identity Disorder in newest show


Photo by Marvel Studios.

Diego Blanco, Staff Reporter

Marvel’s newest addition to the MCU via Disney+ is “Moon Knight.”

The year of 2021 was a big year for Marvel with the release of five shows. Not all the shows were actually good, many suffered from some problems and it showed that they most likely would not be on par with the quality of the movies. Nearing the end if 2021, Moon Knight was the next confirmed character to debut.

Moon Knight has always been a pretty well loved character, what has always made him an interesting character is his multiple alters: Marc Spector, Steven Grant and Jake Lockley both who were created because Marc suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder. That is about all that needs to be known about him to understand what is happening in the show.

The show begins by following Steven Grant and Marc Spector, instead of giving the origin of the personalities or Moon Knight, we instead follow Steven and Marc living their lives and intruding on one each other when they have control of the body. Episode 1 focuses on building the entire world, viewers get introduced to the villain, Arthur Harrow, and his goal. Viewers then get an introduction to Egyptian Gods like Khonshu and Taweret. 

Taweret is one of several characters on the Egyptian pantheon that appear in the show. Photo by Marvel Studios.

Episode 1-4 are perfect introductions into a lot of different concepts, as seen in movies like “Eternals.” There are amazing concepts but if not entirely fleshed out it leaves a disjointed mess and the audience wishing they could watch for other reasons. What is also great is the length of the episodes. Almost every single one is about 50 minutes each. This allotted time is great for exploring concepts as crazy as the afterlife, gods, historical figures, philosophical theories and ideologies, and so much more.

“Moon Knight” fully dives into all the history and mythology which not only makes it a great viewing experience but a chance to learn with the characters as they continue forward trying to stop Arthur Harrow from releasing Ammit who devours souls.

The show is expertly crafted together and the way it changes things from being the cliche origin story. For the first four episodes the audience is given most of the pieces to Steven and Marc’s story and can put the timeline of events together in order to discover what led to the characters being in the situation they’re in. The majority of the show is Marc and Steven exploring the all sorts of concepts that tie into Egyptian culture. Throughout the show they are assisted by Khonshu, God of the Moon and Night Sky. He displays his powers in interesting ways, He turns day to night and later in the episode changes the night sky and it looks absolutely beautiful.

Khonsu is the Egyptian moon god and one of his abilities is the ability to manipulate the night sky. Photo by Marvel Studios.

That is only the beginning of the beauty in the show. Egypt is presented as it is, not the stereotype of just desert and pyramids. It is a setting with amazing set pieces, and is just downright beautiful. The reason it looks so good is because most scenes were filmed on a location which included  Jordan, Budapest, Slovenia and many more places were filming locations that have commonly been used for other desert movies like Dune and many of the Star Wars movies.

The crew designed many props and suits that would stick out in these locations and they were all amazingly crafted, the best by far is the costume design. Although the CGI applied to it is not very good, the suit itself is awesome. Marc owns the classic Moon Knight Suit and Steven owns the Mr. Knight Suit.

Character Steven Grant shines on screen in his classic Mr. Knight costume. Photo by Marvel Studios.

Speaking of the cast, they are incredible. Ethan Hawke is amazing as Arthur Harrow, as he speaks in a very light and friendly tone which normally gives off a good feeling but with his character it instead gives him the look of a sadistic and crazed man. His best moment is in the finale, when he goes from speaking calmly to having a tremble in his voice, his eyes filling with water and finally letting the tears out. He is insanely talented and hopefully his performance will be praised as one of the best in recent years.

May Calamawy is also very talented. Her screen time compared to Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke is very little but in that time you learn about her character’s story. She is able to change her way of speaking and moving in an instant.

The best actor in the show however is not Hawke or Calamawy, it is Oscar Isaac as Steven Grant and Marc Spector. He’s also able to easily change the way he behaves for each character giving them all unique attributes even though they are being played by the same person. Where Isaac shines most is Episode 5.

Most of the episode is a weird and trippy episode where Marc flashes forward and back between an asylum of memories and constant interviews with his doctor. This episode is made to try to trick the audience and question everything that has occurred in the show so far, but what makes the amazing is the exploration of Steven and Marc, their memories and past are discovered by each other. The focus is on the relationship between the two and although there is a sense of urgency for them, they still take it slow as they unravel the truth.

Episode 5 wraps everything storyline so far, it explains the origin and it explains why Layla is important to the story, all while giving the best character interactions from the same person. It may be the best of the series due to the heartbreak yet triumph in the entire 50 minutes. 

Oscar Isaac shines in his dual role of Marc Spector and Steven Grant. Together their body is the Moon Knight, avatar of Khonsu. Photo by Marvel Studios.

After five amazing episodes viewers would believe that the finale would be of the same quality; however, it is not. It is not awful but it definitely is not as great as the other episodes. To better understand, major spoilers for the show have to be shared.

The finale is very rushed at first. With all the characters spread out, they need to be reunited but the way that it is done is not very well. 

The writing is not on par with the other episodes, as the actors are doing their best but a messy script and good acting doesn’t mean there are no issues. Although the writing lacks in the finale, the real issue is length, this isn’t only an issue for “Moon Knight,” every Marvel show has had bad finale, and it’s because the shows are limited to six episodes. A show like “WandaVision” perfectly puts everything the audience needs to know in and it leads to the show being very good because none of it feels rushed.

The job of the writer and director is hard, both need to somehow fit in character growth, large variety of concepts, detailed writing, and a satisfying conclusion in six episodes. For a show like “Moon Knight” where there are multiple alters and a lot of side characters that are unique, the show expertly did that for the first four episodes.

Episode 5 wrote itself into a corner despite being one of the best. The reason the finale is lacking the feel of the rest of the show is most likely due to the Episode 5 ending and leaving a lot to get crammed together.

“Moon Knight” is a very good show and the ending only needed a couple of tweaks in some areas to improve the show. 

Photo by Marvel Studios.