Moon Knight Feels Like The Best Parts Of The Marvel Netflix Shows

The first episode of "Moon Knight" is currently streaming on Disney+, and that first slice of the cake is already delicious and packed with flavor. Right off the bat, we are plunged into the world of Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac), whose life is turned upside down quite dramatically after he is inadvertently made aware of his alternate personality, a mercenary named Marc Spector who is imbued with superpowers by Khonshu, the Egyptian god of the moon.

Although viewers have not had much insight into Marc yet, Steven has already emerged as a compelling protagonist worth rooting for. There's something immensely endearing about a sweet, polite dude who bonds with his fish and just wants to feel okay. "Moon Knight" builds up its characters in medias res, expertly crafting their personalities while weaving a dark, mystery-heavy storyline that has ties to ancient history and supernatural beings.

Although we have only been allowed a glimpse into the world of "Moon Knight," the show already feels like an amalgamation of the best parts of Marvel's Netflix shows, such as "Daredevil," "The Punisher," and "Jessica Jones." Although these Marvel shows left Netflix a while back and have only recently had direct ties to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, they have now  made their way to Disney+, where you can stream and rewatch some really badass moments alongside "Moon Knight."

Plunging into the abyss

"Moon Knight" is no "Daredevil" yet, but it's somewhat unfair to compare the two, at least at this point in time. "Daredevil" ran for three seasons, allowing it more breathing room to craft its unique world-building and unfold the journey of Matt Murdock/Daredevil (played by Charlie Cox). There's remarkable substance granted to most "Daredevil" characters over the course of its seasons, including Karen (Deborah Ann Woll) and Foggy (Elden Henson), adding a grounding effect to the expansive world of the show.

On the other hand, "Moon Knight" has only had one episode released so far, and given that it is a limited series, it will naturally handle its subject matter and characters in a remarkably different way. In "The Goldfish Problem" episode alone, "Moon Knight's" tone is much, much darker, at least from a psychological point of view, and the way in which the show handles the Marc/Steven psyche schism so far is remarkable. Even in the comics, Moon Knight has always been a unique superhero, pushed into a deal with Khonshu to enact vengeance on his behalf, and the fallout in the aftermath comes with a heavy burden, worsening his dissociative identity disorder (DID) and further complicating the concept of identity.

Steven Grant is intensely lonely and unable to sleep at night, lest he wakes up somewhere else unconsciously. When he does fall asleep, he is hounded by an unhinged cult of sorts and chased around the Alps over a golden scarab beetle. If this is not psychologically damaging enough, there's an ancient moon god stalking Steven's every move, appearing in dark passageways and elevators to scare the living daylights out of him, while his reflection acts of its own accord. This split in identity, especially when one is unaware of what's going on, suggests a much darker path for our hero ahead, who will need to switch between his alters to tackle the adversities thrown his way.

A delightful cocktail of genres

Most Marvel offerings are punctuated with humor (sometimes, at the cost of impactful storytelling), and while "Moon Knight" also follows the sometimes-humorous route, the funny sequences are not only more natural and awkward, but they spring from Steven's confusion that mirrors our own. A good example is the scene in which Harrow (Ethan Hawke) reveals his plan to resurrect Ammit from her tomb, and the fact that he is her earthly avatar. Poor Steven, flustered and anxious as he is, mutters something about "blue people...great film...the anime," which not only helps cement how terrified he is of the situation, but how menacing Harrow can be without resorting to hammed-up, over-the-top villainous behavior.

Even the action sequences, specifically the chase sequence in the Alps, have been shot and edited in a way that does not quite fit the mold of a typical Marvel show, as the creative decision to withhold the parts where Marc takes over adds a unique tint to the narrative. There's bloody violence, which, although somewhat restrained at the moment, is bound to increase in the upcoming episodes, as glimpsed from the teasers in which Marc beats, wounds, and straight-up kills people as a part of his mission to carry out Khonshu's vision of justice. This will be refreshing to watch, as the violence is not simply for the sake of it, but an integral aspect of a character's personality, and the complex shades of who they are.

Moreover, "Moon Knight" escapes the trappings of a typical superhero origin tale via these creative choices, just like other Marvel shows like "Jessica Jones," which took a more in-depth, experimental, and riveting approach to its core subject matter and characters. Steven and Marc are introduced as they are, and the audience is allowed to slowly unravel the mystery along with the characters, being left with pertinent questions by the end of the episode, just like our protagonist is.

Carving a tone of its own

"Moon Knight's" comic storyline has always been markedly different from most superheroes in the Marvel roster, be it the intensely psychological nature of his character or the melding of Egyptian mythology/lore into its evolving narrative. The show will be embracing these aspects, as seen already by Khonshu's terrifying presence, along with the ominous promise of vengeance that Ammit brings, which Harrow and his cult are hellbent on unleashing into the world. As "Moon Knight" has been shot across various locations, including the deserts of Jordan, a tonal shift can be expected to take place soon, which will be unlike any other ongoing Marvel superhero story.

Given "Moon Knight's" dedication to historical accuracy in terms of the depiction of Egypt, it is only a matter of time before the characters are swept off into a complex web of mystery that spans back a millennia, granting an "Indiana Jones"-esque vibe to the superhero story. Glimpses of the same have already been gleaned in episode 1 when Steven mentions the Ennead a couple of times, which could purportedly involve other ancient Egyptian deities like Khonshu in the picture. While what unfolds next remains to be seen, one can hope that the upcoming episodes will continue to uphold these established standards and that the show can carve a tone and feel unique to its own subject matter.

The first episode of "Moon Knight" is currently streaming on Disney+.