Oscar Isaac's Moon Knight Accent Sounded Terrible In The Trailers - But It's Brilliant In The Show

When our very first glimpse at Marvel's "Moon Knight" arrived, the question of the hour wasn't Why is Oscar Isaac's face wrapped in toilet paper? Or Is it concerning that Ethan Hawke makes such a believable cult leader? Instead, we all united around the most pressing hot button topic surrounding the show and pondered life's biggest question of all: Why does Oscar Isaac sound like a Dickensian orphan? 

Since then, the accent chosen for Isaac's Marvel hero has remained a major talking point in the lead-up to the series premiere and the joking jabs have gone so far that Isaac himself is joining the fun. But now that the first episode is finally available for our viewing pleasure, the time has come to accept a truth we should've known all along: Oscar Isaac's "Moon Knight" accent is actually really good.

First of all, shame on us for ever doubting Oscar Isaac in the first place. For very good reason, he is often proclaimed as one of the most exciting stars of his generation, so perhaps we should put a little more faith in his character decisions — especially before we'd had the chance to see them in action. Besides, with a magnetic screen presence like his, I struggle to envision a character quirk he couldn't sell me on, and the first episode of "Moon Knight" fits the bill as a prime example. Out of context and edited to bits, the snippets featured in trailers made the accent sound like an odd attempt at parody. For a while, it seemed like maybe the actor was taking the whole "embrace the chaos" tagline a little too far. But now that we've gotten better acquainted with the mysterious man at the center of the series, it's hard to imagine Isaac's Steven Grant sounding any other way.

What's in a voice?

In all fairness, I'm no leading authority when it comes to accents. As long as they're not skewing in the direction of being outright offensive, I think bad accents are, at best, prime entertainment, and, at worst, pretty damn hilarious. It's all a matter of taste, and personally, I tend to lean on the side of chaos — I could listen to Lady Gaga say "father, son and house of Gucci" all day and whatever the hell Cary Elwes was doing in his Christmas rom-com made me absolutely gleeful — but I do think "Moon Knight" is a very different case. It isn't "fun" bad, as the trailers led us to believe. It's just plain good. And even better, the voice serves a significant narrative purpose by perfectly fitting its character.

When the series kicks off with "The Goldfish Problem," we quickly find ourselves thrust into the lonely life of Steven Grant, a nebbish gift-shop worker at a London museum who's best friends include a one-finned goldfish, a living statue street performer who never speaks, and his mum's voicemail. He's timid and desperately dorky, in such a way that immediately fills us with fondness and pity. Whether interacting with a pet store employee or the female colleague he's pining after, Steven always seems a couple steps behind, all of which is pitch-perfectly channeled into his rambly, awkward demeanor. And that's where the voice comes in.

Isaac's accent is high, over-pronounced, and clearly in on the joke of Steven as he squawks exclamations like "bloody hell" and feebly salutes his boss with an "aye, aye cap'n." After seeing him awkwardly mumble his way through a shift at the museum gift shop, I was fully prepared for him to bid his co-workers farewell with a classic "pip pip, cheerio" and honestly, if those words never escape his lips, I'll be sorely disappointed. The fact that this permanently sleepy man signs off phone calls with the phrase "laters gators" in a tone that's equal parts earnest and anxious feels fundamental to who he is. And the key to "Moon Knight" is that while all of this is certainly true, it only gets you halfway there when it comes to understanding Steven Grant.

A pitch-perfect performance from Oscar Isaac

As the first episode reveals and the rest of the season will surely explore, Steven is only part of the person Oscar Isaac has been cast to embody. As he slowly comes to understand, Steven has dissociative identity disorder and shares a body with a mercenary named Marc Spector. Isaac has alluded to there being a deeper reason behind the accent — though he kept things as vague as possible, to avoid the wrath of those Marvel NDAs. Last month, the "Moon Knight" star explained:

"I stand by the sound of Steven 100 percent ... that voice is about where Steven's from, where he's living now, and some of his believed heritage. It's not an idea of what the Brits actually sound like."

If we later learn that Steven Grant's accent is a product of watching too much Dick Van Dyke, then that's fine. But if the series doesn't put aside time to unpack his Dickensian orphan-boy voice work, the accent still works! The voice communicates so much about Steven with so little and sets him further apart from his mysterious alter-ego, Marc. The first episode only shows us the briefest glimpses of the clearly dangerous mercenary, but when he flashes in a mirror and speaks directly to Steven, it hits like a ton of bricks — this is Oscar Isaac, the terrifying Card Counter, the insidious ego-maniac from "Ex Machina," the stately Duke from "Dune." The fact that all of that can disappear into a nerdy, muttering British man makes this an even more impressive turn from Isaac.

New episodes of "Moon Knight" drop on Disney+ on Wednesdays.