MOON KNIGHT Review: Marvel's Latest Disney+ Series Falters After A Strong First Episode

Moon Knight is set to hit Disney+ tomorrow, and now that the review embargo has lifted, you can find out what we at FearHQ made of Marc Spector's long-awaited live-action debut.

Comic book fans have been waiting a long time to see Marc Spector take his place alongside the more established heroes of the MCU, and the Fist of Khonshu is set to make his live-action debut in Marvel's latest Disney+ series, Moon Knight, this Wednesday.

The first four episodes were made available to critics, and while the season opener serves as a thrilling, unconventional introduction to the titular anti-hero, we soon enter far more familiar territory as the show veers further and further away from the engaging character study it sets-up.

Moon Knight follows unassuming, somewhat socially stunted Londoner Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac), who works at a local Museum gift shop, where he knows more about the ancient artefacts on display than the tour guides. Grant suffers from what he believes to be a form of somnambulism, but soon realizes that he's losing time because he's actually a former Mercenary named Marc Spector who's afflicted with dissociative identity disorder. He also happens to be the avatar of a Moon God known as Khonshu, and has the ability to conjure a protective costume when the need arises.

Grant and Spector share control of the same body, communicating via reflective surfaces. When a powerful former servant of Khonshu named Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) enters the fray, Moon Knight teams-up with Spector's estranged wife Layla (May Calamawy) and travels to Egypt in an attempt to stop Harrow from unleashing ruthless rival deity Ammit.

New Moon Knight Posters Reveal the Many Sides of the Enigmatic Superhero

Moon Knight does get off to a strong start, introducing several compelling elements while teasing the dark, horror-tinged exploration of mental illness Kevin Feige and co. spoke of while promoting the series. But while something like FX's Legion, for example, took its time to develop these concepts in unique, often innovative ways, Marvel Studios seems more interested in settling for a rather pedestrian good vs. evil adventure here - which would be perfectly fine, if it was executed with a little panache.

Unfortunately, things take a turn for the mediocre when Spector arrives in Egypt, with the more engrossing aspects of the story sidelined in favour of a The Mummy-like romp which is only sporadically amusing and rarely tense or exciting. The few action sequences we get are perfunctory, and one big set-piece in episode 3 with its goofy zoom-shots and bizarre cutaways (is Spector hiding a teleportation power we weren't aware of?) is borderline inept (seriously, you'll think you wandered into an Arrowverse show).

The performances are the saving grace. Isaac does a fine job playing both personas (even if Grant does seem to channel Frank Spencer at times), and Calamawy does her best with a slightly underwritten love-interest/sidekick role. Hawke is as magnetic as ever, though his initially intriguing antagonist does descend into more run-of-the-mill villainy as the show progresses.

Khonshu (voiced by the legendary F. Murray Abraham) is actually a highlight. The bird-skulled CGI creation only shows up occasionally, but his indifference to Spector (and outright contempt for Grant) makes for a refreshing dynamic.

Without delving too close to spoiler territory, episode 4 does make a brave narrative decision that manages to recapture some of the outlandish allure of the first instalment, and sets the stage for a (potentially) absorbing finale.

The first four episodes of Moon Knight are a mixed bag. Flashes of brilliance offer a glimpse of the more introspective, imaginative show we were promised, and the finale has the opportunity to deliver. As it stands, though, Marvel Studios' latest Disney+ outing is also its most disappointing.

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