Moon Knight series: The start of the Midnight Sons?

When the Moon Knight series was first announced by Kevin Fiege in 2019, I bet even the most ardent MCU fan would have gone “What, who?”. Maybe that was just my reaction to it.

To put it simply, the series revolves around Marc Spector, a mercenary with Dissociative Identity Disorder (“DID”). Throw in the Ennead and other Egyptian Gods peppered with some Marvel-esque flavour to it and you get Moon Knight. A quick wikipedia search will list Steven Grant as one of the personalities of Marc Spector. Well….watch out for the post credit scene at the end for a sweet surprise.

The series is loosely based on the 2016 comic book series of Moon Knight, written by Lemire. A few scenes particularly the one in the mental institution and the “Duat” (realm of the dead based on ancient Egyptian mythology) do seem like inspirations taken right out of the 2016 series. One of the smartest moves by Marvel was the recasting of Marlene, Marc’s love interest in the comics to Layla El Faouly. It followed the same formula by Marvel to put their own twist to a comic book character. Although Taskmaster in Black Widow was a major let down in my opinion, this switch in particular, worked wonders.

The series starts off by being one of the best, if not THE best start to a Marvel series since Daredevil. It perfectly set up the episodes that follow. Whilst some episodes felt like slow burners, in entirety, the series ends up being one of the best in the Marvel library.

There were times as I watched the series, my mind did question what was real and what was not. I half expected the writers to conclude everything that happened as merely fantasies playing out in Marc’s mind. Kudos to the writers and the director, Mohamed Diab for staying true to the spirit of the comics and sticking the landing of the finale. This is exactly how one should feel when experiencing Moon Knight, whether be it through the comics or a live action series.

Strengths

The entire cast

The casting choices made by Marvel was a real win. I could not have imagined a better Marc Spector or Steven Grant than Oscar Isaac. He was the MVP of the series and his acting abilities throughout were on display. His portrayal of Steven Grant/Marc Spector in the penultimate episode was simply amazing and his transitions from one character to the next was unreal. You feel his pain and at some point you shed a tear or two. Special mention to Ethan Hawke and May El Calamawy as Arthur Harrow and Layla. Solid potrayals by both of them.

Action sequences

For an origin story, you have to expect less glitzy superhero stuff and more character building. Thank god you get that with the series however whenever action set pieces were involved, it was well thought out and intentional. Look out for the car chase scene in the first episode and the last 15 minutes of the finale. These sequences are what you call peak Marvel.

Music Composer

The music composer for this, Hesham Nazih may be less known to the masses, even I’ve not heard of him but from what I read, he is quite a prominent Egyptian composer. His rendition of the Moon Knight theme music was intense and appropriate for such a disturbed character.

A good background score is always one that you can and will always remember (cue the Avengers theme). This certainly delivers in that respect.

Weaknesses

Comic accuracy

I was hoping for certain characters like Crawley, DuChamp and Bushman to get more prominence in the series. Apart from a couple of scenes or occasional mentions, these characters were pretty much non-existent.

I understand that certain creative liberties may have been taken by Marvel when depicting the Ennead and it’s composition but as someone that read part of the comics or at least with some knowledge of the Ennead, I was hoping that they would bring in Anubis or Ra into the fold. Having said that, I would like to think that Marvel has some plans to introduce them in later seasons, if any.

Jake Lockley’s appearance

Again, as I’m familiar with the comics, I wished that Jake was featured more prominently. He is one of the 3 personalities of Marc and it would have been such a joy watching Oscar Isaac kill it with his take on this character. You get the sense that Jake was responsible for many fatalities and intense fight sequences in the series but it seems like the writers made a conscious choice to focus entirely on Steven Grant and Marc Spector. I guess it was designed in such a way that the pay-off for the viewer would come in the post credit scene.

Verdict

As the series came to an epic conclusion yesterday, I do wonder if true to word, Marvel would treat the series as a standalone, separate from the MCU timeline. Well, the geek in me hopes that at some point they would take the opportunity to introduce the Midnight Sons with Blade, Daredevil and Ghost Rider.

Regardless of that though, this was by far the best introduction to a character. It delivers on intensity, it’s emotionally driven and has all the ingredients of a typical Marvel show.

Mr Knight deserves a 2nd season.

4.5/5 stars