MOON KNIGHT (Marvel Universe limited series)
"...often entertaining, exciting and delightfully imaginative"

Fans Will Get a Rise Out of Moon Knight

(060222) Moon Knight is a lively but uneven Marvel U miniseries with a complicated , challenging and some might say over complicated storyline. It also has some of the most surreal moments of any Marvel series, for instance the intro of a God who resembles a talking hippo who wears Egyptian jewelry.

Like the comics version, Moon Knight character is a troubled man of action who struggles with mental illness specifically: associative identity order, formerly called multiple personality disorder. In the comics, at first Marc Spector just assumed different identities (Stephen Grant and Jake Lockley) in order to solve crimes. But eventually the personalities became whole different characters with independent personalities and goals that were sometimes unaware of each other’s actions.

The film starts out with the different personas being already mostly separate and the Stephen Grant persona is usually dominant. The lead actor, Oscar Isaac even asked if they could shoot the Stephen and Marc scenes on different days so he could convincingly keep them divided in his own head. The Grant personality speaks with an English voice and Spector talks with a Chicago accent variant but neither is the actor’s real inner voice.

The great film maker Jean-Luc Godard once suggested that every story has to have a beginning, middle and the end, but not necessarily in that order. Some viewers might be disoriented at first because the series apparently starts off in the middle of a story. The series starts out with a very timid, low level museum employee, Stephen Grant having violent and disturbing dreams and he wakes up in weird places with huge chunks of his memory missing. Grant seems to know as much about history as an Egyptologist, but he knows much less about himself. He does not know he has several other personalities occupying his head including the aggressive and violent, Marc Spector.

In a flashback we see that the morally flawed mercenary named Spector was killed in Cairo. Before he finally could ascend (or descend) to the afterlife, the Egyptian God Khonshu (voiced by F. Murray Abraham-which really seems like quite a comedown from playing the villain in Amadeus) appears to him and gives him a unique proposal. He asks Spector in return for his resurrection, would he do Khonshu’s bidding and become his avatar? Spector says yes not totally understanding what the agreement entails.

“Khonshu” means traveler in Egyptian and before he resurrects Spector, he asks: “Do you swear to protect the travelers of the night and bring my vengeance to those that would do harm to them?” It is not completely certain if Khonshu is on the side of good or evil because he has a sinister looking appearance with a bird skull head and sometimes the relationship between the two seems like demonic possession (he is also morally ambiguous in the comics). It could also be that Khonshu, or maybe even Spector himself, could merely be the normally reserved and no reactive Grant’s id.

Grant is so oblivious to his life as Spector that he is completely unaware that Spector is married. He tries in vain to keep his soon to be ex wife out of his life and he fears that Khonshu is eyeing her to become his new avatar which would make her life a living hell (her eventual fate may surprise some viewers.) The wife character, Layla El Faolty (Mary Calamaway) is a fairly interesting character and I am sure she will appear again in the MCU.

Both in the comics and the film, Moon Knight has a Batman like costume and abilities that resemble the caped crusader, but he also gains some supernatural abilities when he channels Khonshu . The film managed to make him distinct from the Dark Knight, and unlike most Batman stories this is much more focused on  Egyptology, mythology and the supernatural. Despite the fact the film takes place mostly in Egypt, most of it was shot on Budapest which does not in any way detract from the film.

The villain, Arthur Harrow (well-played by Oscar Isaac ‘s real life neighbor, Ethan Hawke) is a former avatar of Khonshu who now serves another God named Ammit. Like the traditional Christian devil he tries to convert people to his cause by telling them part of the truth, only the part that serves his purposes.

Harrow has complicated motives and at times the audience might even be torn as to who they want to root for. He says: “I want to make the earth as much like heaven as possible.” He even creates a part way heaven on earth where everyone seems educated and kind and speaks several languages. Seems a lot more appealing than Chicago Ridge.

Unfortunately, he wants to accomplish this goal by resurrecting Ammit who plans on killing thousands of people that she thinks are destined to commit crimes before they even get a chance to take an evil path. Ammit and Khonshu have some similar goals but the main difference is she does not believe humans should have freedom of choice. All this raises some of the same troubling moral questions as Minority Report (the film) and Civil War II (the comic series). If you take out a person who is supposed to commit a crime before they do it are you truly punishing a criminal?

The film is rated TV-14 LV and although the film is violent for a Marvel movie, it is obvious that the makers made some concessions to avoid angering parents. One of the best scenes that was shot for the show (it's full version is available for viewing online) has Moon Knight is fighting a jackal monster but it was butchered down to only the start and ending. I feel that the studio should have gone all the way and made a R miniseries. This film is much darker and has more elements than any other Marvel project so far (except Dr. Strange: Multiverse of Madness and Morbius) and it may be impossible to adequately serve two masters and please both parents and supernatural/horror fans.

Towards the end Marc/Stephen ends up either in the land of the dead or a psych ward where Harrow is his doctor. Does the whole story take place in Khonshu's mind and is the Ethan Hawk psychiatrist the real good guy? It depends how you look at it. Maybe it is better that we do not know definitively.

The series is not without flaws. It is often messy, talky, and overly compressed plus the story is hard to follow at times and it could be a strain on the membrane if you don’t put in some mental effort (I also suggest you watch the doc about it on Disney Plus). But it has an interesting antihero protagonist plus a compelling quasi heroic villain and is often entertaining, exciting and delightfully imaginative. Spoiler Alert: I am still eagerly waiting for the Jack Russell werewolf to appear somewhere though.

Series Directed by:   Mohammed Diab, Justin Benson and Aaron
Series Written by:    Jeremy Slater, Peter Cameron, Alex Meenehan,
 Danielle Iman, and Sabir Pirzada
Starring:    Oscar Isaac, Ethan Hawke, May Calamawy
Released:    Released weekly from 033022 to 050422
Length:    Six episodes, approximately 45 minutes each
Rating:    TV-14 for language and violence
Available On:    Disney Plus

For more writings by Vittorio Carli go to and His latest book "Tape Worm Salad with Olive Oil for Extra Flavor" is also available.

MOON KNIGHT  © 2022 Walt Disney Productions
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Review © 2023 Alternate Reality, Inc.

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