Moon Knight is the newest Marvel series to hit Disney+ but there’s not much here in terms of Marc Spector’s Jewish origins in the comics.
Press were given the first four episodes to screen in advance. To date, this is the most for any Marvel series ahead of its premiere. That the series launches after their licensed Netflix series came back home means that this is also the most mature to date. I should note that the fourth episode sent is also a work in progress and not final.
I want to get one thing out of the way first and foremost. In the comics, Marc Spector (Oscar Isaac) is the son of an Orthodox rabbi. Even though he’s a mercenary, he is still Jewish. However, Moon Knight focuses more on the Steven Grant persona. Unlike the comics where Grant is a billionaire businessman, he’s just a museum gift shop employee in the series. However, his flat, allegedly own by his mother, does feature a mezuzah on the door. Because of Spector being Jewish and earlier comments that the series would focus on Grant, I went into the series with some concern. Through the first four episodes, the only thing depicting any kind of Jewishness is the mezuzah on the door. That’s it.
(EDIT: I apologize for missing a Magen David necklace. In fairness, when you’re watching a screener with a watermark, it’s very easy to miss these things. It happens late in the second episode just before the credits. I had to rewind to a different angle just to make sure but it’s there.)
Steven Grant suffers from blackouts and it isn’t until he wakes up during an encounter with Arthur Harrow’s (Ethan Hawke) entourage in which he realizes he shares a body with Marc Spector. Grant freaks out when he learns the body is also the avatar for Khonshu, the Egyptian god of the moon and vengeance. The two personalities couldn’t be more different from each other. Spector could get them out of a situation rather quickly whereas Grant would prefer to just run away from it.
Perhaps one surprising feature of the series is that we also do not see anything else with regards to Spector’s origin, which is surprising. Given that this guy is new to the MCU, we’re coming in at some point deep into his story. It’s a far cry from any of the other films or series. I’m curious why we’re coming into this thing at full-speed rather than really begin to know the background of the MCU version. Obviously, the movies and series certainly stray a bit from their comic book counterparts so I’m curious why there’s nothing of how he got to be in this position. It isn’t enough to just get bits and pieces here and there. Honestly, I reserve the right to change my mind after the final episodes air but we should know these things in the first episode!
Moon Knight is among the most complex characters to date. I understand that people are worried about how the series will approach mental health given the Dissociative Identity Disorder. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure about how DID works. The way that the series approaches DID is by having Steven Grant and Marc Spector talk by way of mirrors and other reflective surfaces. Is this the way it works in real life? I honestly cannot tell you. I mean, there are times when I find myself wondering what is real and what is not. Note that Dr. Paul Puri, a board-certified psychiatrist and UCLA professor, serves as a consultant on Moon Knight.
In as much as the series is about mental health, they’ve done their research on Egypt. These are the biggest aspects of the show. There’s a supernatural aspect to the series so if that’s not your thing, consider this a heads up. Perhaps this is why they chose to change Grant’s background from the comics. After all, we’re watching the show through his gaze and maybe people don’t want to watch another billionaire hero. Following the fourth episode, I’m curious to see how things get resolved in the last two episodes.
Moon Knight is a type of character we’ve never seen on screen in the MCU and aside from the Netflix series, it’s Marvel’s darkest MCU show to date.
DIRECTORS: Mohamed Diab; Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead
HEAD WRITER: Jeremy Slater
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Grant Curtis, Brad Winderbaum, Oscar Isaac, Mohamed Diab, Jeremy Slater
CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Trevor Waterson, Rebecca Kirsch
CAST: Oscar Isaac, May Calamawy, and Ethan Hawke
Disney+ launches Moon Knight on March 30, 2022. Grade: 3.5/5
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