Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Why you need to be watching ‘Moon Knight’

A refreshing change of pace from Marvel’s typical formula
Photo Courtesy of the Official “Moon Knight” Facebook Page

If there’s one critique I have of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in recent years, it’s that it has a tendency to be a bit formulaic. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the Marvel Universe, but it can get a bit repetitive at times. The creation of Disney Plus led to a slight deviation from the usual, with shows such as “Wandavision” and “Loki,” but something about those shows still felt too familiar. Netflix’s Marvel shows delivered something new, but technically weren’t part of the larger universe until very recently. However, with their newest project, “Moon Knight,” Marvel delivers a much-needed breath of fresh air to MCU.

“Moon Knight” is the first MCU show to introduce an entirely new character, new world, new everything, without the support of a familiar favorite. The show follows Steven Grant, a gift shop worker in a museum with a knack for Egyptian history, as he struggles with a so-called sleeping disorder. As the mystery unravels, the audience discovers that Steven Grant has dissociative identity disorder, and possesses another personality, Marc Spector. Spector is currently a servant to the Egyptian moon god Khonshu, who gives him superpowers and allows him to act as Moon Knight. The conflict between Steven, Marc and Khonshu serves as a big point of tension in the show, as well as villain Arthur Harrow, who’s out to get Marc with the help of his cult followers. Together, all of these elements combine to create an entirely new narrative Marvel fans have never seen before.

While there are only two episodes out right now, “Moon Knight” is quickly shaping up to be my favorite Disney Plus show yet. Simply put, it’s something completely different. The show has adopted the Netflix Marvel storytelling strategy, choosing to be more character-focused as opposed to focusing on world-building. This is a big reason why shows like “Daredevil” and “The Punisher” have had such great success — they aren’t focused on setting up the next movie in the franchise, and instead dive into individual characters. With the main character of “Moon Knight” already being extremely complex with multiple personalities, this formula works wonders. “Moon Knight” doesn’t have any connection to the current MCU in the slightest, so the show is able to focus on the individual characters without having to worry about how it fits into the bigger picture. It’s a much-needed change of pace, especially for a brand-new character. It works beautifully.

Another big reason for the show’s success is Oscar Isaac, who plays Steven, Marc and any other alters that may show up. Isaac is an extremely talented actor, and his ability to play the various characters is what makes this show believable. He holds the show together with his ability to make all the characters extremely unique, as it makes Steven’s struggle with identity more believable. With a less skilled actor, the narrative would fall flat. Isaac’s ability to portray each character’s unique struggle is what makes the world believable.

There are a lot of other aspects that make this show one of Marvel’s best. The cinematography makes great use of mirrors to help portray the split personalities of our main character, as well as its utilization of lighting changes to show when the moon god is about to take over. It adds an extra level of artistry and aesthetic that the Marvel Universe often lacks.

In addition, “Moon Knight” relies heavily on Egyptian mythology and Arab culture. With an Egyptian director, the show is committed to honoring Egyptian and Arab culture, avoiding the typical tropes portrayed in regular media. The production team, cast and crew is full of people with Egyptian heritage, ensuring the show stays accurate to its roots. Disney has not been the best with representation in the past, but it seems it is starting to correct its mistakes.

If you aren’t watching “Moon Knight” yet, I highly encourage you to start. There’s only two episodes to catch up on, and the narrative is just beginning to unfold. With a whole new storytelling formula, a compelling main character played by an extremely talented actor, incredible cinematography and commitment to Egyptian culture, it’s slowly shaping up to be one of the best MCU projects yet.

New episodes drop every Wednesday on Disney Plus.

Shannon Moore can be reached at [email protected].

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