Moon Knight Episode 1 is now available on the Disney+ streaming platform and we at All Maverick were incredibly impressed. The episode introduces the main character Steven Grant and the world he resides in, doing an excellent job of portraying both the setting’s mundane and mystical elements.
Here, we give a summary of what this episode did and did not do well, so that you can decide if you want to give the show a try.
The protagonist of Moon Knight, Steven Grant played by Oscar Isaac
To begin, the budget of the show is decent. The CGI used in the episode was generally well shaded, with textures and models having high detail and fidelity. At no point did I personally experience any break of immersion.
This is because the show uses CGI very sparingly, notably during specific moments with the occult, ensuring any figures are obscured by shadow, lighting and perspective.
As a result, creatures maintain this level of subterfuge, which in turn invoke this fear of the unknown; you’re more afraid of what you can’t see. Furthermore, it avoids any awkwardness with cartoony models that often comes with a TV series.
On the topic of the lighting and composition, the show uses these aspects and more to great effect! During more tense moments in the episode, slow camera zooms, dim lighting and eerie ambience deliver a foreboding atmosphere.
At times it felt like I was watching a horror movie with how helpless it made you feel through Steven’s perspective. The show takes its time with plenty establishing shots and angles, allowing you time to really take in the surroundings and contemplate the danger that lurks.
Oscar Isaac’s depiction of Steven and his frantic emotions certainly help push forward this idea of helplessness. Being a somewhat awkward, bumbling yet kind individual, you can’t help but feel sorry for Steven.
His expressions wildly fluctuate but aren’t too over-exaggerated (mostly). Furthermore in more serious and calm moments, Steven’s actor is capable of putting on a convincing performance. Overall, I was satisfied with Oscar’s range of emotions and physicality.
In addition, Steven’s character being written in this way actually alleviates a common complaint about Marvel’s writing; out of place humour. For example, when Marvel heroes make light hearted jokes in the midst of combat despite being in high stake situations.
Here, the comedy comes not from campy quips but the absurdity of the situation as Steven poorly tries to understand what has befallen him. The key is that a lot of what Steven does is somewhat reasonable, as someone who we know is prone to panic, his impulsive yet odd actions make some sense.
Meanwhile, the villain of the show is portrayed as a saviour who treads the line between good and evil. The soft spoken demeanour of the antagonist conceals his dark intentions and far-reaching influence. Rather than giving him powers of destruction, the writers chose to give them the unseen power of charisma.
With this in mind, its clear that the show wishes to put more emphasis on the intrigue on the world rather than pure action.
This is where potential problems lie. The episode’s pace is rather slow, though the choice seems intentional. That said, those expecting an action packed romp will be disappointed.
In fact all combat happens off screen, which is somewhat disappointing when there wasn’t even a short fight scene as a pay-off at the end. The episode instead spends its duration describing the average nature of Steven’s life, whilst highlighting the story’s connection to Egyptian mythos and the group of interest that threatens our protagonist.
That does not mean I was bored however, as the semi-horror elements and the mystery did engage me. Small details were gradually built upon each other, allowing the viewer to come to their own conclusions; the story so far is quite subtle.
But not everybody is looking for that, especially in a Marvel movie necessarily. Personally, I believe that the way they had paced the episode has left me wanting to know more. But if you find your thrill from the spark of gunpowder, rather from ominous whispers of the unknown, maybe wait for a second episode to come out to ease the dissatisfaction.
Overall Moon Knight’s first episode was enjoyable, just not for the reason I was expecting. I went in looking for a high octane action series and instead got a supernatural mystery that genuinely had me bracing myself.
Moreover, other members of our team also seemed to share my enjoyment of the episode! To see their thoughts, check out their Live Reaction to the episode here!
What do you think of the first episode? Do you like the direction the show is going? Was this what you expected? Go wild with your thoughts in the comment box!
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