After finishing Moon Knight Season 1, I can safely say that Marvel’s new direction is a success. The series deviated from Marvel’s normal formula of action and opted for a much slower pace, and even changed several plot elements from the original comics.
The result is a deeply engaging setting and story, that has ensured the franchise’s success for many moons to come. With the addition of electrifying action scenes, Marvel has offered a show that is the complete package. Also, very minor visual spoilers ahead.
In a previous review, I had praised Moon Knight for its high quality CGI and composition when it came to certain scenes. I am glad to state that this did not change and show maintained its standards throughout the whole season.
I often found myself staring at awe with the use of lighting and imagery throughout the series. The usage of the moon during the rooftop chase scene in episode 2 and Duat’s sombre colour scheme in episode 5 are some of my favourites. Furthermore, the rich Egyptian symbolism and iconology fully transports you to a fantasy that is within reality.
In previous Marvel movies and shows, backdrops do not get enough attention. Both Endgame and Eternals for example, are guilty of creating desolate empty spaces during their climactic final battles. I appreciate Jeremy Slater‘s and Mohamed Diab‘s attention to detail, as Moon Knight genuinely creates art with its set design.
Speaking of fights, the choreography cannot be ignored. The season had a total of 2 proper full fight scenes, filled with long sweeping shots, slow motion and a mixture of acrobatic and martial fighting styles.
Moon Knight is predominantly a martial art hero and I have to say, the stunt team have perfectly captured that. Yes fancy twirls and spins exist, but Moon Knight still prefers to use quick straight jabs, with arm bars and throws to efficiently take down hostiles.
He even remembers that legs exist, often delivering side kicks or removing his assailant’s privilege to walk with said kicks. It is a welcome breath of fresh air from the constant wild swinging of Captain America.
Music and Sound Design
The score for Moon Knight is cinematic and culturally varied to the point that you will be fully immersed in every scene. During major set-pieces especially, there is a fusion of orchestral symphonies interlaced with Arabic instrumentation and vocals which really reflect the exotic setting.
It effectively conveyed the atmosphere, successfully evoking a sense of wanderlust in the viewer. The swelling of trumpets indicates the scene’s large scale whilst the traditional singing pays homage to the locale, reminding you where you are.
Meanwhile, the sound design is rich and crisp, ensuring each scene is impactful. Some examples are the ringing of Moon Knight’s blades, the visceral punches and notably, the way the music clips when a body swap happens.
The choices that the team have made are deliberate. Moon Knight does not neglect the audio aspect and as a result creates a viewing experience that stimulates all senses. I rarely felt any “down time” whilst watching the show, as even during slower scenes it built tension through its ambience and music.
Plot and Writing
Moon Knight’s plot was a veritable buffet, filled with plentiful intrigue, action, comedy and emotional drama. The plot primarily revolves around the mystery of Steven’s personalities, Khonshu and the Cult of Ammit. However, it was also a character drama, focusing on the relationship between Steven, Marc and Layla.
It was not afraid to tackle heavy themes like abuse and mental health. Through imagery, the series allowed the viewer to personally see Steven’s inner turmoil. The show also drew deep inspiration and connection to Egyptian mythology and culture, with plot elements being heavily reliant on gods, religion and ancient artifacts.
It added more weight and scale to the world, which in turn gave more depth for the viewer to explore.
All of this was possible through the significant changes the writers made to the story. No longer is Moon Knight the billionaire by day, vigilante by night nor is he just man with mere alter egos. Steven Grant is a human being, with a troubled past and mind; he has genuine struggles he must overcome.
Oscar Isaac portrays this perfectly, as he seamlessly switches his physicality and voices between his guarded and jittery Steven, and his focused yet brooding Marc.
Moreover, May Calamawy’s delivery and characterisation of Layla El-Faouly shows frustration and care, without the sense of entitlement. Displays of overt anger show elements of restraint, as all characters are aware more is at stake than their relationship. May captured Layla’s tenacity and intuition wonderfully.
Last but not least, Ethan Hawke’s Harrow had an immense presence on screen and successfully unsettled viewers the minute he appeared. I spoke previously about his soft, yet stern intimidation but recent episodes depict a quiet yet frantic religious fervour within.
Subtle jitters and shaky breath betray his composure as we the viewers observe his descent into evil.
Much like Steven Grant Of The Gift Shop, Moon Knight is filled so many elements it rides on the brink of insanity. Yet, much like Mr Grant, it somehow not only works, but it kicks ass! I highly recommend you watch this show even if you aren’t a Marvel fan.
Our team also really seemed to have high praise for the show. Check below for Alan, Jez and Tom’s reaction to the series finale to hear their thoughts!
Did you enjoy the show? Maybe you disagree with what I said! Whatever it is, go wild with your thoughts down the comment box! Also, don’t forget to join our Discord and discuss all things gaming and entertainment with the All Maverick team and community!