‘Moon Knight’ Takes Risks with The MCU Formula

The newest series from Marvel Studios shows a supernatural and gritty take on the cinematic universe



The “Moon Knight” story did not disappoint, dealing with themes of trauma and mental health.


Warning: Major spoilers for “Moon Knight”

I have always wanted Moon Knight to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). When I was little, I remember reading about the character in comics and buying an action figure of him. He was always such an interesting character to me because of his stories focusing on facing the supernatural and mental health issues, and I always wondered how he would fit into the franchise. Luckily in 2022, my hopes became a reality, and Marvel Studios created Disney+ original series for the character.  

Prior to its release, I was worried that the show would be affected by Disney’s content rating regulations. In the comics, Moon Knight is known to deal with mature themes such as trauma and extreme violence, so it was concerning when the show’s rating was TV-14. However, that worry was soon removed, and the series exceeded my expectations. 

Identity Crisis  

In the first two episodes, Steven Grant, played by Oscar Isaac, discovers he has dissociative identity disorder (DID), as well as that he is in danger from a cult leader and supernatural creatures. Steven also learns that his main identity, Marc Spector, gained powers from an Egyptian moon god named Khonshu, making him the Moon Knight. 

The series makes it clear to viewers from the start that it deals with more adult content than Disney+ users may be used to. The action sequences are more brutal, showing broken limbs and gory death scenes. The language is also more explicit, with Marc subtly dropping an F-bomb in the second episode, which is uncommon for Marvel.

The acting is stellar throughout the first two episodes, as Isaac proves early on that he is a welcome addition to the franchise. Ethan Hawke, who plays the villain Arthur Harrow, is extremely menacing and manipulative throughout the six episodes. May Calamawy is an amazing and inspirational actress in her portrayal of Layla El-Faouly.

The tease of Marc’s third identity, Jake Lockley, was jarring, as his scenes were always graphic and implied that he has a ruthless personality.

Unlike many MCU shows such as “WandaVision” (2021) and “Hawkeye” (2021), the first episode immediately grabs the attention of the viewer, leaving a mystery to be solved by the end of the season. 

Moon and Stars  

The mid-season episodes of the series are the more action-packed episodes. If viewers were worried that Marc and Steven’s aliases were not getting enough attention, these episodes address that concern. The setting change from London to Egypt was refreshing and provided plenty of information about Egyptian culture and history. Similar to the risks of using more violence and explicit language in the first two episodes, the narrative and action take risks as viewers see a more brutal side of the character. 

In the third episode, the action sequence at the end of the episode is violent, as Marc and Steven are constantly impaled by Anton Mogart, played by the late Gaspard Ulliel, and his guards. The tease of Marc’s third identity, Jake Lockley, was jarring, as his scenes were always graphic and implied that he has a ruthless personality.  

The elements of horror in the fourth episode were particularly surprising, as the MCU had not really explored this genre in the franchise until now. The twist at the end of the fourth episode definitely catch the viewer’s attention, as it shows Marc waking up in a mental hospital and learning that Moon Knight is not real. However, the decision to keep the viewer from questioning Marc’s point of view slightly decreased my interest in the show’s plot. 


The last two episodes of the season concluded the arc of Moon Knight very well. In the fifth episode, as Marc is sent to the Field of Reeds after being killed by Harrow and is forced to relive his past, revealing how Marc became Moon Knight and making it the highlight of the series for me thus far. The revelation that Steven was created by Marc to deal with the trauma from his abusive childhood was very emotional and makes the viewer more sympathetic to the character. What made this episode more intriguing was that it was a character driven arc and revealed many secrets about Marc Spector that were teased throughout the series. 

As rumors bubble of Moon Knight teaming up with Blade and Daredevil, I am eager to see more of the fresh perspective he brings to the MCU.

The finale of the season completed Marc Spector’s arc, despite its short runtime. I was worried that the season finale would be disappointing like many MCU show finales, but this series avoided that issue. 

At the end of the season, the action sequences were phenomenal, as they showed Marc/Steven and Layla fighting together to stop Harrow. Layla becoming the Avatar of Taweret, an Egyptian goddess, was fantastic to see, and I hope she appears in future MCU projects. The season ending with Marc and Steven being content with each other completes their arc and leaves more opportunities for a second season. 

Final Thoughts  

Moon Knight is another MCU series on Disney+ that had a stellar season. The pacing for each episode was often consistent and felt important toward Marc’s journey as the titular superhero. Director Mohamed Diab, creator Jeremy Slater and producer Kevin Feige do an excellent job bringing this character to live action, and I hope there are more adventures for him in the future. 

The series also being standalone from other MCU projects allowed the plot to have more creative freedom, which I truly appreciated. As rumors bubble of Moon Knight teaming up with Blade and Daredevil, I am eager to see more of the fresh perspective he brings to the MCU.