The premiere episode of Moon Knight–the latest Marvel Studios TV event–definitely saved the best for last.
The question is: What comes next? And not just for beleaguered, tortured protagonist Steven Grant, but for the entire six-episode series.
Getting the bad news out of the way first, viewers should be prepared to be as confused as Grant for most of the first episode. And, given the enormous hype and avalanche of teasers dropped over the last few months, that’s not easy. Regardless, the crazy, mysterious and–at times–frightening events swirling around the hopelessly lost Grant are staggering.
That being said, if fans can hang in there while everything seems to be falling apart, they will be rewarded with arguably the best performance ever by star Oscar Isaac. Certainly better than his career-changing turn as Poe Dameron in the latest Star Wars trilogy.
Putting it simply, the man proves he can flat-out act. Viewers will empathize with the confusion and fear he feels as he finds himself having (literal) out-of-body experiences and being exposed to dangers real and supernatural.
This is not your typical super-hero (albeit a dark anti-hero) origin tale. No one is bitten by a radioactive (choose your favorite animal here) or arrives in a space ship from a doomed world. It’s a well-thought-out, well-written story of a normal man thrust into a horribly unnatural situation.
What viewers will learn (and there is so much more to learn) is that Grant–who suffers from sleep disorders and strange blackouts–somehow shares a body with a very dangerous man. A man–Marc Spector–who is somehow involved with mayhem, murder and ancient Egyptian gods and myths.
And, he also has somehow gained possession of an arcane (and obviously powerful) scarab. A trinket greatly desired by the show’s main villain, played with eerie glee by Ethan Hawke.
And that brings us to the satisfying conclusion of the premiere. The set-up is that Grant finds himself being pursued through a museum by a rather ill-tempered, destructive creature bent on his capture or, more likely, his death.
And that’s when he “meets” his dangerous alter-ego, Marc Spector. As his slightly-altered reflection in a bathroom mirror. Spooky, but very effective.
Before you can say Shazam, Grant surrenders to Spector’s influence, is clothed in the familiar garb of Moon Knight and proceeds to beat the snot out of the creature. Moon Knight then strides menacingly toward the camera. Cut to black and cue the next episode.
All in all, a pleasant change from the usual Marvel fare. Series creator and writer Jeremy Slater is going out on a limb here, but he seems to have a solid grasp of his source material.
Fans can only hope the series doesn’t wind up suffering the same identity crisis as its hero. Is it a dark super-hero story? A supernatural thriller? A horror story cloaked in a traditional good vs. evil struggle?
It has the potential to be so much more. Time will tell.