Moon Knight – The Goldfish Problem review S1 E1

We’re in an exciting phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With an abundance of audience goodwill — that got another massive boost with Spider-Man: No Way Home — filmmakers and series heads have more opportunities to change the game.

In other words, it’s the perfect time for a series like Moon Knight. There is a freshness for the premiere episode that feels unlike anything we’ve seen out of the MCU before. That covers a lot of ground at this point, but Moon Knight at once feels like a classic throwback in the vein of Iron Man and Doctor Strange while also playing out like something completely different.

This first installment isn’t so much a standard TV episode, but an unpredictable wild experience. Oscar Isaac is Steven Grant, a somewhat eccentric nobody working in a museum gift shop. Steven is obsessed with Egyptian history and easily knows more than his easily annoyed supervisor.

Exceedingly pedestrian life aside, Steven keeps having very elaborate dreams that seem incredibly lifelike. In one of them, a strange cult priest-like figure named Arthur (Ethan Hawke, The Magnificent Seven) wants something in his possession.

In some scenarios, Steven blacks out only to find himself holding a smoking gun or on a high-speed chase on a winding road. Nothing makes sense until Steven wakes up to start a new day.

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Steven was already concerned about sleepwalking and takes excessive precautions to ensure he’s staying in bed. Still, there’s no reason to expect anything crazy. And then the bizarre happens and he finds himself not alone.

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It’s nice to see Isaac get a second chance to make his mark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His first was in the immensely forgettable Fox-era X-Men: Apocalypse. Moon Knight offers Isaac a meaty role to play out his considerable talents. With this performance in the first episode alone, it seems clear Isaac wants to make TV critics and award guilds take notice.

Marvel Studios continues to pair top tier talent with characters that are enhanced with their spin on them. Think Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Bree Larson as Captain Marvel or Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange. Isaac immediately seizes ownership of his character. He is Moon Knight and no amount of fan casting could top his take on this complex character.

Hawke asserts himself well as a calm, assured contrast to Isaac’s required all over the place performance.

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Director Mohamed Diab’s schedule should be picking up very soon. Diab shows a stunning ease in switching genres as needed for each scene. There’s a bit of slapstick, physical comedy; creepy fanatical tension; daring adventure and a compelling character study with no easy answers.

Hesham Nazih’s score is enthralling adding another layer to a fantastic presentation.

So far at least, Moon Knight is a fascinating enigma. The final scene clearly feels like a suggestion to let the weeks play out and just binge through it. Whichever route you take it’s unlikely that you’ll be disappointed.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Photo Credit: Disney

Want to learn more about Moon Knight? Check out the Epic Collection: Bad Moon Rising on Amazon.

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