Moon Knight preview: Oscar Isaac shines, Ethan Hawke most complex villain since Thanos

We've seen episodes one and two of Marvel's Moon Knight on Disney Plus, here's what we thought

Moon Knight / Ethan Hawke as Arthur Harrow
(Image credit: Disney Plus)

Since the first trailer for Moon Knight premiered, it was fair to assume that it would be another Disney Plus MCU series that follow the same beats as Hawkeye, WandaVision, Like etcetera. There's a hero, a villain and the chance for some familiar faces to show up. From watching the first two episodes of Moon Knight, that appears to not ring true.

Warning: minor spoilers for episodes one and two of Moon Knight 

While yes, there is a hero in Oscar Isaac's Marc Spector and a villain in Ethan Hawke's Arthur Harrow, the relationship between both leads feels unlike anything we've seen in the Marvel universe prior. That's largely down to the performance of Hawke, creating something interesting and complex. A philosophy you can understand, even if you don't agree with it. The last time this occurred was courtesy of the Mad Titan Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame – arguably the best antagonist in the MCU's 14-year history. 

Harrow is a religious cult leader, one that Hawke said is inspired by David Koresh. He is mild-mannered, has a foreboding presence on and off-screen and when he speaks – you listen. You feel his eyes on Spector at all times. Every move made is one calculated. Just like Thanos, Harrow is fascinated by balance, sporting a scales tattoo that decides the fate of those devoted to his cause. This is the exact opposite of our protagonist.  

Oscar Isaac is no stranger to Disney. After all, the Guatemalan-born actor is perhaps best known for his role as Poe Dameron in the Star Wars sequels. He's no stranger to superhero films either, playing the titular villain in X-Men: Apocalypse. Back under the house of the mouse, Moon Knight is a different beast altogether. This is a superhero often compared as Marvel's answer to Batman. A tortured soul, once mercenary dealing with dissociative identity disorder (multiple personalities).  

Within the opening five minutes, we meet Stephen Grant, a gift shop worker with a dodgy British accent. This isn't the rich playboy from the comics. Grant bumbles through life, struggling to stay awake throughout the day due to the constant night-terrors that see him transform into a vigilante – oh, and it's a damn satisfying entrance when he does finally suit up. The costume is used sparingly to great effect. 

The very first action sequence has the character driving an ice cream truck while being chased by Harrow's followers in dramatic style, as he suddenly switches (and by switches I mean passing out) between Grant and the enigma that is Marc Spector / Moon Knight. Aside from some poor CGI for the scenery, the action packs great adrenaline. Will it be Marvel's most violent series to date as many comic readers would hope? Hard to say at this point. There wasn't anything particularly startling in the first two episodes like the bloody shield in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, for example

Oscar Issac as Marc Spector

(Image credit: Disney Plus)

"There's chaos in you," Harrow tells Spector. It's a role that Isaac definitely looks to be enjoying, equally one fans will enjoy seeing him in. Shifting between the scapegoat that is Stephen Grant and the suave Marc Spector is exactly the sort of range any actor would dream of. Isaac meets what is expected of him, sharing brief but impactful scenes with Layla (played by newcomer May Calamawy), a love interest from his past. Hopefully, we see more of these two sharing the screen.

The biggest issue with Moon Knight is Marvel's insistence to interject comedy into scenes and scenarios that don't warrant them, like the lift scene from the trailer that sees Marc search for a dropped contact lens. It feels out of place. Moon Knight doesn't need humour. We have Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, the list goes on and on for superheroes that could drop a punchline at any moment's notice. 

Moon Knight isn't one of them and shouldn't try to be. If the series leans more into the brutality of the source material while continuing down the intriguing narrative that has been set up for Harrow, Moon Knight has the potential to be the best Disney Plus series yet. 

Moon Knight is set to premiere on March 30th, 2022 across Disney Plus with six episodes in total set to roll out over the following weeks. 

Keeping with the MCU and the next big Marvel project for Disney Plus is going back to space, according to a new report. Meanwhile, if you're looking for the top new shows to watch on Disney Plus, check out T3's top picks for the month.  

Matthew Forde
Matthew Forde

Matthew is the Staff Writer for T3, covering news and keeping up with everything games, entertainment, and all manner of tech. You can find his work across numerous sites across the web, including TechRadar, IGN, Tom's Guide, Fandom, NME, and more. In his spare time, Matthew is an avid cinema-goer, keen runner and average golfer (at best). You can follow him @MattForde64