BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME
FB@ The Comic Blog
Moon Knight’s first episode, “The Goldfish Problem,” is getting considerable flack online. Considering the PG constraints imposed on an R-rated character, the show’s premiere deserves more credit than it’s getting.
Anyone who has read a Moon Knight comic in the past 20 years knows how violent and bloody (not to mention irreverent) the character can be. Minus the comedy, it’s the same appeal as the Punisher, and we saw how fans swooned over his debut in Netflix’s second season of Daredevil. When Marvel first announced the Moon Knight show was on the way, many fans crossed their fingers it would get the mature, brutal treatment it deserved. Then the reality of Marvel being part of the Disney brand set in, and we all knew this would be a family-friendly action-comedy.
That has drawn the ire of the vocal online community. While I would much prefer a Netflix or HBO Max-style Moon Knight far away from Disney, the initial foray into the world of Khonshu’s personal superhero is still enjoyable.
To dial down the maturity, the filmmakers use Steven Grant/Marc Spector’s shifting perspective. Whenever Marc is in control, Steven loses consciousness. It adds a layer of mystery to the show, but it also serves to sensor the more violent moments. While we miss out on some of the best moments in an action movie, it is understandable why director Mohamed Diab took that route. The alternative would have been more unrealistic cartoon violence like we saw in Hawkeye.
WEREWOLF BY MOON KNIGHT
Comic fans are well aware that Moon Knight made his debut in Werewolf By Night #32. Fittingly, the first episode of Moon Knight had the feel of a classic werewolf movie in many regards.
The typical formula for a werewolf movie centers on the protagonist’s struggle to control his savage, violent nature. Most times, the character isn’t aware of what’s happening, at least not at first. The person will be found in a state of confusion, usually waking from a deep sleep only to realize he is far from home, normally covered in blood. As an audience, we know what’s happening, but it’s fun to watch those movie characters come to the conclusion that they are monsters. That is the basic structure at work in Moon Knight.
When it comes to storytelling, it’s always fun to present the dichotomy of polar opposites. It lends to the perception that although they share the same body, these are two different characters. There’s Steven, the bumbling idiot with a spine of jelly, transposed against Marc, the deadly take-no-prisoners mercenary.
ALL IN ALL, NOT BAD, BUT NOT GREAT
Taking everything into consideration, Moon Knight’s first episode was entertaining albeit nothing we haven’t seen before. In the end, it is still a Disney production, so we can’t expect any gory Peacemaker moments. After all, they’re still looking to sell toys and t-shirts to toddlers despite this being a character that was never intended for younger audiences.
It’s much too early to judge where Moon Knight ranks among Marvel’s streaming shows, but its first episode was better than either WandaVision or Hawkeye’s premieres.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.