Directed by: Mohamed Diab, Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson
Starring: Oscar Isaac, Ethan Hawke, May Calamawy, F. Murray Abraham
***SPOILER FREE REVIEW***
Marvel's Moon Knight episode 6 lands a bit shakily but ultimately caps off a series that is both beautifully human and impeccably tragic. “Gods and Monsters” has the lofty responsibility of resolving a multitude of story threads in an unbelievably short time and does so with unabashed empathy and imagination. Though the pacing of this episode led to some uneven moments, the finale of Moon Knight is a solid bookend to this back-alley MCU experiment of a series.
Marc and Steven's journey together bears fruit in this episode, as we've watched them unravel the layers of trauma that served to bind them. This episode lets us see these characters as a cohesive whole, an interesting as well as heartwarming sight, given the tribulations we saw these heroes overcome together. Oscar Isaac gives his best performance of the series in this episode, effortlessly switching between Marc and Steven without satirizing the actual medical condition. From bodily tics to vocal range, Isaac gives his all here and it shows.
Ethan Hawke's Harrow is given a bit more range in this episode. His calm demeanor and usual passivity make him seem in control of every situation he's in. This episode affords a glimpse beneath that veneer. Harrow was once Khonshu's avatar and, if Marc is anything to go by, Moon Knight isn't exactly a stable position. I do wish more time had been devoted to Harrow. His backstory seems so rich, yet we barely get a glimpse of who he is before we are dropped into the story. Moon Knight's finale does what it can to hint at the villain's more violent past but never quite gets to the Tootsie Roll center of the Tootsie Pop.
The final episode dives into the symmetry of our hero and villain, a character foil that constantly kept the show so movingly human. Both individuals have sinful pasts that were appropriated by Khonshu and used to manipulate them into performing "righteously" violent acts. Both men are desperate for purpose. Both are avatars, but broken, accustomed to being used as toys rather than voices. I do wish this could've been explored more in connection to their brokenness and the power of belief.
I'm baffled that Marvel's Moon Knight isn't (allegedly) getting a second season. I have no doubt we will see more of the Moonlight Marauder in the MCU's future, but the time spent until then will be marred with sadness. Moon Knight indicates an expansion of the MCU to include more diverse representation in creative storytelling; however, I wish Marvel had initially been more confident in their show and produced more episodes. Regardless, this series has my full recommendation and can be streamed IN FULL on Disney+!
RECOMMENDED READING list! You can find these at your LOCAL COMIC BOOK SHOP, maybe even your LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY, or even still online at Amazon.
By Doug Moench & Bill Sienkiewicz
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by Jeff Lemire & Greg Smallwood
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Austin Kemp read Batman #315 (Batman vs Kite Man) when he was 5 years old, and hasn't stopped reading comics since. Austin is a college writing teacher and has a masters degree in Comics Studies. Austin and his partner, Savanah, live in Massachusetts with their master, a cat named Chaplin.