‘Moon Knight’: Oscar Isaac has fun waking up to the superhero inside him

Like its hero, the entertaining Disney+ series shifts between identities, from dark and heavy to pure pop silliness.

SHARE ‘Moon Knight’: Oscar Isaac has fun waking up to the superhero inside him

On “Moon Knight,” the intimidating title character is one of several identities played by Oscar Isaac.


The online site Ranker recently ran a list of the 100 most popular superheroes and villains in comic books, with Batman topping the list and other iconic characters such as Superman, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Captain America and Iron Man in the Top 10. But when we get to the likes of Martian Manhunter, Sunspot, Jubilee and Juggernaut, well, there are only so many hours in one’s life, and I’ll freely admit I know little or nothing about some of those latter figures. (Please don’t throw things at me at the next Something-Con if we cross paths.)

So it goes with Moon Knight, who made his Marvel Comics debut nearly 40 years ago and has appeared in animated series and video games but is just now getting the full MCU treatment in the Disney+ series of the same name. (This is the first live-action Marvel series that’s a pure origins story and isn’t spinning off characters we’ve already seen in the franchise, e.g., “Wandavision” and “Hawkeye.”)

I knew little more than the basic bio of this complex and intriguing superhero who has dissociative identity disorder, but with the chameleon-great Oscar Isaac taking on the multiple-personality role and having great fun with the comedic everyman setup, and the equally versatile Ethan Hawke along for the ride as a cult-like villain who thinks HE’S the real hero (as do most super-villains), this is an entertaining sliver of the MCU that plays like “Minority Report” meets “National Treasure” meets “Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde” meets “Split” meets “Venom.” (That’s a lot of meeting.)

‘Moon Knight’


First episode available now on Disney+, with another episode premiering each Wednesday through May 4.

With Bob Dylan’s “Every Grain of Sand” on the soundtrack, we meet one Steven Grant (Isaac), a mild-mannered, socially awkward, Egyptian history buff who works in the gift shop of a London museum, has only a one-finned fish for a companion and oh yeah — every night he bolts the door to his apartment and chains himself to his bed, because he has this habit of sleepwalking and wandering everywhere.

Not that the rituals can spare Steven from one day waking up in a glen in the Swiss Alps and then wandering into a village where Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) has a charismatic hold on the townsfolk and serves as judge and jury — not for crimes committed, but for misdeeds in one’s future. That’s because Arthur is an acolyte of the vengeful god Ammit, whereas Steven, we learn, is connected to the deity known as Khonshu (voiced by F. Murray Abraham), but wait, there’s more!


Steven (Oscar Isaac) wanders into another world where there’s a different version of himself in the mirror.


As Steven fumbles about while speaking in an exaggerated Cockney accent, he starts seeing a different version of himself: one Marc Spector, a dashing and lethal American mercenary who keeps telling Steven he’s not even supposed to know about this dangerous and mystical other world and he should just go to sleep and let Marc — and Marc’s white-clad alter ego, the intimidating and nearly immortal Moon Knight — take over. Further clouding Steven’s head is the appearance of May Calamawy’s Layla, who doesn’t understand why Marc is calling himself Steven and using that stupid British accent.

There’s a LOT going on here, people!


Bad guy Arthur (Ethan Hawke) is convinced he’s the hero.


At times “Moon Knight” leans into the absurdist, light comedic aspects of the story; any time a TV series trots out Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” we know the material isn’t afraid of severe tonal shifts, from dark and heavy to pure pop silliness. We also have the classic MacGuffin in the magic gold scarab Steven keeps in his possession, which leads to the immortal line: “Steven Grant of the Gift Shop, give me the scarab and you won’t be torn apart.” On other occasions, the violence is real and visceral; you really don’t want to get on Moon Knight’s bad side. As directed by Mohamed Diab and the duo of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, “Moon Knight” is a cinematic, globe-trotting, mind-bending and worthwhile addition to the ever-expanding Marvel universe.

The Latest
The second-year forward knows there’s a youth movement underway. Now that he’s healthy, he’s looking to see what part he’ll play in it.
The Illinois Republican has a lot going on at the convention because he wears a lot of hats. He’s a vice chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee — a House GOP political organization — and a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee and the Intelligence Committee.
If the Cubs were good enough to go to Baltimore and sweep a three-game series against the playoff-bound Orioles, it’s too soon to dismiss them.
The Sun-Times’ annual season-opening test of fans’ optimism/pessimism is a little skewed this year. With Caleb Williams, DJ Moore, Keenan Allen & Co. and a defense on the rise, Bears fans have every right to feel good about this team. What can go wrong?
The rookie quarterback has a lot of receiving talent around him.