Moon Knight Episode Three – The Friendly Type

Moon Knight episode three loses steam, my attention and hope of salvation.

Moon Knight episode three doubles down on the complicated plot its previous two episodes have introduced as I hope the final three episodes aren’t an effort to get through.

Lead Oscar Isaac is now Marc Spector, the American vigilante with an estranged wife previously trapped within Steven’s British alter-ego.

Performing Khonsu’s bidding as his human avatar, Marc is tasked with stopping Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) from using a golden scarab artefact to resurrect a once exiled god, with episode 3 predominately set in modern-day Egypt acting as an oppurtunity for Disney to flex their infinite budget.

However, despite the grandeur of the set pieces, and the small nuggets of entertaining ideas and concepts, the halfway mark episode feels under-realised.

Instead, we have unconnected locations, and introductions of a Hugh Hefner inspired art collector, Anton Mogart (the late Gaspard Ulliel) who feels like yet another antagonist audiences won’t care for.

I am yet to understand, using proper cinematic storytelling devices, such as the common ‘Show Don’t Tell’, why certain characters are behaving a certain way opting to verbalise their grievances rather than show the audience.

For instance, Harrow has expressed disdain to Khonsu for his treatment after once being his avatar, but aside from the odd line of dialogue every ten minutes to remind audiences of his vendetta we’re yet to see proof of how he was treated, what was done, or why Harrow is now in a certain mind frame.

Khonsu, God of the Moon, voiced by F. Murray Abraham. Picture by Disney.

I appreciate though that due to the pandemic productions of all scales have had to readjust their filming timelines, perhaps to the detriment of certain other departments, and I can only assume therefore that this is the case with Moon Knight.

After all, the show started off with a strong performance and tantalising hook, however, when the series is now half complete, we’re no further in our story than we were in episode 1, aside from characters using vague pronouns to allude to the past.

To give this third episode credit, the visuals are breathtaking. Whether shot in-camera or from post-production, the way that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has developed to tell stories that amount to a tableau of culture is a testament to their skill, with the third act rewinding of the night’s sky being a beautiful example of how art and science can partner to find beauty.

For instance, Khonsu’s character model is eerily spectacular. Reminding me of Sir Daniel Fortesque from the PlayStation game MediEvil, the detail and booming nature of performer F. Murray Abraham adds weight and authority to the gothic Egyptian God.

Though it does make me wonder with Marvel doing so many world-breaking events, like the appearance of a Celestial in Eternals, or the multiverse tear in Spider-Man: No Way Home, how the entire solar system being rewound in time will translate into the wider cinematic universe with films still leaning on ‘The Blip’ event caused by Thanos and undone by Iron Man in the Infinity War and Endgame movies, and the multiverse rift being the narrative behind Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness released later this year.

Unfortunately due to Moon Knight trying to really go big with what it tries to achieve, it fails to grasp the simplest of concepts with any certainty.

Inside, Moon Knight episode 3 hopes that by leaning into the quirky, the weird, and the abstract that audiences will be dazzled and blinded by the creative ability demonstrated, despite the absence of a cohesive episodic story.

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By Conor Riley

Conor is the Founder and Editor for Cinamore, a publication focused on giving power back to journalists. As a portmanteau of the word 'Cinema' and the Italian word for love 'Amore', Cinamore aims to highlight the love that we all carry for the art of the moving image.


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