By Nick Sergi
Moon Knight is a series that began with such promise. So much care was taken in that first episode to create an intriguing new take on a character with an alter-ego. It was always fascinating to follow Steven as he learned that what he had been missing from his reality was actually the actions of another person using his body. This was a luring idea for a story.
The first episode also introduced an ensnaring antagonist. In fact, it opened with this man, Arthur Harrow, placing his feet in sandals filled with broken pieces of glass. The episode took its time and gave actor Ethan Hawke a chance to really make this character one of incredible interest.
Compared to this series beginning, which challenged the viewer to do as much thinking as the characters in the story, the final episode plays more like a ridiculous cartoon for 11-year-olds. It has lots of outlandish special effects and a big battle between good and evil. How reductive of Marvel to do this. The studio might be capable of occasionally creating intrigue, but it is incapable of sustaining it.
Is the finale bad? Yeah. Aside from the fact that the story choices made little sense to any skeptical viewer, it provides the usual superhero action you’d expect from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Viewers finally get to see scenes of Moon Knight in action. Both versions of Moon Knight must fight to stop Arthur and the Egyptian God Ammit before they take over the world (or something). While Steven has been the most interesting character in this series right from that first episode, his version of Moon Knight, the one dressed in a suit, is just plain annoying. Fortunately, Marc’s version of Moon Knight (that white hooded figure) has a bit more time in this episode, and this time we get to see him fly like Superman!.
The final battle felt more cartoonish than any episode of Thundercats (younger audiences might not have even seen this classic 80’s cartoon), and, to make it worse, nothing leading up to the battle was remotely believable. Of course, believability isn’t really a requirement for a comic book property, but the episode seemed to be working so hard to wrap things up as quickly as possible (the episode was barely a half-hour long). Viewers just have to accept each moment and move on. The leaps in storytelling logic were plentiful.
The episode picks up from the scene a few episodes back where Marc is shot dead after retrieving Ammit’s ushabti. Arthur takes it and heads back towards the Great Pyramid. Layla is very sad now that the body that once contained both Marc and Steven is dead. Yet, that Hippo goddess, Taweret, tries to get her attention by speaking through dead people. What are the rules governing what these gods can do? She tries to convince Layla that not all is lost.
We hear a lot more in this episode about Marc’s heart being full, and it is just as tiring as hearing about the scales being balanced. None of this is as interesting as the scenes from the first episode where Steve has to figure out what is wrong with his reality, yet all this mythological gibberish is far more important to the plot.
There is a convoluted series of events within the Great Pyramid as the avatars of all the Egyptian gods are unable to stop Arthur from releasing Ammit. It begs the question: why are these or their avatars even there at all?
Ammit, taking the form of a talking alligator, looks almost as ridiculous as the talking hippo from the last episode. The storytelling here becomes even more confusing: Ammit wants to use Arthur as her avatar, which means she will use his body. Yet the climax of the episode is all about how Moon Knight must bind Ammit and Arthur together so they can easily dispense with both of them at one time. Apparently, being an avatar is somehow different than being bound to that god. By the time the viewer realizes the difference, the episode will pretty much be concluded.
The real problem with this series is how much it buys into its own nonsense about the various gods and their various forms. The show was far more interesting when it was about its lead character, a hero with multiple personalities.
The show’s final battle is akin to any final battle in the MCU. WandaVision concluded with two powerful magic users throwing red and blue energy at each other, and this episode featured a lot of purple energy. Pretty soon, Marvel will run out of colors for the comic book super-powered energies. What is hard to discern is how much control Moon Knight really has in his fight with Arthur: in the background, Konshuu and Ammit are also fighting each other, and the one who has the upper hand in the fight is shared by his or her respective avatar. That said, by this point, logic itself has been tossed aside in favor of mere spectacle, so it hardly matters who’s winning. A spoiler that will not be revealed here is the two individuals who help Moon Knight as he fights Arthur. Regarding one of those individuals, DC should probably take some notes (you’ll know why when you see it).
NOTE: Be sure to stick around for a scene during the credits.
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