The next phase of the MCU kicked off last night with the premier of their Egyptian-themed hero, Moon Knight. The star of the show is Oscar Isaac, but listing the character he plays isn’t as straight-forward as you might think for an article. First off, he’s playing five different characters if you count the titular role as its own character. He stars as Steven Grant, a very confused inventory clerk for a gift shop in a museum. He also plays Marc Spector, a mercenary who dabbles as a superhero. He plays Jake Lockley, a taxi-cab driver in New York. He also plays Mr. Knight, a businessman who wears all white and a Moon Knight mask, and he plays the titular Moon Knight in whatever space of head he happens to occupy. He also does all of this at once since it’s the same character but with Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as split personalities.
The debut episode dropped last night and while the action scenes and scenery were totally on point, you would be forgiven if you didn’t totally vibe with the Steven Grant character in this show. It wasn’t his inability to keep track of actual days that bothered me, it was two really weird things that make no sense. The accent doesn’t work. I’m not sure who Oscar Isaac’s coach was for this film, but The Mary Sue pointed out that this is very much a plot device for the story and intentional, but it doesn’t make it any less cringe. They have some quality stuff to say on the matter, the entire article is worth a read if you get a moment. For the purposes of this column, it’s this chunk that we care about:
Isaac acknowledged that the accent sounded fake, but stressed that it’s not a reflection of what he thinks Brits actually sound like. Rather, Isaac seems to be exploring what Steven would sound like if he formed as an alter after living in the U.S. for his entire life (but sincerely believed himself to be British). It’s an accent that an American might adopt based on what he thinks a British accent sounds like.
When it’s framed like that, you begin to understand it and realize that it serves a larger purpose. It’s just something we’re going to have to deal with as the show unfolds. I suppose we should just be grateful this isn’t another Mary Poppins situation since Disney is involved and whatnot. For those who haven’t seen the original, it features American actor Dick Van Dyke doing what is widely regarded as the worst accent humanity has ever seen when he played the iconic role of Bert the Chimney Sweep. It was so bad that Van Dyke apologized for it formally years later and absolutely meant it.
The second thing that is super odd to me is when Grant throws the gun in a rather feeble manner during an action sequence where the Grant character clearly has no idea what’s going on or how to use it. We can forgive the accent because it’s all apparently part of the mental illness, what I cannot forgive is that gun toss. Look, I have been in a few life or death situations and have never fired a gun before in my life, but I can promise if I had gotten my hands on a gun in those previous situations, I wouldn’t have feebly tossed it and then said “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Grant may not know what he’s doing, but even crappy movies would teach you not to throw a gun in that situation, let alone the manner in which it was thrown. We have to a better job of portraying people being relatively clueless in these situations without doing something so completely outlandish that it almost works against you in a critical situation. I know Khonshu is calling Grant “the idiot,” but nobody that’s as smart as he is is that dumb. Nobody. It was just plain weird to see.
The show is going to drop six episodes overall and we’ll be covering them here on @BSO. The author has also dropped an introduction to the Moon Knight Universe piece on The Marvel Report if you’d like to check it out. He explains the fundamentals of every character straight from the Marvel comics source material. You may also follow him on Twitter: @FightOnTwist