Home Television Recaps ‘Moon Knight’ – ‘The Goldfish Problem’ – Review
‘Moon Knight’ – ‘The Goldfish Problem’ – Review

‘Moon Knight’ – ‘The Goldfish Problem’ – Review


As one of 2022’s most anticipated Marvel Studios releases, Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight has been a project we’ve long been waiting to see arrive on Disney+ and its first episode ‘The Goldfish Problem’ did not disappoint. If you think you know what a Marvel project is, forget about it, because this is something completely different and you’ll be hooked in from the very first frame.

Mild-mannered and slightly jittery museum gift shop attendant Steven Grant (Oscar Issac) is suffering from severe paranoia and an agonising fear of falling asleep. Controlled by insomnia and a mind that is slowly beginning to fracture, he thoughts wander to crazy and violent dreams that see him coming face to face with a mysterious cult led by the omnipotent Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke). But soon Steven realises that these dreams are not actually ‘dreams’ but the actions of a second personality inside of him, the violent and capable Marc Spector (Isaac), a mercenary who is waging a war against Harrow’s zealots and who has pledged himself to the Egyptian Moon-God Khonshu, and who is ready to do whatever is necessary to save the world.

Anytime a new Disney+ series from Marvel Studios is announced there is a tremendous amount of fanfare and excitement and Marvel Studios’ new chapter in the ever-broadening MCU, Moon Knight is a show to be very excited for. And brace yourself for the rush because Moon Knight is unlike anything the MCU has seen before. Twisting, dark and with multiple narrative threads that weave in and out of one another along, with featuring one extremely complicated protagonist, Moon Knight is something entirely fresh. And director Mohamed Diab amps up in a bold new direction. Bringing together an intrepid globe-trotting spy story, ancient Egyptian mythology and a mind-bending character study, Moon Knight is truly different from what has come before and this first episode feels like something akin to The Bourne Identity meets Fight Club by way of Indiana Jones.

Stepping into the MCU as our newest hero is Oscar Issac in the duelling roles of Marc Spector and Steven Grant. But how is he these two individuals and how can he portray them at the same time. Well, Spector suffers from dissociative identity disorder and Grant is actually a construct of his mind that jumps back and forth between the two of them. While for the most part Episode One, ‘The Goldfish Problem’, is told from the point-of-view of Steven, Marc is hovering away in the background and as the action steps up and Steven is thrown into danger the brutal and unhinged Marc Jumps out and things get bloody very quickly. These duel roles give Isaac a lot of room to play with as an actor and he does an incredible job of convincingly playing these two different characters. As Steven, he’s a bent-over loser and hopeless reject, before instantly turning into the brooding and violent Spector. It’s interesting to watch and we’re only at the start of this complicated character journey.

Facing off against Isaac’s Spector/Grant is Ethan Hawke as religious zealot Arthur Harrow and this guy is a solid freak. Best described as a combination of Jim Jones and Josef Mengele by way of Steve Jobs, Harrow is the vehicle for the destructive and judgemental power of the Egyptian deity and demoness Ammit. A crocodile-headed god of terrifying power, Harrow and his cult are looking to unleash Ammit’s severe power onto the world once more and somehow Spector is standing in their way. And it’s Steven who gets thrown into the mess of it all. Hawke brings an uneasy calm to Harrow and there’s something extremely off-putting about his uneasy temperament and fanaticism to unleash Ammit. Being bound to Ammit’s will also gives Harrow the power to channel dangerous magic and I have a feeling we’re only going to see his power grow as this series moves forward.

Narratively Episode One ‘The Goldfish Problem’, is a terrific introduction to a brand new superhero mythology in Moon Knight and right from the start, it feels fresh. Director Mohamed Diab lets both the narrative and action play out naturally, and in line with Spector’s DID, and the result grabs your attention. Cutting back and forth between Steven and the explosive actions of Spector leads to some very intense moments and the action is thrown into overdrive in the second act of the episode and things get charged up quickly. Moon Knight has long been regarded as one of Marvel Comics more violent and unhinged characters, and the new series keeps this trait as a core part of the show. Moon Knight packs some serious violence to it and when Marc Spector takes over things get bloody quickly. Diab showcases this violence as an interesting part of the series and it certainly adds to the spy genre stylings that the new series explores.

Episode One, ‘The Goldfish Problem’, is an incredibly interesting and compelling start to this brand new Disney+ and all throughout it you’re waiting for Spector to transform into Moon Knight and take the fight to Harrow’s evil forces. It’s a moment that happens in the closing moments of the episode and damn is it BADASS to watch. Brutal and to-the-point, the closing moments of ‘The Goldfish Problem’ prove that Moon Knight is not a hero to get on the wrong side of and with his introduction we have a serious serving of grit applied to the MCU that it has long been needing. Seeing Isaac garbed in the one of a kind armour of Moon Knight, complete with his glowing white eyes is an epic moment for MCU fans and while his appearance as this new costumed hero might only be brief it promises something truly different from the MCU and we’re only at the beginning of this bold new story.

‘The Goldfish Problem’ is a terrific start to Moon Knight and the MCU has a brand new hero that you’d better watch out for. Brutal, intense and packed out with some of the most unique narrative storytelling I can remember ever seeing in the MCU, Moon Knight is a series that is about to take the MCU into a brand new direction and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Moon Knight streams every Wednesday on Disney+

Image: Walt Disney Pictures