The first reviews are in for Moon Knight, Marvel’s latest live-action series for Disney+, and there’s a clear consensus across the board: Oscar Isaac is putting it up all on the screen in his performance as the mystical hero. Unlike the first batch of Marvel shows, which continued stories started in the films, Moon Knight is the first Disney+ series to fully introduce a new character to the MCU. While that’s exciting in its own right, another common theme in the reviews is that Moon Knight is an easy entry point for the MCU-curious. If you just want to see Isaac and his nemesis played by Ethan Hawke go at it, you don’t need to be familiar with any of the 20+ series and films that came before Moon Knight. It’s a rarity for Marvel these days.
Here’s what the early reviews are saying:
Mike Ryan, Uproxx:
So much of Moon Knight rests on Isaac’s shoulders as he, by sheer force of will, transforms what could have easily been a very confusing, disjointed show into something truly remarkable. In other words: Oscar Isaac is going for it. And, at least in the first four episodes, he doesn’t just go for it, he gets there.
Charles Pulliam-Moore, The Verge:
It often feels like a throwback to Marvel’s classic approach to reworking lower profile comic book characters into household names meant to become key players within a larger cinematic universe. That relative change of pace is one of the things that Moon Knight has going for it compared to some of Marvel’s other recent series that tend to make more sense the more of the MCU you’ve consumed. But Moon Knight’s also a foray into the fraught world of character studies where bold acting and directorial choices jump out…
Daniel D’Addario, Variety:
Here, Marvel’s attempting to do something it hasn’t lately done: Break a new character through the medium of TV. And “Moon Knight,” an adventurous limited series, suggests a way forward for a content-creation engine that’s come to feel overwhelming. There’s a freshness to it that’s enticing even for those outside the fandom.
Matt Fowler, IGN:
It’s good that this show not only has these two stars but also uses them to their fullest because, as mentioned, Moon Knight isn’t widely known and the series itself is holding back a lot of information for the time being. That being said, hardcore Moon Knight fans out there who never thought this day would arrive might feel like collapsing at the sight of this crazed champion presented fully in front of their eyes. It’s also the perfect show to slip into if you’re an MCU casual, as it does keep the rest of the long-running story at arm’s length.
Richard Trenholm, CNET:
Marvel sent the first four episodes of Moon Knight to critics, and it says something that I burned through them all in one go and can’t wait to see what happens next. Moon Knight is weird, wild and so much fun.
Nick Hilton, The Independent:
The highest compliment I can give Moon Knight is that it often feels more like The Mummy than The Avengers.
While most Moon Knight reviews were generally positive, there were some who weren’t so sold on the MCU’s newest hero or Marvel’s continued struggle to find its groove on Disney+ series even with Oscar Isaac going for it whole hog:
Daniel Fienberg, THR:
The show’s pleasure comes from watching Isaac flex his action muscles, do intentionally silly accents and exhibit a flair for goofy comedy. But after watching four of the series’ six (45-minute-ish) episodes, I think it’s clear that the acting exercise stands out more than masked vigilante Moon Knight, his pair of alter egos or the story’s crash course in ancient Egyptian spirituality.
Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone:
Given the character’s long history of being more exciting in theory than reality — and given that none of the previous MCU shows have been at their best in their finales — my hopes aren’t too high for the concluding chapters. There are many interesting aspects to Moon Knight, but neither the comic books nor this TV show named for him quite know what to do with them all.
Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist:
“Moon Knight” is vaguely different, has no real connections to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and will be hailed by many as a deeply original chapter in the MCU. But when you look outside that limited worldview and recognize all the aforementioned touchstones it’s drawing from, “Moon Knight” is initially thought-provoking, but hardly the game changer that many devout fanboys will likely declare it.
Moon Knight premieres March 30 on Disney+ with new episodes streaming on Wednesdays.