blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Moon Knight (2022) s01e02 – Summon the Suit

For what felt like an eternity–Summon the Suit is forty-five boring but not poorly paced minutes—it seemed like someone making “Moon Knight” was doing it as a satire. A satire would cover Oscar Isaac’s silly (but not bad) lead performance; it would cover F. Murray Abraham’s comically obnoxious Egyptian god ghost, who Isaac finds out is basically possessing him. Villain Ethan Hawke, who’s stunningly good, is playing the part like it’s a satire; maybe it just seems like if they were trying for it, they could keep up with Hawke.

They don’t, obviously, because it’s not a satire. Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead aren’t thoughtful enough to even hint at it. Eventually, the script, credited to Michael Kastelein, clarifies we’re supposed to be taking it seriously.

Too bad.

This episode has Isaac finding out about his other personality. They talk to each other through mirrors. Isaac also meets his alter ego’s estranged wife, May Calamawy, who is not a girlfriend’s head in a refrigerator (yet). However, I still doubt she will have a conversation with another woman, much less pass Bechdel. Calamawy is okay. As an actress, she’s sympathetic because she’s got a terrible part. It doesn’t make her performance any better, but she’s not a glaring misfire like Abraham.

Seriously, they should’ve just gotten Tom Hardy to Venom voice him. It’d be funnier (and Abraham’s played for jokes anyway). The CGI on the Egyptian god ghost is also wanting. This episode has him talking to Isaac, and it looks underdeveloped. They needed another pitch.

So Isaac Prime is the hapless British museum employee who thinks he has a mom who loves him. Mirror Isaac is an American mercenary turned costumed adventurer. Very much not Egyptian Abraham can grant them superpowers and the neat suit. There’s an action scene with Moon Knight fighting a demonic jackal (and he’s the only one who can see it), and it basically looks like a white-suited Batman movie, which was always the point. Bully for them.

Unfortunately, outside the middling Moon Knight action sequence, Benson and Moorhead’s action direction is less exciting than watching someone else watch someone else play a video game. Hapless Isaac doesn’t get to do action, so he just watches Calamawy do it. And since the show really doesn’t care at all about Calamawy’s experience of events, it’s all dramatically inert.

The way they contrive her into the episode isn’t even sixteenth-assed.

There are also zero Marvel Cinematic Universe connections, with Hapless Isaac seemingly unaware of superheroes. When he talks about something being exciting, he says it’s like MI-6 or Area 51, not, you know, a Marvel Earth where a bunch of space aliens invaded and temporarily zapped half the population. Or maybe it’s set in the past. Who cares.

Hawke nearly makes the show worth watching, and Isaac does have some fine acting moments (often opposite Hawke, which helps things). But “Moon Knight” is an exceptionally pointless, entirely pedestrian vehicle.

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