Wednesday, April 6, 2022

REVIEW: 'Moon Knight' - Steven Learns What's Happening Within Him and What Harrow Hopes to Accomplish in 'Summon the Suit'

Disney+'s Moon Knight - Episode 1.02 "Summon the Suit"

With little time to react, Steven is thrust into a war of the gods as a mysterious partner arrives.

"Summon the Suit" was written by Michael Kastelein and directed by Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead

Marc Spector serves as the host for the Egyptian god Khonshu. Because Steven also shares the same body, he too is the host. It's all absolutely ridiculous. He has to laugh about how crazy his life has quickly become. He has lost his job because he is the only one who can see the true threats that destroyed the museum. Of course, the various heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are enthusiastic about being heroes. It's cool that they have powers. Every use is meant to be awe-inspiring. They are suddenly capable of greatness they never thought was possible. That appears to be a prerequisite in order to be hired as a hero in this world. Sure, each project has its own distinct style and tone. However, so much has to be connected to the overall mechanics of the franchise. Over the last few years, that has meant more and more characters have started to act similarly. The audience can basically expect the same beats in whichever extensive of the franchise they are watching. Steven is excited when he summons the Moon Knight suit. He survives a fall after being knocked out a window by a jackal. He should have died. He doesn't. When he throws a punch, it throws the creature far away. In that moment, he is more powerful than he has ever been. He suddenly has a completely different sense of his identity. He previously didn't know who Marc was. Meanwhile, Layla tracks him down and declares she is his wife. She is confused by this act he appears to be living. It's all a mystery meant to avoid consequences for his past actions. Steven is very real. Layla accepts that after awhile. She has to speak to him as a person instead of just pleading for Marc to remember who he is. The identities are different. They are played by the same man. And yet, they must have different objectives and reactions. It's already clear Marc embraces the dark and gritty tone of the world and his mission. Steven wants to run as far away from the danger as he can. He's thrilled when these abilities present themselves. He has the same tools that have always been available to Marc. His counterpart simply had the awareness that they existed. Steven can now play around with these abilities. But so much of that delight and realization comes across as something that has already been done before. Steven was a fascinating and unique character in the premiere. And now, he is already falling into the mold of what Marvel demands of its protagonists. That's clear even when the rest of the extended universe has to be kept at bay so Marc and Steven can focus on the task at hand.

Steven is horrified by Harrow's cult. He views them as child murderers. Harrow preaches the inherent goodness of Ammit because she judges people for the totality of their being. She doesn't wait until they commit the heinous act that demands punishment. She can see into the future and accurately judge those who stand before her. Harrow is gifted with just a sliver of her power. It creates plenty of obstacles for Steven to endure. He actively wants to prevent Marc from taking control. He can't allow this other figure to completely take over his life. And yet, Marc has been living this existence for awhile. He has basically lost track of time. Steven still experiences those visceral thrills. He notices when time goes missing. The wall that separates Marc and Steven has been altered in some way. That too presents as a mystery. It mostly annoys Khonshu. He is already looking for his next host. Harrow apparently served as the vessel before Marc did. He simply found a more worthy cause. One that has already united plenty under her banner. They see the far-reaching effects of bringing about this change. He aspires to eliminate the choice of evil altogether. When that is no longer an option, then society will be heaven. People will be able to live in absolute peace. Their choices simply have to be taken away in order to make that a reality. Steven doesn't want that. He sees the extreme and dire nature of Harrow's path. It can be manipulated and distorted in so many ways. Marc similarly wants to protect Layla from all of this. It's easier to ask for a divorce than to have her as an active participant. She presents as the better host for Khonshu. She won't come with the same baggage. Instead, the deity has to grapple with Marc and Steven always wrestling for control. The mechanics are mysterious. They both have to occupy this space. They are an extension of the same identity. But it's mostly a really good showcase for Oscar Isaac. At one point, Steven declares Marc as the sexy alternative. Steven doesn't view himself the same way. It's because of Isaac's work that it's easy to believe in this perspective. The actor is undeniably attractive. Yet he embodies these two people and helps distinguish them through this dialogue. Of course, it's not long before the action requires Steven to be running for his life or Marc emerging as the vigilante capable of killing these threats with ease. That too is all too expectant. Instead of showcasing the abilities, it's basically become action meant to thrill. That information is necessary. It can also drag the storytelling down without providing much of a spark for why the viewer should remain interested in the journey.