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Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight | A Supernatural Globe-Trotting Adventure

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What makes Moon Knight Moon Knight?, Just who is Layla?, And what is making Arthur Harrow Tick?. These questions and more will all be answered in Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight, an all-new, original, live-action series starring Oscar Isaac, Ethan Hawke, and May Calamawy. Debuting exclusively on Disney+ on March 30. Moon Knight is the latest calibre addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s lineup of superheroes and vigilantes.

Thanks to Disney+ Coastal House Media got to watch the first 4 episodes in advance and it’s unlike anything we’ve seen before in the MCU. Throughout 1-4, Moon Knight is a supernatural spectacle that genre-bends themes and adds elements of archaeology, dark humour, and a psychological thriller. Moon Knight is also seeped into Egyptian culture and honours their mythology and society at the forefront, which I loved. All this creates an epic-scaled adventure.

Synopsis

The story follows Steven Grant, a mild-mannered man who lives a mundane life, plagued by blackouts and mysterious memories of a life somehow separate from his own. After one fateful encounter, Steven discovers that he has Dissociative Identity Disorder and shares a body with Marc Spector- a former mercenary and the ruthless avatar of Khonsu, the Egyptian god of the moon and vengeance. With their enemies converging upon them, Steven must learn how to adapt to this revelation and work with Marc. With other godly motives at play, the two must navigate their complex identities amid a deadly battle played out among the powerful gods of Egypt.

Photo: Courtesy of Disney+

Review

REIMAGINED AS A SERIES

Like many Marvel superheroes before him, Moon Knight got his start in the comics as a guest in another character’s title series. Debuting in “Werewolf by Night” No.32 in 1975 written by Doug Moench and with art from Don Perlin. The first part of a two-issue story arc pitted the titular Werewolf against a mercenary who wore boots and gauntlets made of sliver, a hooded white cloak, and a crescent moon symbol on his chest. From his first appearance, Moon Knight was an anti-hero, Marc Spector/Moon Knight have continued their exploits on the pages of comic books for the past 47 years, and still counting.

During those years after his debut, Moon Knight appeared in the occasional team-up issues interacting with heroes such as Spider-Man and Daredevil. These comic books and being featured in the Marvel Spotlight story eventually got Moon Knight his solo series in 1980 with Moench and artist Bill Sienkiewicz headlining the comic’s creative team. here is where Spector’s backstory gets rewritten and expanded with the mercenary’s new roots vastly reaching to the deserts of Egypt. After an altercation with a fellow mercenary and eventual nemesis, Spector becomes wounded and left for dead, that is until he reaches the tomb of the Egyptian moon god, Khonshu. He awakens revived and fully healed and now with a new purpose becomes the fist of Khonshu- a knight for the vengeful god.

Along with the Moon Knight persona, Spector also adopts a couple of other identities to help serve his new god and defend the innocent. Starting with the titular character on which the series focuses is Steven Grant, a Jewish mild-mannered and utterly sincere guy who works at a gift shop at the British Museum. He’s been working at the museum for six months but isn’t aware of Marc or his condition which he believes is a sleeping disorder as seen during the trailers he calls a stay awake hotline and chains himself to the bed to not blackout again.

Photo: Courtesy of Disney+

I can tell that throughout the first four episodes that Marvel studios have taken great care and excitement in bringing Moon Knight’s story to an episodic series. They’ve grounded the character and have utilised his comic book heritage by celebrating what makes him popular with the readers such as paying homage to his comic roots and embracing the supernatural, dark, and grittier aspects which help as the new series aims to show audiences a modern iteration of the character, with breaking new ground and exploring a Marvel Super Hero that we’ve never seen on screen before.

They’ve taken Moon Knight’s origin story, which is very much based on Egyptology and took him on a globe-trotting, thrilling adventure. At its heart the six-part series is designed as a mystery, who is Steven Grant, why does he keep dreaming about another life, and what happens when elements from those dreams start to invade his waking hours. Steven’s journey for answers leads him to a hidden world of gods and monsters, and a battle that could shape the future of the MCU. Moon Knight so far seems to be influenced by many classic adventure films such as Night at the Museum, Tomb Raider, and Indiana Jones. With these classics in mind, Marvel achieves the goal of telling a relentlessly entertaining story filled with unexpected twists and turns.

Mohamed Diab, a talented Egyptian auteur and now the first Arab director to release a Marvel project came to the studio’s attention with his 2016 Cannes selection opener “Clash”. Impressed with his vast sense of scope and scale, Diab directs episodes 101,103,105 and 106, episodes one and three being among my favourites. Diab is masterful at directing he’s able to craft a serialised story that is personal, showcasing a superhero who’s struggling with himself and his inner conflict. Diab also presents Egypt’s ancient heritage and modern culture freshly and authentically. Parts of Moon Knight are surreal yet grounded in reality which add to the intrigue and mystery.

MOON KNIGHT AND MENTAL HEALTH

Moon Knight dives into the concept of dreams and the blurred lines between what is real and imaginary. Throughout the series, you’ll no doubt question the concept of his experiences and his connection with Egyptian mythology. The comics have a long history of exploring mental health with sensitivity and depth and he never let his mental illness define him. The series doesn’t shy away from these elements and the darker aspects of the character are at the forefront. Steven/Marc are dealing with real-life relatable traumas and Isaac portrays an honest depiction of what Dissociative Identity Disorder is, and shows what a lot of people have to deal with. It’s depicted more as authenticity rather than just being a story plot device.

Photo: Courtesy of Disney+

As I previously mentioned, Moon Knight is depicted as a mystery, the audience will know as little as Steven does, and like him are swept along on this journey and are kept in the dark on what is real and what is not. You empathise with Steven as you watch the action unfold from his perspective, it makes you feel what it’s like to have all these voices and wild things happening to him.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Marc Spector is the total opposite of Steven grant, he a former mercenary and now the brutal avatar of Khonshu. As Marc and Steven’s separate lives collide, Steven is forced to come to grips with the fact that he’s also being used by the Egyptian god such as his alter-ego of Mr Knight. Armed with Steven’s knowledge of the ancient Egyptian world, Mr Knight helps to complement Moon Knight as his approach to conflict is using his wits and puzzle-solving.

Moon Knight features an exceptional performance from Oscar Isaac who can switch effortlessly between torment and British humour as he battles between these two personalities. He understands each character and his performance is like watching two drastically different people who unfortunately share the same body.

Khonshu, (who has become my favourite character from the series) is a CGI performance captured character voiced by Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham. Khonshu is the Egyptian god of the moon and the self-appointed god of vengeance, he has walked the earth for centuries waging a one-god war on perceived injustices. However his actions have made him an outcast among his fellow gods, and as a result, Khonshu now needs his earthly avatar, Marc Spector, now more than ever if he is to continue to enact his version of divine justice.

Everything Konshu is asking for is sometimes very brutal and hard for both Steven and Marc. Their relationship and the struggle for control showcase that the abilities Khonshu have given him come with a very, very high price.

Photo: Courtesy of Disney+

Going against Marc/Steven and Khonshu is Ethan Hawke in his first foray into the MCU. He plays nefarious, philosophical, religious zealot Arthur Harrow a cult-like leader who is no stranger to this deceptive world of gods and avatars as he seamlessly manoeuvres his way through it to wage a war against Moon Knight and Khonshu.

May Calamawy is a force of strength as Layla El-Faouly, an archaeologist and adventurer who knows Marc Spector well. Layla finds herself unintentionally dragged into Marc’s troubling and dangerous existence, as both must put their difference aside and forge a new relationship if they are to survive the battle ahead.

MAKING MOON KNIGHT

The cinematography and production designs are simply flawless throughout the four episodes I’ve seen. The details and visuals are mesmerising and some even lead to fantastic mind-bending sequences which truly lends themselves to the horror genre. Production was adamant about reflecting Ancient Egypt with much precision as possible by working collaboratively with Egyptologists to make sure that the designs authentically represented the period.

With large scale practical sets on soundstages filming in Budapest, Hungary began with a large production of 10 stages totalling 195,000 square feet and 10 acres of the backlot. Construction on the sets was a massive undertaking. The museum scenes required the production team to create an entirely new Egyptian exhibit from scratch, filling the museum’s hall with hand-built columns, displays and even a brand new fully stocked gift shop.

Steven’s apartment gives the idea that he lives in an attic to reflect the pyramids. His eclectic apartment has many books, historical artefacts, maps, and his goldfish Gus. Books divide any open space.

Costume designer, Meghan Kasperlik approached looking at the history of the gods, life practices and Ancient Egypt burials and how the culture could be modified and modernised to work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Steven reflects the coolness of Brixton whilst Marc sports a desert look with a tactical, utilitarian costume all elements of clothing foreshadows Moon Knight.

Speaking of Moon Knight his costume features his armoured chest piece which is very distinctive. It’s embedded with Khonshu’s name in hieroglyphs along with a full moon that is centred along the crescent blade. Knee pads are built into his costume along with more hieroglyphs flowing throughout his outfit inscribing Khonshu’s oath.

Mr Knight dons a custom-made three-piece suit which is certainly comics accurate.

Photo: Courtesy of Disney+

Aside from being Marvel Studios’ first Disney+ series focusing entirely on a new superhero, Moon Knight is set to be much darker and more violent than its predecessors. So far the Marvel Cinematic Universe on the streaming service has offered us a sitcom-infused mystery, action and adventure, a multiversal story, an animated anthology, and a six-part Christmas special.

VERDICT

I’m so ready for Moon Knight to dominate your screens, it’s rooted in culture and brings a new era of the Supernatural to the MCU. It’s more mature and they’re not pulling back, there’s a tonal shift that features brutal and loud reactions. With spectacular visuals, a phenomenal score by Hesham Nazih, and story-focused world-building. Moon Knight has a chance to lead the MCU in an exciting new way that feels distinct from what came before.

Embrace the chaos on March 30 on Disney+

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The Little Mermaid | Official Teaser | D23

A young mermaid makes a deal with a sea witch, to trade her beautiful voice for human legs so she can discover the world above water and impress a prince.

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Genre:

Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Release Date:

May 26, 2023

Director:

Rob Marshall

Cast:

Halle Bailey, Jonah Hauer-King, Melissa McCarthy

Plot Summary:

The Little Mermaid is a 1989 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 28th Disney animated feature film, it is loosely based on the 1837 Danish fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen.

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D23 Expo 2022: First Marvel Studios’ ‘Werewolf By Night’ Trailer and Poster Revealed

Your RSVP to Bloodstone Manor is requested for October 7.

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Here at Coastal House Media, we are ready to dive further into the Multiverse? During Saturday’s Walt Disney Studios – Lucasfilm & Marvel Studios Presentation at D23 Expo 2022, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige took to the stage to share a ton of brand new announcements as the MCU dives further into Phase 4, 5, and 6 — aka, The Multiverse Saga.

In Hall D23, Kevin Feige was joined by director Michael Giacchino and the cast including Gael García Bernal and Laura Donnelly to share with the world that Marvel Studios’ Special Presentation: Werewolf By Night, will premiere on Disney+ on October 7th. To add to that they unveiled the trailer for the first time ever to fans.

Watch the Special Presentation Trailer Below:

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is becoming a scary place, especially when characters like Werewolf by Night emerge from the darkness. This Halloween themes-special coming to Disney+ will star Garl García as the literal werewolf named Jack Russell the howling hero has protected the darkest corners of the Marvel Universe from supernatural threats – while going on an occasional rampage himself.

The character debuted in the comics in 1971 in Marvel’s Spotlight by Gerry Conway and Mike Ploog, before getting his own comic series in 1972. Born in Transylvania as Jacob Russoff, Jack is the descendant of Grigori Russoff, who was turned into a werewolf after fighting Dracula in 1795. Although the werewolf’s curse remained dormant for generations, it was reactivated by Jack’s grandfather Gregor after he copied the Darkhold, an ancient book of arcane evil power. Under a full moon, that curse turned Gregor, his son Gregory, and their adult descendants into feral werewolves with animalistic appearances and supernatural abilities like enhanced strength, lightning-fast agility, and a considerable healing factor. They also inherited the traditional lycanthropic weakness to silver.  However, García could also be playing Jake Gomez.

The first trailer is in black and white and oozes the classic monster and Hammer movie vibes I’ve grown to love such as Wolfman, Frankenstein, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Directed by composer Michael Giacchino and also starring Laura Donnelly who’s rumoured to be playing Elsa Bloodstone the monster-hunting hero.

Throught the Werewolf joined forces with other monsters such as Morbius the living Vampire, N’Kantu the Living Mummy, Manphibian, and The Man-Thing who features in this teaser.

Werewolf By Night unleashes onto Disney+ October 7!

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Marvel Studios’ She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Review | A Lighthearted Legal Comedy

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You’ll Like Her When She’s Angry She-Hulk: Attorney At Law is a fun lighthearted legal comedy that establishes itself within the MCU. It explores the complicated & comical duality of the character which is relatable & is fully self-aware whilst also breaking the fourth wall.

Synopsis

In Marvel Studios’ “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,” Emmy® Award-winning actress Tatiana Maslany stars as Jennifer Walters—an attorney who specialises in superhuman-oriented legal cases. She leads the complicated life of a single, 30- something who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch super-powered hulk.

The nine-episode comedy series welcomes a host of MCU vets, including Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk, Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky/Abomination, and Benedict Wong as Wong, as well as Jameela Jamil, Josh Segarra, Ginger Gonzaga, Jon Bass and Renée Elise Goldsberry. 

Created by Stan Lee and John Buscema, the character was first introduced on Feb. 10, 1980, in “The Savage She-Hulk” comic series. She-Hulk went on to become a member of the Avengers in 1982 and was featured in the “Fantastic Four” series beginning in 1984. Writer/artist John Byrne infused the character with her signature fourth-wall-breaking sense of humour in his “Sensational She-Hulk” comic series that ran from 1989- 1994, and the character has made regular appearances in various forms ever since.

Review

“She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” is the seventh live-action series from Marvel Studios that’s debuting on Disney+ it explores the complicated and comical day-to-day life of Jennifer Walters who must navigate the fallout as well as the dynamics of becoming superpowered- both as herself but also as She-Hulk. We also get to see a commentary of grounded topics being portrayed as she advances into her career while making time for dating, catching up with friends, and going through workplace prejudice, in fact, a lot of the humour comes from these grounded scenarios. Walters learns that balancing her new duality and powers isn’t as easy as it seems. And as I mentioned earlier these aspects of her character as so relatable to the audience watching. She is driven to become a lawyer by a passion to dispense justice and create a more equal society. 

Jen aka She-Hulk is a character that’s full of contradiction, she’s completely fixated on work, and yet has this huge heart. Throughout the series, you’ll see that she loves being She-Hulk, but at the same time resents it. The series perfectly captures Jennifer’s courtroom antics and episode one titled “A Normal Amount of Rage” fully establishes the character and her world through an episodic story. 

Tatiana Maslany is INCREDIBLE! and such perfect casting, Maslany takes the character to a whole new level and makes the role her own. She-Hulk is so different from anything we’ve seen in the MCU, she brings so much humanity and complexity to the character that you no doubt feel for her. I also love that throughout she breaks the fourth wall and interacts with the viewer, she certainly has a sense of humour and I also love that she’s super confident in herself. Ultimately her story is a modern legal comedy about a professional woman in her 30s that’s navigating her professional career and personal life. 

Tatiana Maslany as She-Hulk/Jennifer “Jen” Walters, Ginger Gonzaga as Nikki Ramos, and Drew Matthews as Dennis Bukowski in Marvel Studios’ She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved

Adjusting to Life as a Superhero

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law reveals that Jennifer gains the Hulk’s incredible strength following a serious car accident and her subsequent efforts to help her cousin, who happens to be none other than the Hulk, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). Ruffalo returning to his iconic role becomes her unwanted mentor and this series has given us the best version of Smart Hulk that we’ve seen so far. We witness how much of his life has been affected by the Hulk as he doesn’t want his cousin to struggle with her newfound powers like he did, after all, she saw what happened to her cousin and how it ruined his personal life in a lot of ways. So in the beginning, she’s very resistant to them but both quickly realise that her Hulk is very different from Banners. 

I loved the family dynamic the two actors had throughout the first episode. The script is well-written as it perfects sarcasm and banter but also this lovingly antagonistic sort of sibling relationship between them both. The characters have obviously been brought up and grew up very close so it was fun to see them make fun of each other and fight as there’s plenty of action. And for the first time, Ruffalo gets to share the stage with Maslany who’s in the same mocap suit. 

Mark Ruffalo as Smart Hulk / Bruce Banner and Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer “Jen” Walters/She-Hulk in Marvel Studios’ She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL

Expanding The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Joining Maslany in the cast of the series are a host of talented performers—some portraying fellow attorneys, some acting as clients, plus a few family members, friends and surprises.

Nikki Ramos is Jennifer Walters’s closest confidante and paralegal, providing unending support and most sage advice in both personal and professional matters. Jen can always rely on her fun, sarcastic and always fashion-forward friend who’s not afraid to colour outside the lines. Ginger Gonzaga is another fabulous addition to the show and she fills the character’s stylish shoes gracefully. She is certainly the best friend to have around as through work Jen can get fixated so Nikki consistently reminds her that there is a life outside of her job and to embrace the She-Hulk side of herself, her wardrobe is cool and edgy and she is a paralegal. 

Making an entrance at the end of episode one was Jameela Jamil’s character, Titania a narcissistic social media influencer who also happens to have superhuman strength. 

Marvel Studios’ She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL

The series also has messages on the responsibility of those with powers and the people that possess them. Do they refrain from using their powers or do they have a duty to protect those without abilities? 

 Cameos, post-credit scenes, and references do feature as “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is extremely self-aware and self-deprecating. 

Verdict

“She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is easily one of my favourite MCU shows, it does a great job at establishing itself within the timeline and truly takes advantage of a universe where anything can happen. We witness superheroes in a grounded world post-blip as the series gives a new perspective, especially from She-Hulk’s point of view. There’s something for everyone to enjoy as it’ll pleasantly surprise people with a smashing start. Can’t wait to see where the next episode goes!.

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