What Parents Need To Know About Moon Knight, Marvel's Dark New Series On Disney+
The hero of the Marvel’s latest mini-series is darker than fans of the MCU might be used to...
Nerds rejoice! Marvel’s latest series Moon Knight will be streaming on Disney+ starting March 30. The limited series, which stars Oscar Isaac, is six episodes long, with new episodes coming out once a week. But fans of the comic have noted that Moon Knight isn’t your average superhero, and the source material is a bit more gritty, and macabre than, say, Spider-Man. So, is Moon Knight appropriate for kids to watch? Here’s what you need to know before making your decision...
Moon Knight is rated TV-14
Though many fans speculated that the darker tone of the Moon Knight comics would lead to, perhaps, a TV-MA rating, the series will follow the tradition of other MCU series on Disney+ with a TV-14 rating. Inverse notes that while this may disappoint some adult fans, both WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier showed that, even with a middle school friendly rating, Marvel has managed to delve into deep psychological ground with its “darker” characters and plot lines.
Marvel bigwig Kevin Feige told Empire, “He’s brutal. ... There are moments [in the series] when Moon Knight is wailing on another character, and it is loud and brutal, and the knee-jerk reaction is, ‘We’re gonna pull back on this, right?’ No. We’re not pulling back. There’s a tonal shift. This is a different thing. This is Moon Knight.”
The character has been described as Marvel’s Batman
Moon Knight is the alias (well, one of them... more on that in a bit) of Marc Spector, a rabbi’s son turned Marine turned CIA operative turned wealthy mercenary. When a job goes wrong in Sudan, Spector dies, only to be revived by the Egyptian moon god Khonshu, who tasks him with making up for his life of violence by protecting and avenging the innocent. So... not quite Batman but there are definitely similarities (not least of which the dark, tortured sensibilities of both men and franchises).
Moon Knight’s nemesis in the series is Arthur Harrow, played by Ethan Hawke, an unhinged cult leader associated with the Egyptian god Ammit, who encourages Spector to “embrace the chaos” inside of him.
Mental illness is a central theme in the show
Spector suffers from dissociative personality disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder), an aspect of the character that drew Isaac to the role. “What I love most about this thing is that it’s an exploration of a mind that doesn’t know itself,” he told Empire. “A human being that doesn’t know his own brain. I found that really moving: what the mind is capable of as far as survival.” Isaac dove into the challenge (which he described as “massive”), adopting different attitudes, body language, and accents for each of Spector’s personalities — Steven Grant and Mr. Knight.
There’s definite shades of psychological and supernatural horror
The official trailer of Moon Knight gives a better sense how the series embraces the unclear lines between mental illness, the spiritual realm, and how scary that can be.
What’s real? What’s a dream? What do you believe when your brain is showing you things that are absolutely unbelievable? Whereas MCU movies have tended to focus on space adventures — lots of aliens and different dimensions — there seems to be a shift within the stories the company is telling that run supernatural and magical (think Dr. Strange and Agatha Harkness).
Final word: proceed with caution
Though the rating of Moon Knight is in keeping with most of the MCU, which tends to be TV-14 or PG-13, the “tone shift” creators are talking about may mean that while parents were cool with Iron Man or The Avengers, Moon Knight may not be exactly the same kind of PG-13/TV-14 that fans are used to from Marvel.