Marvel’s Moon Knight: Gods and Monsters (Finale) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
Although Moon Knight has been mostly uneven, it has charted a great path towards its finale in the last two episodes. Unfortunately, it squanders its potential with messy and rushed conclusions.
Marc (Oscar Isaac) reconciling with his past and mending his relationship with Steven has been the primary focus of the last two episodes, so it’s kind of nice that they take a backseat early on so we can catch up with Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) as he finally frees Ammit (voiced by Saba Mubarak). Given how much Hawke has really carried this series as Harrow and made Ammit an incredibly dangerous force, there’s been some great build-up to these two finally coming together. At first, their alliance lives up to the hype with Arthur becoming a more dominating force with the soul reaping magic that comes from his demonic-looking staff and Ammit finally being unleashed in her complete form. Her alligator god design is nice and the sequence of Ammit making Arthur her avatar is super fitting, but they end up losing their allure with the more action-heavy tone in this finale.
Both Arthur and Ammit have remained intriguing largely because they are such philosophical and intellectual villains. It’s mainly how Hawke has made Arthur into a compelling cult leader and it’s a shame that the finale doesn’t lean into that more. Instead of maybe making the final battle between Harrow and Marc more psychological and horror-driven like most of their bouts have been, the big finale battle literally feels ripped from Power Rangers. Arthur and Marc’s fight is just a basic scrap with some magic and explosions thrown in while Ammit tangling with Khonshu (F. Murray Abraham) looks like a giant monster fight. The visual effects are nice and some parts of it are cool, especially Steven and Marc switching back and forth, but it feels like a generic way to ends things. It just shifts so hard into action in a way that feels forced and misses the opportunity to have a more unique kind of finale duel between Harrow and Marc.
The stronger focus on action does showcase Layla (May Calamawy) using her new power though, but it begs the question if it feels earned. To help Marc and Steven, who regain their power and work a better deal with Khonshu, defeat Harrow, Layla becomes the avatar of Taweret (voiced by Antonia Salib) and officially becomes the MCU’s Scarlet Scarab. Scarlet Scarab is a lesser-known Egyptian hero in Marvel’s catalogue and looks a little different here, but this costume design is really rad and Layla’s presence as an Egyptian superhero has a great impact on representation in the MCU. However, that impact doesn’t overshadow the fact that this sudden turn for her character doesn’t really feel earned. Truthfully, her character hasn’t really grown much in the series, and it feels like such a forced part to her character. Layla becoming Scarlet Scarab is such a rushed part of this finale and it doesn’t even get a satisfying conclusion.
She just kind of disappears after Marc and her beat Arthur and Ammit, and the way this finale ends, post-credit scene included, just doesn’t feel all that satisfying. Admittedly, this finale does have some good build-up for Jake Lockley, a third and incredibly violent personality in Marc. The whole blackout moment Marc has in the final battle is great and his and Steven’s reactions are priceless. Even the build-up in the post-credit scene is great and it’s nice how Lockley acts as a loophole for Khonshu to keep his control over Marc. However, it’s a shame that the series basically eliminates Arthur with Lockley killing him off-screen. It’s an unsatisfying way to see the best part of Moon Knight go out and it doesn’t establish a strong enough direction for Moon Knight’s future. His place in the MCU still feels uncertain and it’s disappointing that the rumors of Mahershala Ali’s Blade appearing ended up not being true because this finale really could’ve used a big surprise like that, especially with Moon Knight’s connection to Blade in the comics. The finale really needed to make a statement for Moon Knight that defines his future, and it doesn’t really accomplish that.
While it still has a few shining moments in the more action-packed parts of its finale, Moon Knight ends on a disappointing note with major character turns that don’t fully feel earned and conclusions with Arthur that feel unceremonious. It’s unclear when we’ll exactly see Moon Knight again but frankly, this finale doesn’t make you itch to see him again any time soon.