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On the upcoming March 30th, a big day for insane people who like little weirdos.
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I don’t even know where to begin.
Rarely does an Oscar Isaac endeavor, a joint slay with his bodega buddy Ethan Hawke no less, leave me at a loss for words. Rarely does an accent that isn’t a Nicole Kidman Production would leave me at a loss for words. But hey, there’s always a first for everything, right?
The trailer for Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight starring Academy Award Nominee Elvira Lind’s husband premiered at halftime during some sport I know very little about. Of course, like an insane person, I watched it on Twitter.
Moon Knight follows Marc Spector (Oscar Isaac), an American operative with dissociative identity disorder who is granted the powers of an Egyptian moon deity, Khonshu, and becomes the titular crime-fighting Moon Knight.
The trailer is about a minute and a half long and features Kid Cudi’s Day ‘N’ Nite as our Moon Knight is in London as Steven, one of his personalities that happens to have a British accent. Or to the more discerning ear, British-adjacent. He works in the Egyptian wing of a museum, or maybe the museum’s gift shop, and is useless according to a blonde co-worker. In the comic books, Steven is the billionaire playboy alter. That Steven is often in a fancy suit, where this Steven dresses like he went to my Uni but only on Wednesdays.
He’s restlessly solving a Rubik’s Cube in the opening of the trailer, something Oscar apparently knows how to do. He’s said so. The title of this newsletter comes from one of the opening lines in the trailer, Spector tells the Staying Awake hotline that he cannot discern his reality from his dreams. Or rather, Richard Linklater’s Waking Life from his dreams. I love a good unraveling.
The accent is fun! I think it works! Not for any accuracy’s sake, I’ve spent too much time around British people to know how inane they are about their own voices, but it works for Steven as one of Marc’s alters. It’s a little silly and ridiculous coming out of Oscar Isaac’s mouth, which is why I think many find it jarring, but with so many iconic American superheroes portrayed by British people (two Batmans, two Spider-Men, and a Daredevil) so we should let this one slide, right? No? Okay, yeah.
I want to know what Steven does in his everyday life outside of not sleeping and pretending to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Does he have a Railcard? Has he been using an under 30 railcard for 20 years? Where does he get his coffee and why is at Caffé Nero to complete his punch card? Does he hate SoHo? Has he been to The Prince Charles Cinema, my old stomping ground? Does he buy up all the vegan sausage rolls from Greggs to save for later? Does he have contactless payment set up on his phone? Does he listen to Steely Dan? Has he ever been stranded at a warehouse party in Seven Sisters? These are the questions I want to be answered, one former Londoner to another.
Then Richard Linklater’s Ethan Hawke shows up in styled hair/wig that can only be comparable to anything from Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer (2018). Hawke apparently plays Dr. Arthur Harrow, the antagonist of the series, whom he also apparently modeled after cult leader David Koresh. His appearances in the trailer have so far been cult-like, with people kneeling and reaching out to him as he walks by.
I finished reading Ethan Hawke’s A Bright Ray of Darkness recently and it’s all I can ever seem to talk about. Despite my reservations about his styling choices, I’m actually really excited to see how creepy and menacing Ethan Hawke can be in a role I never thought he would take on. Moreso a project I never thought he would take on. Hawke is an indie darling, a fellow Man of Schrader, and I’m not surprised that it took Isaac’s convincing for him to be excited about a superhero venture. I guess he just has that effect on people?
I’m more interested to know what shenanigans they got up to filming in Budapest, aside from working out in public and taking selfies on a stroll. Do they read together? Has Oscar read Ethan’s new book? Is Ethan interested in coming onboard a hypothetical Triple Frontier 2 where they save Oscar from freezing to death on a mountain?
Moon Knight himself is what I’m the most excited for. Moon Knight is a mouthy little weirdo, and not in that post-Ryan Reynolds Deadpool way. Moon Knight is blunt. Moon Knight is hot. Moon Knight is game. Moon Knight is Cool Girl? Moon Knight famously struggles to work well with others, but knows a lot of people in the game anyway. Moon Knight says shit like this and looks good doing it:
That being said, I desperately need Frank Castle to come back to me now! Like right now! To see Jon Bernthal opposite Oscar Isaac in something outside of Show Me A Hero would actually simultaneously destroy and extend my lifespan.
The costume gloms on to Marc like a mummified Sailor Moon transformation, and the next thing you know he’s beating down on a bad guy like the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen himself. I’m into it.
What I’m most concerned with at the moment is how much of Moon Knight we’ll actually get. I don’t think Disney+’s Marvel shows have a great track record with their six-episode runs. I have fun at the moment, sure, but after that I’m left empty and reeling, knowing full well that I shouldn’t have expected more than I knew I was getting.
I feel like I’ve been going on about this for ages—the idea that expectations must be minimized when dealing with now mind-numbingly plain Superhero category. I have a little bit more hope knowing that Mad Gene Media’s fingerprints might be a little bit more present in Moon Knight. I can fantasize about Punisher, Daredevil, even Blade cameos all I want, but it will never be up to me because Marvel’s fanservice has simply become incessant, looped marketing devices (isn’t all fanservice, though?).
It actually makes me sick that I’m talking about another Marvel property. This is not that kind of newsletter, I swear! The hot people I’m obsessed with happen to be cashing their paycheques from Marvel! It’s not me, it’s them! It’s me still engaging with this shit, though. I am excited for Moon Knight, he seems fun.
Dudes React To…
Moon Knight is the gift that keeps on giving. I don’t think I’m going to survive the press tour if we’re going at this rate.
Hawke and Isaac sat down for Marvel Studios and reacted to the recently released, aforementioned Moon Knight trailer. It’s a lot to process. I thought I would be able to break it down but I am instead trying to prevent a breakdown of my own.
In the reaction video, we catch a glimpse of how much fun they must’ve had filming Moon Knight, and how much fun they have with each other. Isaac is well aware that his Steven accent displays notes of Sickly Victorian Orphan as he quotes Oliver Twist. He and Hawke have a good time pointing out references and easter eggs and share an adorable big hug at the end.
It’s a lot. See for yourself.
I think reaction videos are endlessly fascinating, and a definitive cultural marker of everything post-2009. With content creation (I hate that term) democratized and brands and companies jumping on a more ‘personal’ approach, the lines between the intimacy of user-generated content with the glamour of high-profile subjects like Isaac or Hawke are blurred. It's a good promotional move, much of the appeal of these Marvel properties currently are the personalities attached to them. Moon Knight specifically appeals to weirdos like me, and audiences that are curious to see how actors of their caliber work in these comic book adaptations. Isaac is no stranger to this demographic, obviously, the Poe Dameron of it all, but his enthusiasm for Moon Knight is fun to watch. He’s never been the serious type anyway. Let the man be goofy!
Reaction videos are the perfect PR move for a time where information moves faster than we can register it. It’s ephemeral, gets people talking (about people talking) for the appropriate amount of time, and disappears into the night ready for fans to revisit whenever the idea pops into their heads. It’s as much distant as it is intimate, the right balance of both perfect for anyone’s marketing needs.
Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke may be a more lethal duo than Oscar Isaac and Pedro Pascal on the Triple Frontier press tour. I cannot wait to see how much more fun they’re going to have.