Is Moon Knight a Hero?

Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector/Steven Grant and Gus the goldfish in Marvel Studios' MOON KNIGHT

Moon Knight has changed the way many of us view the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s characters.

Moon Knight/Marc Spector suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder, a condition in which he has numerous personas, one of which is Steven Grant. We have a diverse group of people inside those personalities, which provides for a fascinating look into DID, how we interpret comic book characters, and more. As a result, Moon Knight has been one of my favorite things to come out of the MCU… all it needs to do is stick the landing on this week’s season finale.

The MCU heroes are usually pretty cut and dry—they are good people trying to do good things. Sure, they make mistakes; it’s part of the process when becoming a hero. But most of these heroes are clearly heroes. It’s their villains that sometimes have good points, but go about resolving their issues in a good way—usually in a much more dangerous, villainous way. Moon Knight isn’t as black and white when it comes to being a hero—which leads to the question, is Moon Knight a hero?

Moon Knight is, for the most part, an antihero, which means he doesn’t have all of the conventional heroic qualities that we associate with “heroes,” but he also isn’t a villain. Antiheroes, on the other hand, can be more entertaining because they aren’t bound by the clean-cut nature of a hero. Think of Sony’s Venom or DC’s Harley Quinn—the idea of a hero with an edge is appealing and works on many more emotional levels.

What does it really mean to be an “antihero”?

Because Moon Knight is an antihero, we have the darker tales that come with it without having to have some sort of upstanding resolution. Consider the character Steve Rogers/Captain America. We admire him because he is always striving to do the right thing. He aspires to be a good guy—Rogers is the very definition of a “Hero”. Moon Knight isn’t one of those characters.

He wants to do the right thing, but his tactics aren’t always the best or most heroic. In some ways, this makes a guy like him more interesting to watch because you know he’s not going to do the kind of justice that one of our more straight-laced heroes would. Moon Knight’s less-than-perfect deeds also imply that he won’t be the most sympathetic character for other heroes, and it’ll be interesting to watch how he interacts with other characters now that he’s joined the MCU; assuming he’s given the chance to interact with the larger universe—one of the things that makes Moon Knight great is how not connected it is with the grander cinematic universe.

Whether or not he ends up mixing it up with the rest of the MCU is anyone’s guess, one that we may be able to better make after Wednesday’s season finale. Regardless of his fate, Moon Knight—both the show and the character—has been a great change of pace from what Marvel Studios tends to give us.

Moon Knight airs on Disney+ with new episodes released on Wednesdays. The season finale will air on May 4th, 2022.

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Kevin M. Gallagher, Jr
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