"Moon Knight" may not have been exactly spotless, but it was Marvel's first foray into the fantasy/horror side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Of course, the Disney+ series does not operate outside the inherent restrictions of its maker. However, it does push the boundaries from time to time. This is especially true when "Moon Knight" decides to delve even deeper into the supernatural, delivering an episode or two that truly feels like a subversion of the MCU. The "Indiana Jones"-lite narrative is often grounded by the shockingly intimate visuals, which speak to the roots of the filmmakers behind the camera.

Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, who directed two episodes of "Moon Knight" season 1, brought their own indie sensibilities to the big-scale effort. They had previously helmed low-budget, high-concept films like "Spring" and "The Endless," often acting as directors, producers, and lead actors due to monetary limitations. The filmmaking duo is no stranger to blending horror and fantasy, but "Moon Knight" marked their first foray into the big-budget realm. However, that didn't stop them from attempting to put their own personal spin on the MCU.

'We Put A Lot Of Ourselves Into It'

In an interview with the New York Times, Benson and Moorhead were asked about their experience tackling a more commercial project like "Moon Knight" after years of directing strictly personal indie films. Though working in the MCU has its limitations, the filmmakers said that they were welcomed to impose their own vision onto the show. Moorhead elaborated:

"It isn't that we have to erase our personality and work within the machine. What [Marvel] wanted from us was our voice. It comes out mostly in the visuals, because scripts are separate from direction, but we put a lot of ourselves into it. But your thesis is definitely correct. There's by definition nothing more personal than an independent film."

I mean, it's hard to compare a personal passion project to boarding a series that has the plot, characters, and everything in-between already set in stone. But that's precisely what makes "Moon Knight" an interesting change of pace for the filmmakers. Moreover, working on the series has given them "opportunities to work with collaborators we wouldn't otherwise, which has expanded our creative worlds." The inherently impersonal nature of working under the MCU can be balanced, too.

Balancing Things Out

According to Moorhead, bouncing between different types of projects is beneficial to his and Benson's growth as filmmakers:

"The greatest terror we both hold is losing our curiosity and ability to grow. It can happen, and it can sneak up on you. If you only ever make your own films, you might start to repeat yourself because you think you've got a bunch of great ideas, but they're all the same idea. We only want to make stuff that expresses ourselves purely. Right now, doing something big and doing something indie, they feed each other very nicely."

In "Moon Knight," the directors were able to tap into the supernatural side of the MCU unlike anyone before them. Sure, the series didn't break the MCU mold entirely, but the experience proved fruitful to them. Moreover, the bits of wisdom earned through building their portfolio of small-budget pictures transferred over to the big stuff. That personal touch is present in the Disney+ series, be it the camera-work or the tantalizing action sequences featuring the titular character.

Whichever way one feels about the "Moon Knight" finale, it stands to reason a second season or a feature-length film about the titular superhero could lean into the horror and fantasy elements even more. In the meantime, Benson and Moorhead will return to the MCU by directing the upcoming "Loki" season 2.

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