Marvel's Next Avengers Film #8: Moon Knight
What about the vengeful Avenger, Moon Knight?
With a sequel to The Avengers officially confirmed by Marvel/Disney, comic book fans the world over will be contemplating which of the publishers other heroes could be added to the line-up, potentially getting their own solo movie as soon as 2014 filling the popularly acknowledged gap in the schedule alongside Captain America 2 that summer. Of course, we have to bear in mind that Marvel Studios do not own the film rights to characters as key to their comic book universe as Daredevil, Spider-Man, Wolverine or the Fantastic Four all of whom have allied with or become members of the Avengers at one time or another but with that consideration in place, here is another suggestion for Marvels Next Avengers Film: Moon Knight (Marc Spector)Why?: Moon Knight is often blagged as being a rip-off of Batman. But anyone who says this clearly has not read the comics. He is a powerless human being (if you ignore the time he was bitten by The Werewolf, and when he was possessed by his own God, Khonshu) who has trained to an extraordinary level of fighting prowess. He use his fortune to kit himself out with the edgiest crime-fighting armour and gadgets, including a moon-shaped helicopter. By day he plays millionaire philanthropist whilst at night he costumes up and faces down crime. Damn it. Okay so he is a bit Batman-esque when it is put that way. But I have missed out the most interesting part; he is completely crazy. Marc Spector slips between a number of personas as he works to combat crime, never quite sure of who he is. The more he fights, the more he falls apart. He believes that he was brought back from death to serve as the 'Fist Of Khonshu' and act out against humanity for the God Of Vengeance. And this is a task that he takes a somewhat gruesome pride in at times. Whilst mostly a loner, Moon Knight has found himself numbered amongst the 'outsider' heroes of New York's alleyways (otherwise known as Marvel Knights): The Punisher, Daredevil and Spiderman. He was a regular member of the West Coast Avengers, and also held a full-time Avengers membership until he burned it in an act of rebellion. More recently he has grouped up with the Secret Avengers and the newest incarnation of Heroes-For-Hire. But the team-player hat is not one that sits well. He is at his best when he is leaping solo from the rope-ladder of the Moon-Copter and laying a fist-fury onto the guilty. A champion boxer, master of multiple martial arts and Olympic-level gymnast Marc Spector is a man who can look after himself. And lets not forget about his awesome array of justice-dealing weapons. Spiked knuckle dusters, adamantium staff and his signature crescent darts that are fired out of wrist-mounted gauntlet-guns in this modern era. Add to this his carbonadium armour and Moon Knight is one damned violent and well-protected adversary. Stuff the bat. It is the shining white beacon of vengeance against the night sky that criminals need fear. Story?: With any comic book character there are decades of great stories that could be molded into a movie version. Yet with Moon Knight the decision is a little more specific. He has had a range of very sporadic and short lived comic series over the years, and with each new writer came a completely new take on Moon Knight's character. Some made him more human, more mad, more high-tech or more religious. So the question to be asked is really "Which Moon Knight do we want to see on the silver screen?" I'm going to put forward that even though I love and adore the original take that creator Doug Moench took with the loved-one-protecting gallant hero, it is Charlie Huston's modern reinvention of Moon Knight that makes for the most exciting, dynamic and cinematic interpretation. A man so deluded, so unstable that even his close friends are backing away for fear of their lives. A serious anti-hero. Now, the film that I am proposing is not one for the kiddly-winks to watch before bedtime. It would tie in with a movie-version branch of the Marvel Knights brand that is aimed at adults and has a heavy focus on violence; similar to the Punisher flicks but without being so... what's the word for those kind of films? Crap. We're talking darker than Christopher Nolan's Batman movies but with a psychological narrative that drives the overt violence instead of the usual kill-for-kill sake. Charlie Huston sets up a world where Marc Spector is a broken man in both body and spirit. He has been badly injured in his final showdown with arch-nemesis Bushman and Moon Knight is no more. But it is the untold story that leads up to Huston's series that would make for a great and action-packed film. New York city. Firebombs rip through a sleazy neighbourhood. A silver crescent flashes over the rooftops. Moon Knight saves a number of lives from a blazing building, watched from the shadows by a red-cowled figure. We find ourselves in a world where only one politician is brave enough to stand for mayoral office against the crime-corrupted competition and has recently survived an assassination attempt. The assassin, a young man with no political ties or previous arrests, has been killed and his image plastered across the city as a face for the faceless criminal element. Moon Knight stands at the fringes unwilling to become involved in the games of power. The voice that speaks to him as he patrols the streets directs him toward regular crime. It also urges him to kill. To take vengeance for all who have suffered. But he defies the voice as it echoes in his head, choosing pain over death for his victims. Quite a lot of pain mind you. There's the setup. How about I tell you the plot already? Moon Knight encounters the figure in red who is revealed to be Stained Glass Scarlet; a religious woman seeking retribution for the death of her son - the assassin. As she moves through the mystery that was her son's life she takes fatal revenge on those who were involved. The voice in Moon Knight's head whispers of a perfect romance in blood and murder, but instead he tries to stop her and save her from her own actions. He also spies a figure from his past. Raoul Bushman. The man who killed Marc Spector and created the Moon Knight. Spector now becomes split between following the coercion of the voice in his head (who is revealed to be a spectre of his god Khonshu, desperate for scream-filled offerings) to track down Bushman to take the vengeance he is owed, and the attempt to save the soul and life of Scarlet who is on suicide run. Both stories come together as Moon Knight discovers that Bushman is working for the 'brave' politician to knock off criminal bosses and pave the way for his 'zero tolerance' campaign. At the same time Scarlet uncovers Bushman as the person who sent her son to kill the politician. He has been using his protection by the politician to wipe out criminal competition, before killing him and taking over control of not only the syndicates but also to place his own puppet in the government. Scarlet injures Moon Knight when he tries to stop her, and confronts Bushman alone. Moon Knight arrives just in time to watch as Bushman chews through her neck with his steel teeth and leaves her suffocating on her own blood. The figure of Khonshu appears and offers to resurrect Scarlet in exchange for the sacrificial offering of Bushman. Moon Knight leaps into final battle only to find himself outmatched due to his injury. In last desperate attempt he leaps from the rooftop clutching Bushman and the pair crash to the street below. Bodies shattered Moon Knight watches as Bushman begins to die, but Khonshu requires a true sacrifice. With one of his crescent darts Spector cuts off Bushman's face and screams into the night. Yep. Not for the kiddies. Maybe a little too dark for the regular Avenger fan? But spot on for the older audience who have created such a market for Marvel Knights, Wanted and Kick-Ass. Likelihood?: Jon Cooksey (writer of 'The Collector' and 'Rugrats' renown) had been reported developing a Moon Knight TV series way back around 2006. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the scripts were not picked up and the project is on the back-burner. His website supports this by only mentioning that he wrote a Moon Knight pilot episode. Compared to all of the other big-name and big-dollar Avengers that are being proposed, Moon Knight is a little fish. His comics series all tend to have very short runs (60 issues is the longest so far for Marc Spector: Moon Knight) and therefore suggest a niche readership. And as we all know the smaller the audience the harder it is to convince a studio of risking millions of dollars. However if there really is a chance that Ant Man gets his own movie then Moonie is a shoe-in. Casting?: Alright, fantasy casting hat on. Who could play a millionaire playboy meets mentally deranged lunatic on the edge? As far as I can see there is only one actor of Hollywood range who could tackle this role and still bring in the audience. Jake Gyllenhaal. No one can doubt his abilities as an actor or his perfect range of awkward moody (think Donnie Darko or Zodiac), and though the film itself stunk, Prince of Persia: The Sand of Time showed that he can handle himself in a muscle-bound, unshaven action style. As for supporting cast, Michael Jai White would cover both the dangerous glare and the actual fighting prowess of Raoul Bushman. Just paint his face as a skull, slip in some steel dentures and you have a whole bundle of terrifying. Julianne Moore would be my favourite pick to play Stained Glass Scarlet, but age-wise we would have trouble putting her opposite Mr Gyllenhaal. So that leaves the role open for a wonderful actor who can play sexy, motherly and damn dangerous, Christina Hendricks (of Mad Men fame). The toughest casting is actually working out who could play the voice of Khonshu. What accent would he have? Most classic cinema would suggest that we should follow convention and have a British voice for anyone from ancient times (Christopher Lee perhaps?) but he is an Egyptian god so there is a suggestion that we should err on the Arabic side. Do you reckon Omar Sharif would still be up for it now that he is in his 80's?Director?: This take on the Moon Knight mythos needs a director with a flare for both the visual and the darker tone of life. Zack Snyder is the first to spring to mind due to his wonderful handling of the action/heart balance in Watchmen. However I also think that the internal struggle of Marc Spector against his mental demon is a plot point that could easily veer into the ludicrous. And it is for this fact in particular that I volunteer Danny Boyle for the task of helming a Moon Knight cinematic epic. A man who has proven time and again that he can portray characters who sit so carefully between right and wrong, good and bad, sane and insane.Let us know your thoughts about a Moon Knight movie in the comments below and check back soon as we reveal more candidates for Marvels Next Avengers!If you missed them, here are the first six entries in this series:#1: Ms. Marvel#2: Doctor Strange#3: Luke Cage and Iron Fist#4: Ant-Man and Wasp#5: Black Panther#6: Namor#7: Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver