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James McAvoy in Split vs. Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight: Who Did It Better?

James McAvoy in Split vs. Oscar Isaac in Moon Knight Who Did It Better

Two of the greatest actors to have ever lived, Oscar Isaac and James McAvoy are not stranger to playing characters with multiple personality disorder. James McAvoy played Kevin Wendell Crumb aka ‘the Horde’ in the 2016 movie Split. Oscar Isaac played Marc Spector/Steven Grant/Jake Lockley in Moon Knight. But the question is – who did it better? Who nailed the D.I.D element of their character better? Was it James McAvoy or Oscar Isaac?

James McAvoy – Range Of Personalities

Kevin Wendell Crumb - Split 2016
Kevin Wendell Crumb

Split is rightly called James McAvoy’s greatest performance ever. In a performance of a lifetime, the X-Men and Atonement actor portrays 24 different personalities. And that is in the span of a theatrical runtime for a typical movie. Mind you, he does not have that much screen time. But he does every personality so well that even if that persona only makes it to the screen for mere seconds, they are still memorable. Split marks James McAvoy’s greatest achievement as an actor. The range of acting he showed in that movie made the entire universe take a bow.

Oscar Isaac – Personal Connection Between Personas

How does marc have 2 souls in Duat
Marc Spector and Steven Grant in Episode 5

While James McAvoy liked getting his hands dirty with range, Oscar Isaac’s acting was more into building a personal connection between the personas. It was quality over quantity. Oscar Isaac’s Marc Spector and Steven Grant started out as frenemies. They were rivals with their own causes, ideals, and goals. But by the end of the show, they had realized they were each other’s one true superpower. That moment in the Duat when Marc returns from the Field of Reeds to be with Steven, acknowledging that he was all Marc had ever needed, how can we forget that!! If that doesn;t movie you, we don’t know what will.

James McAvoy – Way More Intense As A Character

Split - James McAvoy
Split – James McAvoy

James McAvoy’s personas were varied and ranged from an arrogant toddler to a control freak woman and a cannibalistic wall-crawling beast. Where every actor would have just surrendered and let the script guide him through the flow, James McAvoy’s Kevin Wendell Crumb made his own path. You cannot accomplish such a Godly feat on hardwork and dedication alone. You need talent for that. And talent is something McAvoy has in plenty.

Oscar Isaac – His Personas Are More Relatable

Steven Grant Moon Knight Episode 2
Steven Grant – Kind, Genuine, Gentle, CLUMSY

Marc Spector is stubborn and arrogant. Steven Grant is kind and genuine but careless and clumsy. And everyone one of us reading this is either a bit of Marc or a bit of Steven (or a mixture of both). It was very hard for people to relate with James McAvoy’s split personas because that’s not how this mental disorder worked in real life. On the other hand, Oscar Isaac’s DID was a central part of the story arc with or without his Moon Knight powers.

James McAvoy – Scares The Living Daylights Out Of us

Split (2016) - James McAvoy
James McAvoy as ‘The Beast’

This is where this guy really shines. The David Dunn appearance at the end of Split was a major shocker. Before that, we never actually believed that Kevin Wendell Crumb was telling the truth and legendary persona – “the Beast” was actually real. When Crumb started to crawl on walls and eat human corpses in the film, we were freaking terrified of what was going to happen next. Split may not have given us the most accurate portrayal of Dissociative Identity Disorder to the fans but it surely gave the most utterly terrifying one.

Oscar Isaac – Showcases The Traumatic Origin Story

Marc Spector's backstory in Moon Knight makes the fans cry
Marc Spector’s backstory in Moon Knight makes the fans cry

A major point for Oscar Isaac’s Marc Spector/Steven Grant was showcasing the traumatic story behind Marc’s condition. Split never explored too much in that area. We never truly know the impact of the trauma that broke Crumb’s mind. But we know all too well how a child with an abusive mother, who kept blaming him for the death of her youngest son, something he had no control over, did to Oscar Isaac’s Marc Spector. And that right there made us all feel for Oscar Isaac’s character.

Written by Bibhu Prasad Panda

With a Bachelor's in Engineering and a Master's in Marketing and Operations, Bibhu found a love for writing, working for many different websites. He joined FandomWire in July 2020 and worked his way to his current position of Content Strategist. Bibhu has been involved in operating and managing FandomWire's team of writers, diversifying into varied, exotic fields of pop culture.