- Film & TV
- 05 Jul 19
First stand-alone since Endgame is a fun, meta, web-slinging success.
Avengers: Endgame has come and gone, concluding in an epic, loss-filled battle. Not everyone made it home. So what does that home even look like, now that Thanos and some of the Avengers are gone?
For Peter Parker (Tom Holland), the world looks a bit dimmer. Having experienced more violence and loss than any 16-year-old should, Peter is physically and emotionally burned out. All he wants to do is relax on a class trip to Europe and maybe, finally, tell MJ (Zendaya, a lovely portrayal of defensive teen posturing) how he feels. The script embraces the warmth and humour and silliness of its teen characters, as Jacob Batalon continues to delight as chatty nerd Ned, while Martin Starr has a nice role as a clueless teacher.
But in Venice, the high-school students are confronted by the Elementals, huge, spectacular beasts of destruction. But Spider-Man isn’t alone in fighting them off. Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), aka Mysterio, is on hand with some iridescent green lightning powers – and some kind words for Peter, who is craving some mentorship and direction. After all, he’s still a kid.
Of course, all is not as it seems, which is a familiar enough twist. But writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers play with ideas of convention and legacy, answering some questions left by Endgame and opening up others – questions that can be as political and meta as you like. Why do we want to see the world being destroyed, only to be saved by one hero? What stories do we invest in and choose to believe? What questions do we not ask about those in power, and how they got there?
These questions are asked against a backdrop of fun and fantastic fight scenes in beautiful European cities; swirling, psychedelic imagery courtesy of Mysterio; and a great central performance. Holland’s Spider-Man has always been loveably earnest, but he layers that with Peter’s grief and imposter syndrome for a nuanced take. Spider-Man may be a few years off adulthood, but we’re seeing him grow and evolve, and Holland’s up for the task.
A fun, layered and action-packed effort.