This movie functions as the first MCU follow-up to the very much ‘end’ feeling of Avengers Endgame. And how does it do? Well, if you think about all the existing MCU movies as if they were one MCU movie, then this movie feels a little like the humorous post-credits sequence.
It picks up a few months after the events of Endgame. Folks are all attempting to recover from the snap and the resulting ‘blip’ where certain folks were gone for five years and then suddenly blipped back. At Peter Parker’s high school, he and most of his classmates that we met in the first movie blipped out and are now back, picking up school where they left. Other classmates that were five years behind them are now in their grade. This includes Brad – a guy who is now all charming and handsome but was a tiny child when they left.
Peter is feeling overwhelmed because he’s trying to live up to the legacy left behind by Tony Stark. Everyone seems to keep pushing him to be the “next Iron Man” when he’s just trying to be the best friendly neighborhood spider-man he can. He is heading out on a class trip through Europe and is bound and determined not to bring his spidey-suit, hoping to just have a vacation. However, as soon as they get to Venice, a giant water monster attacks, Nick Fury shows up to hijack the vacation and give him a mission, and Spidey meets Mysterio. Quentin Beck claims to be a man from another universe chasing these ‘elemental’ monsters and hoping to save our world from the destruction his suffered. Now, if you are familiar with Mysterio at all from any of the animated series or from the comics, that description confused you, but have patience.
Director Jon Watts, who also did Spider-Man Homecoming, keeps the same tone here. He explains Peter’s general feeling of not-being-good-enough through interactions with others and exposition. The comedy is fast and funny. The action is wonderful, and while giant and mostly CG, works really well in the context of the movie. The interaction between the cast is fantastic, and they definitely feel like classmates.
- Tom Holland continues to be the best Spider-Man we have had to date. He’s earnest in how much he wants to help, but also just be a kid on a trip with the girl he likes. He’s just so perfect in the role and I cannot wait to see where he goes from here
- Zendaya plays M.J., who still does not refer to Peter as ‘tiger’ at any point – maybe the next one? Her take on the character is interesting, sarcastic, and overall very entertaining.
- Jacob Batalon plays Ned, Peter’s guy-in-the-chair. He’s there to be the best friend, comic relief, and emotional counsel and does all of it with charm and grace.
- Angourie Rice place Betty Brant who does the reporting for the school TV channel? She also begins and ends a whirlwind romance with Ned while on vacation.
- Tony Revolori plays Flash Thompson with the perfect level of adoration of Spider-Man and simultaneous hate of Peter Parker. He’s fantastic at this role and I love him in it.
- Remy Hill plays Brad who is suddenly in class with all these folks. He provides some great comedy.
- Martin Starr plays Mr. Harrington and J.B. Smoove plays Mr. Dell, the two adult chaperones on the trip with the kids. They are basically there to provide even more comedy relief, as neither of them seems to be all that great at chaperoning. I feel like there are piles and piles of outtakes of the two of them riffing and I want to see them!
- Marisa Tomei plays May (she’s dropped the aunt for this younger Peter). What I enjoyed most is that this version is working at a homeless shelter, feeling like a tie-in from the PS4 Spider-Man game. She’s mainly concerned about protecting Peter, but also with making sure Spider-Man is ready to help anywhere at any time.
- Jon Favreau plays Happy Hogan who may or may not be starting a relationship with May. He’s still struggling with how to deal with the loss of his best friend and keeping tabs on the kid Stark chose to mentor.
- Cobie Smulders plays agent Maria Hill who is on assignment with Fury throughout Europe.
- Samuel L. Jackson plays Nick Fury who seems to be a bit more sassy then he has been in the past. Of course, he’s missing five years, and he’s not at all happy about that.
- Jake Gyllenhaal plays Quentin Beck or Mysterio. He’s perfect for this role as Stark-surrogate when Peter first meets him.
Overall, the movie is super fun with great action. It’s smaller than Endgame, but it is supposed to be. If you liked Spider-Man Homecoming, you will definitely enjoy this one.
9 out of 10 – so fun, so wonderful, also – love that returning cameo at the end.
I cannot wait to see what happens in the next one. I used to want a D'onofrio Kingpin appearance, but his Kingpin is pretty R rated for this very PG13 Spider-Man. But, we could still get a Sinister Six!