“People… need to believe. And nowadays, they’ll believe anything.”
With the emotional impact of its climax still so fresh, it was never going to be the easiest of tasks to follow Avengers: Endgame. It’s on the shoulders of the famous web-slinger that that duty falls. Spider-Man is nothing if not a safe choice to lighten the mood though. Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spidey is more engaging and funnier than ever as he negotiates one of his trickiest challenges yet: teenage romance.
It’s not all light and breezy though. While it does so at a zippy enough pace, the opening is lumbered with the heavy lifting of establishing the universe’s post-Endgame status quo. The loss of Tony Stark weighs heavily on Peter as he strives to cope with his heroic duties and live a normal young life, all without the guiding hand of his mentor. Holland does an excellent job of conveying the internal struggle that Peter faces in dealing with the expectation put on him by himself and those around him. With so much responsibility, it’s no wonder he needs a holiday.
Fitting then that it’s when Peter lands in Europe for his school vacation that things really ramp up. Or more accurately, it’s when Maria Hill, Nick Fury and charismatic new superhero Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) hijack said vacation. While Hill and Fury turn out to be disappointingly inactive participants, Gyllenhaal’s charming and confident Mysterio, is anything but. His illusion-filled bag of tricks elevates many of the otherwise serviceable action setpieces to imaginative and unpredictable treats. And it’s this unpredictability which leads to a surprisingly bold end note for the film, one that promises to shake up the future of the Spider-Man franchise significantly. He is, simply put, the highlight of the film. Except perhaps the post-credits scene…now that really is quite something.
Rating (out of 5):