There are so many things that I love about the new ‘Spider-Man’ that it feels kind of petty to harp on its little problems. So, I’m going to start with my little peccadilloes and then work my way into all the things I really love. Now, I wrote that these problems are small, but I can’t deny they bugged me enough that I’m prevented from screaming through the roof about how awesome this movie really is. I’m hoping that I just overlook them the second go around, but for now I still have the slight stench of cheese in my nose that I’m trying to get it out.
I know that cheesy moments in Spidey films should seem like a past time to people at this point, and they really aren’t that bad here, but I just can’t seem to shake how these moments could have easily got the joke across without me rolling my eyes. For instance, the first major action sequence of the film starts with Peter putting on a silly looking mask. The joke is funny for a second, but then he wears it the whole action sequence and it just makes a cool scene feel silly. Then, they cap it off by literally beating Spidey over the head with a giant bell over and over. Again, once was funny, but doing it again and again make it cheesy.
There are a few other moments like this, that had me rolling my eyes a bit throughout the film and a few that made me laugh, but only a few minutes of it really bothered me much. The other issue I had with the film is only going to bother hardcore Spidey comics, shows, and video game fans. I’ll try to keep this as vague as humanly possible. Nobody wants to ruin any surprises here. Let’s just say, I literally went into the movie thinking that it would be great if this one thing doesn’t happen, because it would be obvious and close off some very interesting possibilities (at least temporarily). Well, that one thing happened, and it was a bit disappointing, at first.
However, what happens because of this twist (which casual fans likely won’t see coming) leads to a fantastic third act and some of the most visually stimulating work of any ‘Spider-Man’ film. In fact, I love the third act so much that it kills me that I can’t really mention much about it without ruining certain secrets. In fact, if you haven’t seen ‘Avengers: Endgame’ then I can’t really tell you about any of the story in this movie without ruining the end of that one. The third act secrets, along with the events that follow, are some of the most clever and entertaining moments in the entire MCU. So, I’ll just keep silent about most of the plot.
Obviously Peter Parker is alive now or this movie wouldn’t exist. So, I’m giving that away. Surprise! This time around, Peter (Tom Holland) is heading to Europe and all about telling MJ (Zendaya) that he has feelings for her. One of the best things about any Spidey film is the romantic chemistry with MJ or Gwen, and luckily it’s pretty solid here when it’s allowed to breath. Most of this movie plays out like a vacation comedy that keeps getting interrupted by superhero shenanigans. Which is both refreshing at times and silly at others, but we covered that already. The things that work here far outweigh the things that don’t.
I’ll try not to give away too much in my praise, but I have to give everyone their dues here. The biggest going to Jake Gyllenhaal. He is absolutely outstanding as Mysterio. This character has long been one of the most compelling in the Spidey universe and he is given such justice here that it was well worth the wait! The action sequences, particularly the final one in London, are near the top of the ‘Spider-Man’ movies as well. The chemistry between MJ and Peter is a massive step up from the plot surprise driven love story of the last film. Also, Zendaya is just plain perfect here as MJ. She showed a dry sense of humor in the last film, but this movie lets her really shine with a multifaceted performance and comedic timing that zings. Michael Giacchino’s score also makes a big improvement from the last one by doubling down on the brilliant theme and delivering clever riffs to jive along with it. Then there are the end credit sequences that totally rule and provide the best cameos of any MCU movie ever!
Honestly, if it weren’t for the slight cheese factor, this would be in contention for the best Spidey film ever made. Instead, it will have to settle for the best of the two new films. And Tom Holland will have to just accept that being the best Spider-Man (which he is) doesn’t mean you have the best movie. That one is still ‘Spider-Man 2’.
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