Directed by Jon Watts | Written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers
Action superhero comedy is a genre that lends itself to goofball setups and often sight gags. Spiderman has long been the franchise that has kept a good balance of the goofiness of being a growing teen with superhuman abilities with a sense of moral justice torn between saving the day and protecting family and friends. Now comedy is hard. The two writers had a tall order with trying to give audiences some humour following the events of Avenger’s Endgame and Infinity War. I would like to say they did well with the comedy by only missing a few beats here and there, and overall this is a decent film. So let’s swing into the story!
Here come the spoilers.
The film picks up eight months after the events of Endgame and Infinity War to what people are referring to as the ‘blip’. We quickly see that Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is still heavily impacted by those events and the loss of his mentor and hero, Tony Stark. With Tony Stark gone, the world, and Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) are seeking out a new superhero to protect them. In Mexico, Nick and Maria (Cobie Smulders) discover an elemental being that gets destroyed by a new superhero, named Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), from another dimension who is seeking revenge against the elementals that destroyed his home world. I felt this was a great way to expand upon the multiverse. I would like to have seen a flashback here of his world being destroyed and the lengths he went through to track them down. This is the first misstep with Beck’s character.
Marvel has been on a decent track record with humanizing their villains, but here they miss a step and it affects the entire film. This goes back to the Iron Man 3 film with the whole switcharoo on the villain plot. Granted, they stayed true to the comic’s origins, but this is where I felt they could have changed it a bit for the sake of expanding upon the multiverse. The revenge twist is not so much a twist and it just falls flat. The ending is a surprise cliff hanger with the return of a fan favourite, J Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons), announcing to the world the identity of Spiderman.
Peter’s handling of grief, new responsibilities, and the truth being discovered by his love interest MJ are all handled very well throughout the film. I would like to have seen more scenes with Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) and Happy (Jon Farveau). Making Peter feel uncomfortable would have created some neat comedic moments. I would have them take a surprise visit to the countries where Peter was enjoying a school trip. Perhaps Peter would see them taking a romantic gondola ride while fighting the water elemental. Or, have them strolling by the Eiffel Tower while Peter saves them without them knowing. This would explain Happy being close to keep tabs on Peter while trying to romance Aunt May. This, I felt, was a huge comedic misstep.
Yet comedy in film is hard to write because not everyone may laugh at the jokes. For the most part, the film delivers a decent Spiderman film, but not a memorable one. Make us have compassion for the villain and give us more Happy Hogan and Aunt May.
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