Okay, let’s be honest here, this review is going to have spoilers in it, because it’s hard to discuss this movie without them, especially if you haven’t seen Endgame yet.
SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT FORWARD. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Hey, surprise, Peter Parker comes back to life in Avengers: Endgame! After his emotional goodbye in Avengers: Infinity War shook fans up in a way they weren’t ready to handle, myself included, many were happy to see him return after Hulk used the Stark brand Infinity Gauntlet to snap everyone back into existence.
That was a mouthful.
Okay, so this movie picks up right where Endgame left off, with Peter and the rest of the world moving on from the effects of the Snap (jokingly called the “Blip” in their world now) The movie starts with a cute little memorial video for Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Black Widow, and Vision set to the tune of “I Will Always Love You”, followed by the real effects of something like that happening. Aunt May reveals that when she “blipped”, she came right back into her home, now occupied by another family. Peter and his friends have to deal with many of their classmates now being five years older. Luckily for Peter, his friends Ned, MJ, Betty, and Aunt May were blipped along with him so they didn’t age. Also, Aunt May and Happy may or may not be dating (they are), which is a cute throwback to the comics when Aunt May was dating Jarvis.
Peter, trying to enjoy high school and possibly start dating MJ, wants to take a break from being Spider-Man, as one does after he helped save the universe and watched his mentor and father figure die. But of course, Nick Fury has different plans for him now that Fury has met Quentin Beck (Mysterio), a hero from another dimension, who shows up because Elementals from his universe have arrived in ours.
Now, obviously, readers of Spider-Man comics know this story is complete bull (at least Mysterio’s version of it). The first hour of the movie does a great job of portraying Mysterio as a benevolent hero that Peter starts looking to as a replacement father figure, and the reveal of Mysterio’s treachery in the second hour is genius. He gives an obvious super-villain monologue disguised as an employer toasting to his employees at a work happy hour (one of which is Ralphie from A Christmas Story, who was in the first Iron Man movie as the random scientist getting yelled at by Jeff Bridges’ Obadiah Stane, who now gets a name here). He reveals himself as a former Stark employee who got laid off after the events of Endgame, and was angry that he and the rest of his gang didn’t get any compensation for their work, and with the chaos of the current world, they’re taking advantage by posing as a new superhero, and it almost works, but thanks to MJ who found a piece of their VR tech during the last battle, exposes the plan to Peter.
Once again, the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Spider-Man and his rogue gallery manage to be top notch. I’m a bit over the whole “villains getting their stuff from Stark’s discarded technology” routine, but twice isn’t too bad at this point. I like that they’ve taken two villains in Vulture and Mysterio, who were supposed to be the villains in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4, and used them for these films. Both villains are seen as second or even third tier in most comic book readers’ eyes, especially someone like Vulture. Seriously, how do you make a guy in a green bird costume threatening?
And Mysterio: A master of Illusions is not really a must buy situation from fans. But times have changed, character development is much better, and the MCU has built up more than enough good will with fans that people went in droves to even see a Doctor Strange movie. I myself am waiting to see how the MCU handles Norman Osborn (the Green Goblin), the Joker to Spider-Man’s Batman. Hopefully they’ll move on from Stark tech and hopefully they have a better costume that isn’t a Power Rangers costume with an unmovable mask.
The supporting cast deserves a big round of applause for doing it’s part in holding Spider-Man’s world up.. Ned as Peter’s best friend shines as the goofy sidekick who doesn’t YET feel the burden on being one of the few people who knows Peter is Spider-Man, and even Betty Brant (who he eventually married in the comics) gets her time to shine in the sequel, when she was only on screen for a bit in the first movie. Even Flash gets more time to shine and even bulks up a bit for this one to give off a more jock like appearance. Maybe he could become Agent Venom down the road? And of course, MJ is finally done right in these two movies. She’s witty, sarcastic, and everything Kirsten Dunst’s MJ wasn’t in the original trilogy. Zendaya is DEFINITELY MJ.
So big time recommendation from me, but I’m a huge fan of anything Spider-Man, so I’m a bit biased. Well, except for the Andrew Garfield movies. Those were terrible.