Year Released: 2019
Directed by: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson
(PG-13, 130 min.)
Genre: Action and adventure, Science Fiction and Fantasy
Certainly a decent diversion on a sultry afternoon, but that’s about all. Maybe a summer strewn with carcasses of would be hits that flopped makes this Marvel Universe flick stand out. Or maybe it just rides the coattails of Avengers: Endgame and the legend of Tony Stark.
At any rate, it starts out more like a Disney channel tween comedy, which isn’t too surprising given Zendaya’s (MJ) roots there. But the entrance of Jake Gyllenhall as Quentin Black/Mysterio shakes things up a bit, and he becomes the “cool uncle” figure that Spidey (Tom Holland) had in martyred Tony Stark.
On the plus side, the film is free from the usual summer vulgarity that masquerades of edgy comedy nowadays, and both Spider Man and MJ exude an engaging youthful innocence and authenticity, which is good given the wealth of stereotyped students and teachers that accompany them on this student trip. Both Holland and Zedaya are 23 and 22 respectively, but they seem more like real high schoolers than did Toby Mcguire (then 26) and Kisten Dunst (then 22) when they first played the romantic pair.
I particularly like MJ’s leggy geekiness, her hair astray, her posture a bit bent in an academic slouch, and face seemingly devoid of makeup. Little did Different Drummer discern– not being in the know about current pop stars –that that Zendaya herself has a background among other things as a model with her own clothing line. Perhaps her training as a Shakespearean actress (I won’t be politically correct and call her an actor) allows her to feign being so nerdy and unglamorous.
Enjoy Peter Parker’s high school trip to Venice, Prague, London, and Berlin, and try to avoid getting wet or dizzy with the all the computer-generated images of Elemental, the water beastie bringing down all the iconic landmarks along the way.
Maybe a little Venetian Iced Raspberry Cream will smooth out a sometimes bumpy ride.