Caution, there be spoilers ahead!
Much like Peter Parker (Tom Holland) in this film, we as Marvel fans collectively need a vacation. An escape, something light and fun to help take our minds off of that emotional funeral and deal with the fact that we will never see Tony Stark again. That is the heart of this movie, Peter making his best attempt at closure. The memorable parts of this movie are when Peter is having fun with his friends and the inherent comedy of high school hijinks. Director Jon Watts knows how to make a big blockbuster, but he also knows when to reign it in and make it about relationships and comedy. Case in point, the movie begins with Whitney Houston belting out I Will Always Love You to a bad power point presentation of the fallen Avengers made by some students of Queens High. It cleverly catches up the three people in the world who haven’t seen Endgame and answers a lot of fan questions about how this new universe will work since the Snap.
His classmates Betty (Angourie Rice), Flash (Tony Revolori) and best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) are back to riff with Peter Parker again while they vacation in Europe. The chemistry the cast has with each other at times feels straight from a Hughes film, that awkward puppy love and excitement is palpable. Although the comedic relief from their teachers Mr.Harrington (Martin Starr) and Mr. Dell (JB Smoove) falls a little flat more often then not, I still can’t fault them because you can tell everyone is just having so much fun.
The fun with his school mates doesn’t last long because Spidey continues getting sidetracked by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) needing him for secret missions to destroy the elementals who have come to wreak havoc in Europe. As the story unfolds the budding romance between Parker and MJ (Zendaya) brings a certain emotional realization that yes, Peter is just a young kid who cares way more about what his crush thinks about him then the bigger stakes at hand. Peter Parker just wants to be left alone, he is still processing the death of a father figure in Tony Stark and he has no idea who he is and what his identity is within the Avengers. Parker begins to realize that he might have to take the mantle up himself and he just is not ready. He has always had Tony to tell him what to do and guide him and when it comes to doing it on his own he is scared and just needs help. Enter Quentin Beck, a knight in shining (more like glowing) armor here to save the day. After several impressive battles Peter cannot wait to hand over the reigns and responsibilities.
Spider-Man spends the rest of the movie being fooled and one step behind Beck as he uses his future tech of projections and drones for evil. Then he gets hit by a train. The creativity of the illusions and fighting within that construct is a blast to watch and really helps make the 2 hours and 9 minutes fly. The special effects heavy fight scene that is all projections is trippy and fun. The final battle flies off the screen in vivid color and reminds us that this is indeed a tentpole blockbuster. In the end this chapter is Peter Parker being comfortable with himself, and giving himself permission to fail and to grow. There’s even a great moment where Happy is watching Peter design a new suit and its easy to see the torch that is being passed. There is going to be a new phase now, nothing will ever be the same after the events of Endgame and it’s exciting to see what will happen next. A more mature Peter Parker who is a bit jaded and will undoubtedly have trust issues will be fun to watch zip across New York in the future.
In a day and age where truth is constantly being sought out and lies are being exposed, the director wants you to know how easily you can be fooled, there may even be some fake news! Although if surprise JK Simmons is delivering that news, I am here for it. All day.