Collins Ezeanyim’s review published on Letterboxd:
“It’s easy to fool people when they’re already fooling themselves.
Spider-Man is synonymous with New York. A scrappy kid from Brooklyn beating up baddies in Brooklyn and swinging from the Manhattan skyline. The half a dozen live-action Spider-Man movies that came before this had NYC as the primary setting. It was due time to try something new.
The second MCU Spider-Man solo movie uses several locations as its backdrop. I loved this change in setting. Of course, yet another adventure in The Big Apple would have worked - but I’m glad Marvel Studios took this step.
By taking our friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man global, the stakes are upped and the excitement is heightened. This movie takes place at a peculiar point in the MCU timeline. It serves as both a semi-epilogue to the concluding epic of Avengers: Endgame and somewhat signals what is to come next season in this seemingly never ending MCU TV show. (Primarily via references to the existence of a multiverse).
Spider-Man is a superhero with such an awesome set of powers that I love when he is pushed to physical limits and has to out-think his opponents. Even as a child, he has a great analytical mind and it’s awesome to see it in action.
Having him take on Elementals in iconic European cities is random - but these are set pieces that slap hard. Definitely a step up from when a Spider-Man is fighting a single lizard creature in the sewers.
A random observation: In previous incarnations Peter Parker always refused money and help from his billionaire friends such as the Osbornes. That’s totally in line with his character. But I do appreciate here that he accepts both Tony Stark’s tech and tutelage. There should be a balance - I don’t always want him to be in the Iron Spider suit - but I enjoy the various iterations of his suits. (Night Monkey is a real treat here).
I swear to God that before the specifics of this movie was announced the Spider-Man villain I wanted the most was Mysterio. And I’ve maintained for a long time that my favorite American actor working today was Jake Gyllenhaal. So when it was revealed that Gyllenhall would be playing Quentin Beck, I nearly pissed my Spidey underwear in excitement.
No surprise, Jake is stellar in this role. God I loved his unhinged monologuing and inveighing. Also, he and Tom Holland have great chemistry. But considering that Holland is also a Gyllenhaal fan boy, that’s not surprising.
The illusions Mysterio creates are used to great effect here - including one extended sequence that takes place in Berlin. (Man the MCU loves that city). Really creative and well-done.
This entry also features one of the most shocking mid-credits scenes the MCU has ever done. It has all led to the conclusion of this current trilogy - No Way Home. Which is the type of cinematic event that movie theaters need right now.