Tom Holland stars in the Russo Brothers’ first directorial outing since Avengers: Endgame. The protagonist known only as Cherry in the credits guides us through ten years of his life as he goes from university student to soldier to bank robber. Along the way, we meet the love of his life, some quirky life long friends and influences he’d rather not have.
It’s clear from the very beginning of Cherry that Joe and Anthony Russo were making up for the presumable directorial restrictions imposed upon them whilst making their several Marvel films. The directing takes every opportunity to be stylish and completely different at every turn. The film is split up in to chapters which are indicated by the screen going a gorgeous red and bold white text appearing on screen. Tom Holland’s Cherry speaks to the camera to tell us his inner thoughts in certain scenes in addition to the constant narration. And there’s a lot of really unique editing tricks littered throughout the film. This is all until about halfway through however when that style seems to fade away. It could be that the Russos got a bit tired of thinking of new things to do. Or it could be to symbolise the main character growing up.
Whichever reason, the film does take a noticeable dip in engagement levels at a certain point. This is a lot to the with the aforementioned style drought. But it’s also to do with the overall plot of the film. Cherry‘s plot is not very unique. The three main issues the film covers are growing up, war and drug abuse. All three of these are much better depicted in other films like any John Hughes film, Jarhead and Requiem For A Dream. There are some really fantastic scenes that are brilliantly shot and scored, especially in the Iraq War segment and near the end. Great scenes, however, don’t always make for a great overall film.
A big takeaway from Cherry is Tom Holland himself. He gives a fantastic performance and his character is the best in the film. Hopefully for him, doing roles like this will make sure he isn’t type cast once he leaves his job as Spider-Man. Unfortunately, his look does work against him as he still looks very young despite being older than the character he’s playing. A lot of the time it feels like watching Bugsy Malone as even when he’s geared up in his military attire he looks a boy with very expensive dress up. This problem goes tenfold for his girlfriend and eventual wife played by Ciara Bravo who barely looks 16.
Cherry is the very definition of style over substance. It’s a case of a studio seeing the money that Avengers: Endgame made and thinking that it was completely due to the Russo Brothers. They were given a lot of freedom to direct and they got a great performance out of a Marvel regular. Sadly though they didn’t put as much thought and care in to the story they were telling.
Cherry is available to watch now on Apple TV+