The Movie opens with an In Memoriam for Tony Stark and the other Avengers who died bringing everyone else back to life in Avengers: Endgame. In Extenco, Mexico, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), investigating an unnatural storm that wrecked the town, encounter the powerful Earth Elemental. Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) appears and attacks the creature. A week later, in New York, the Midtown School of Science and Technology is finishing its academic year, postponed because of the great die-off they call the Blip. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is mourning the loss of his mentor Tony Stark, however distracted he may be by MJ (Zendaya). Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), who was Stark’s assistant, is there when Nick Fury calls, but Parker sends him to voicemail because he is ambivalent about the whole superhero thing.
Parker and classmates are on a fieldtrip to Venice, Italy, when the Water Elemental attacks. Parker secretly protects his classmates, but Quentin Beck appears again and destroys the Elemental. Fury meets with Parker and gives him Stark’s glasses, equipped with AI EDITH (Even Dead I’m The Hero), which gives Parker access to Stark Industries’ databases, orbital weapons, and all kinds of intelligence. It takes some getting used to, and Parker nearly calls down a drone-strike on his rival. Beck claims to be from an alternate Earth, where the Elementals had killed his family. He predicts that the Fire Elemental will appear in Prague. Parker decides not to accompany Fury to Prague and returns to his class trip, which is going to France. He has jewelry that he wants to give MJ atop the Eiffel Tower. But Fury pulls strings and has the trip itinerary changed to Prague, where Parker is forced to help Beck fight the Fire Elemental. Not feeling much like a superhero and admiring Beck, Parker gives him Stark’s glasses.
Beck is a phony. A holographic illusions specialist fired from Stark Industries who leads a gang of disgruntled Stark ex-employees, he uses projection-tricks to create the Elementals. Beck wanted access to EDITH so he could get his mitts on orbital drone-weapons, and Parker played right into his hands. MJ figures out that Parker is Spider-Man, and together they realize Beck’s secret. Parker goes to Berlin after Beck and, distracted by all the illusions bombarding him, is struck by a train and taken to the Netherlands. Beck thinks all Parker’s friends know his secret, and vows to kill them. Parker manages to contact Hogan, who flies him to London, helping him build an improved Spidey suit on the way. On Tower Bridge, Beck attacks with all four Elemental illusions and a vast array of attack-drones. Parker disrupts the illusions and defeats the drones, and Beck is mortally wounded. Back home, Parker establishes a relationship with MJ, but J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) of the Bugle, uses Beck’s footage to frame Spider-Man for the London attack, and reveals his secret identity. Fury and Maria, we discover, are Skrull shapeshifters from Captain Marvel’s planet; they phone Fury, relaxing on the beach.
One can be forgiven for wondering why this light, amusing lark of a movie was chosen to follow a huge, dark two-part drama like Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. I suppose, if they are the grand climax of the Infinity Saga, this provides a denouement to the story, which began and ended with Iron-Man. Even though he is dead, Tony Stark is a major character in the film, passing on the superhero mantle to young Peter Parker. Mysterio was chosen as the villain because he was a major recurring antagonist in the various Spider-Man titles but had not yet appeared in a movie and came with a lot of spectacular visuals. The Elementals were based on other important Spidey bad-guys—Hydro-Man, Molten-Man, Sandman, and Cyclone. There are supposed to be more movies coming. I don’t know what—Avengers, The Next Generation, perhaps. There is also supposed to be the long-awaited Black Widow movie, too, and she’s dead.