‘Cherry’ review: Tom Holland and the Russo brothers reunite on a not-so-super movie

Holland’s title character experiences a sweeping arc of dysfunction, starting as a trainee in Ohio. He falls in love, signs up with the Army, withstands fundamental training and the scaries of war, and gets back quite screwed up, quickly coming down into dependency and criminal offense in order to fund his practice.

Largely told by the lead character, “Cherry” has the familiar qualities of motion pictures about damaged middle-class dreams, assures unkept and desperation. The boy and his cherished Emily (Ciara Bravo, a one-time Nickelodeon star) fall set for each other, wed young and go through hell, the concern being whether they can make it through together, or undoubtedly at all.

The movie has a darkly comic streak — there’s a Coen-brothers-type energy to the ineptitude of a few of Cherry’s criminal contacts — however for one of the most part the tone is bleak and the substance abuse graphic, showing how bad choices and misery waterfall upon each other. He’s a latter-day rebel without much of a cause, a Springsteen tune come to life.

For Holland, the sweeping nature of the part — which starts in 2002 and overlaps with an arc of Iraq-war history — definitely represented a hard-to-resist display, following his turn in another dark drama, Netflix’s “The Devil All the Time” with Robert Pattinson. If the fresh-faced star wishes to guarantee he’s not going to end up typecast as Peter Parker, he’s taking the effort and after that some.
Likewise, directors Joe and Anthony Russo follow the legendary magnificence of their extended stretch in the Marvel universe with a gritty, deeply intimate character research study, generating strong efficiencies from Holland, Bravo and the various losers and scalawags they experience, without a computer-generated hero in sight.

For all that, “Cherry” nearly can’t assist however feel as if it’s stringing together cinematic cliches, from war motion pictures to criminal offense capers. The very same chooses the portentous narrative — lines like “Sometimes I feel like I’ve already seen everything that’s gonna happen” — and the method the chapters partition the story in covering his service and its consequences.

Eventually, there’s a strong sense of this being the sort of motion picture that directors and stars look for after an “Endgame”-like success, evaluating the criteria of their craft and appeal in a place as far from superhero escapism as they can get.

Yet if “Cherry” used a liberating innovative stretch for its principals, it’s less of one for its audience — significant for its aspirations and to chart Holland’s maturation as a star, however eventually, a powerful shot of star power that does not rather get under your skin.

“Cherry” premieres Feb. 26 in choose theaters and March 12 on Apple TELEVISION+. It’s ranked R.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.