The Russo Brothers, Anthony and Joe, are some of the best filmmakers in the business right now. Aside from helping shape the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the past decade, they also have their hands on several other interesting projects both in television and film that are enjoyable or well-respected. I’ve certainly been curious to see what this brotherly duo would do as directors post-Avengers: Endgame (and especially something that’s not superhero related). And with Cherry being their first directorial project since then, it is certainly something outside of their box and unlike anything we’ve seen them make before. However, the results in this odyssey are disastrous.
Cherry tells the story of the titular character and his journey from college kid, to lover, and then Army medic who comes back home dealing with drug addiction and eventually turns to robbing banks. Every stage of his life is told through chapters. But from the get-go, the movie is so bleak in its presentation of this human being who is eventually broken thanks to the faults of his country not being able to assist him properly in his dealing with PTSD. I certainly get what the Russo Brothers are trying to tell (and also expose) in Cherry, but it doesn’t help that the experience does not produce water cooler talk in a positive way, but how the film-making and product itself is just bad all around.
Some chapters of Cherry go on longer than others, which adds to its overly-bloated runtime of almost two and a half hours. The first half of the film is not nearly as substandard as the second half, but without a doubt, a handful of scenes in the second half either could have been shortened or cut entirely. Some scenes feel like repeats of others, only told during a different time and day and don’t add anything meaningful to the story. And to go even further, one chapter is not only extreme, but it’s also border-line unbearable and may cause people to just stop watching the movie entirely.
At the center of Cherry is Tom Holland, who does a complete 180 from his role as Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s certainly fascinating to see Holland in a project like this; however, Holland has no weight behind the gravitas of this character, which makes him a miscast here. I don’t think Cherry hurts Holland’s long-term viability as a star outside of Spider-Man, and I hope the right project(s), small ones like Cherry, come along for him because I think he has more to offer than what he was given here. With the right story and script, Holland could be great in stuff that is not big budget.
Anytime the Russo Brothers have their hand in something, it always grabs my attention. I can’t wait for their next project, The Gray Man, over on Netflix. And, genuinely speaking, they seem like nice, intelligent filmmakers who know what they’re doing most of the time. However, Cherry is a misfire in every facet, and I hope the Russo Brothers learn from this project. I think they will, but they don’t need my critical opinion to do that.