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Challengers
review by Bobby Blakey

Director Luca Guadagnino hit audiences in the face with his 2022 film Bones and All. For his latest film, Challengers he is teaming up with Zendaya who has been on her own role with big turns in the Spider-Man franchise, Dune and the TV series Euphoria. In addition to Zendaya, the film co-stars Josh O'Connor and Mike Faist. Could this tennis drama serve up something unique or will it fail to make it over the net?

 

Challengers follows Tashi Duncan, a former tennis prodigy turned coach and a force of nature who makes no apologies for her game on and off the court. Married to a champion on a losing streak, Tashi’s strategy for her husband’s redemption takes a surprising turn when he must face off against the washed-up Patrick – his former best friend and Tashi’s former boyfriend. As their pasts and presents collide, and tensions run high, Tashi must ask herself, what will it cost to win.

 

I found the trailers to this film intriguing, but never fully sucked me in. Sitting down I had an idea of what to expect based on the trailer but got a much different film than I believed was advertised. A lot of the time this ends up being a good thing, but this time around it ends up failing to have all that much to offer. It was promoted like some sort of erotic love triangle that is barely even part of this story.

 

First and foremost, Zendaya is the best thing about this film. She gives a great performance that everyone else struggles to compete with. This goes well into her own status as this tennis prodigy with O’Connor and Faist doing as much as they can to hold their own with her. Sadly, neither of them is able to bring it to the same level. The slow burn pace offers some good moments

and tension when it comes to the tennis games themselves, but the long-winded sequences that go nowhere and just fill the room with unlikable people make the film hard to really invest in.

 

Outside Zendaya’s great performance the film shines during the tennis matches. They build a decent amount of tension to get you invested in these matches, which to me is a chore all in its own. To me, tennis is just not exciting so to be able to execute it in this manner is a welcome addition. I was hoping for so much more than what this film has to offer. It is not a bad movie, just doesn’t really go anywhere and while it’s understandable to what it is saying with the ending, it still feels like it leaves the viewer hanging with no resolution.

 

Decide for yourself and Hit the court to grab your copy of Challengers available now on digital, Blu-ray and DVD from Amazon MGM Studios and Warner Bros Discovery Home Entertainment.

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