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Movie Review: “Spider-Man: Far From Home”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Theatrical Release: 7/2/2019

Theatrical Release: 7/2/2019

Synopsis

Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is still struggling after the death of Tony Stark. However, with the snap having been reversed, Peter must try to go back to his normal life. That being said, Peter's normal life is far from normal, as he has to balance his life as a high school student with his life as the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Unfortunately, with everything that happened, he is unsure if he wants to live the life of a superhero anymore.

Instead, Peter is focused on telling MJ (Zendaya) that he likes her, but he wants to do it in the perfect way. Despite Peter's intentions, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) needs a hero. During a school trip to Europe, a few dangerous elemental monsters begin wreaking havoc, coincidentally, in Europe. With these monsters risking the lives of so many civilians, and with the absence of Tony Stark, Nick Fury is more desperate than ever for Peter's help. Fortunately, a new and mysterious hero (Jake Gyllenhaal) has emerged. He brings valuable intelligence about the monsters and where they came from, he is gifted with abilities of his own, and he is absolutely devoted to taking down these monsters.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Spider-Man & Peter Parker (+8pts)

High School (-3pts)

Mysterio & The Visual Effects (+8pts)

MJ (-2pts)

Happy Hogan & The Action (+5pts)

Nick Fury (-2pts)

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Pro: Spider-Man & Peter Parker (+8pts)

I really enjoyed what the filmmakers did with this character in this movie. Peter Parker went through a lot during the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Understandably, it would be difficult to go back to a normal life after what he experienced. However, I enjoyed seeing how the tragedy affected Peter and I enjoyed seeing his struggle with whether or not he wanted to live the life of a superhero with the scale and fame of being an Avenger, especially considering that was all he wanted in the last movie.

Previous Spider-Man movies have tackled the idea of what it meant to be "Spider-Man" and what it meant to be a hero, but this movie had the unique benefit of taking place after two massive superhero movies. As a result, the filmmakers got to play with that concept more aggressively than it has been done in any of the Spider-Man movies that came before this one. Peter dealt with a lot of varying emotions in this movie. It was a compelling, and complex, character story for Peter Parker, and I thought Tom Holland did a great job of balancing all of this in an a way that was both entertaining and dramatic.

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Con: High School (-3pts)

This was an area that I felt like the filmmakers struggled with. After the scale of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, it must have been difficult to write a smaller-scale story about Peter Parker in high school that still felt important. I thought the filmmakers had a decent enough idea, which was to get Peter back in high school only to find out that Thanos' snap essentially opened a door for incredibly powerful elemental monsters to come to earth. This seemed like it would have worked well, but the filmmakers did not manage to make the high school stuff seem important.

I was completely invested in the elemental monsters, Peter Parker, and Mysterio, but I had a tough time caring about the high school characters. The exception to this rule was MJ—although I will get into more detail regarding this particular character later. The rest of the characters did not seem to contribute anything to Peter’s story, and they felt like distractions from the main plot of the movie. Fortunately, these other characters were, for the most part, effective as comedic relief characters, so their presence was not entirely unwelcome. They just did not feel very relevant to Peter’s story here.

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Pro: Mysterio & The Visual Effects (+8pts)

I really enjoyed both this character’s story and the performance from Jake Gyllenhaal. Mysterio had the kind of story that kept me engaged when the character was on screen, and it kept me curiously waiting to see how the story would go. Jake Gyllenhaal also did a great job at playing this complicated character in a way that gave the character a captivating screen presence that always left me wanting more.

The character was also involved in a lot of great visual effects, but there was one visual effect sequence in particular that was pretty awesome. If you know anything about this character, then you know to expect some crazy visual effect sequences, and this movie delivered. Mysterio was a unique, interesting, and well-written character that had the benefit of being played by a talented actor. Together, this combination made Mysterio a memorable and effective antagonist for this movie.

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Con: MJ (-2pts)

I think Tom Holland and Zendaya had good chemistry together, and I liked Zendaya’s version of MJ, but I thought this character could have been handled better in this movie. I was fine with the awkward teen romance, and I was fine with the attitude that the character had. I just did not think these two things mixed together very well. It also felt like the filmmakers forced this romance into the movie.

I did not buy, based on the way the last movie left things off, that the romance between Peter and MJ would progress so quickly. I mean, the entire last movie was about Peter obsessing over another girl. It just felt like the romance was squeezed into the story for the sake of having an MJ romance in the movie, even though it did not make sense for either characters at this point. Again, I liked Zendaya’s version of the character, and I think Zendaya had good chemistry with Tom Holland. I just thought this romance storyline felt rushed.

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Pro: Happy Hogan & The Action (+5pts)

Happy Hogan has been a consistently effective comedic character throughout his appearances in the MCU. Sure, the character has had some dramatic moments in previous movies as well, but I always enjoy this character's comedic moments, and I really enjoyed what the filmmakers did with Happy Hogan in this movie. He served as Peter’s connection to Tony Stark, but he also served as a parental figure for Peter. As such, he gave this movie plenty of comedy, and a lot of heart. I do not want to say much more, because I do not want to spoil anything, but know that I liked what the filmmakers did with the character here.

The action in Spider-Man: Far from Home was also pretty great. I do not recall any specific, jaw-dropping moments. That being said, the action was pretty darn entertaining, it had great visual effects to support it, and Spider-Man definitely got to do some cool things. There were not any "mind-blowing" action sequences, although the scenes where Spider-Man faced off against the primary antagonist was pretty awesome, but the action was consistently entertaining and it helped keep my attention fixed to the screen in excitement.

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Con: Nick Fury (-2pts)

This is another character that I cannot say too much about without spoiling the movie. Basically, I thought the way Nick Fury was portrayed in this movie felt wildly inconsistent with the character that we have seen over the course of so many movies. Nick Fury—starting with Iron Man 2—has usually been the wisest, most informed guy in the room. He has also been fairly effective at motivating heroes into action.

In Spider-Man: Far from Home, that was not the case, and it felt pretty inconsistent for the character. He was overly harsh toward Peter, he did not seem to have any idea what was going on, and he seemed oddly desperate for Peter's help—when I did not buy why he would have been so desperate. It just did not fit with the Nick Fury that we have seen in all of the previous movies. Did the filmmakers have an explanation for this? Yes, but the payoff was not significant enough to justify taking the character in this direction. It basically felt like the writers wrote an unnecessarily inconsistent version of this character, then came up with an excuse to justify the inconsistency.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: B+ (89pts)

Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker was in a very different mindset in this movie than he was in Spider-Man: Homecoming. He was struggling after the tragic death of a mentor, and he was struggling with whether or not he wanted to live the life of a superhero. I really enjoyed what the filmmakers did with this character, and I also enjoyed what they did with Mysterio. Without giving anything away, Mysterio had an interesting story, and Jake Gyllenhaal gave the character a captivating screen presence.

The movie also had plenty of great action, excellent visual effects, and I enjoyed—as always—Happy Hogan’s presence in this movie. Unfortunately, there were a bunch of side characters that I thought could have used some more work, as I did not think they fit into this story naturally. Despite my issues with those characters, I still had a really good time in this movie. It had great main characters, great stories, awesome action, great visual effects, and plenty of humor.

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