My Review of 'Spider-Man: Far From Home'
Though Avengers: Endgame was a Thanksgiving-sized helping of superhero spectacle and emotion, audiences were still hungry for dessert, and in response, we were served the mouth-watering pumpkin pie in the form of Spider-Man: Far From Home. This entertaining summer blockbuster adds to the ever-strengthening quality of the MCU, delivering not only a satisfying, standalone installment but also a mind-boggling peek into what the future of the franchise has to offer, building on an already established world while cashing out on risky liberties that have never been taken with the character on the big screen before. Here is my review of Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Official Trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home
It’s been eight months since “The Blip,” the return of half of Earth’s population after the events of Avengers: Endgame, and Peter Parker is trying to get back to normal while still grieving over the death of his mentor, Tony Stark. Stark’s image appears in tributes all over the world from murals painted on the sides of European buildings to the subject of the paintings displayed in the art room of Peter’s high school in a haunting reminder of the sacrifice that has allowed this world to exist in its current form.
One day after the school year ends, Peter and his class embark on a teacher-supervised tour through Europe. It’s there that he plans to tell M.J. about his feelings for her. But after a group of Elementals (monsters who take on the properties of earth, air, fire, and water) begin to attack various cities, Peter is recruited by Nick Fury to partner with a new hero, Mysterio, to stop the beasts said to be from a parallel universe triggered by The Blip.
Peter is reluctant to take on the challenge, though, preferring to stick with his class on their field trip instead. But as the threatening beasts continue to attack every city that he visits, Peter must suit up to live up to his superhero status and save the day.
Spidey's New Black Suit - Symbiotes Not Included
The End of Phase Three
Despite being the official end of phase 3 of the MCU, Spiderman: Far From Home is more of a new beginning than anything. It’s a solid entry into Spider-Man’s story and proves that life can go on after the original Avengers are no more.
It’s also a much bigger movie than anticipated. The leapfrogging from one giant European city to another builds on its epic feel, holding its own against the behemoth of the previous film that this one follows. The care and attention given to the script, the setting, and the action shows the seriousness with with Marvel/Sony took with this film, that’s it’s not just a tacked on afterward to Endgame.
The special effects are solid, and a Spidey fan can never get tired of the acrobatic fighting style back-dropped by ancient buildings and iconic landmarks. It must be an added thrill for European moviegoers to see this classic American hero fighting bad guys in their home countries.
At the same time, Peter is still the same teenage boy who is struggling with both his identity and balancing his two lives, something that the other Avengers don’t have to worry about. He still has to deal with normal teenage problems which can be overwhelming enough without having to worry about his vacation getting hijacked by S.H.I.E.L.D., trying not to compromise his secret identity, and feeling the pressure to become the next Iron Man. While this brings Peter down at times, he’s still essentially the same happy-go-lucky kid that we were introduced to in Captain America: Civil War, a new hero with a lot to learn.
The returning actors’ performances remain consistent with Spider-Man: Homecoming, with the new characters transitioning seamlessly into this teenage superhero world. Tom Holland’s love and understanding of the character comes through in every frame. Despite being well out of his teen years by now, he still knows how to play the naïve 16-year-old who takes his social life just as seriously as his superhero one.
The script is the perfect balance of humor, drama, and action, and the actors are good at keeping that up, from the less grouchy Happy Hogan, thanks in part to his infatuation with Aunt May, to Jack Gyllenhaal’s perfect rendition of Mysterio. Gyllenhaal is one of those actors who can convincingly play the purest hero or the most sinister villain, and he has to do both in this role. His scene in the bar with Peter just before the big reveal of his actual intentions almost had me convinced that the film was going to leave him a hero. He does enough without doing too much.
Zendaya’s M.J. is still the dark-humored comic relief love interest from Homecoming, but she allows a vulnerability to shine through in this installment. She’s like no M.J. we’ve ever seen before, yet this loose version of the character is growing to become one of my favorites and has great chemistry with Holland’s Peter Parker.
Don't Believe What You See
The MCU has something for everyone, and these Spider-Man movies definitely keep the kids in mind without alienating the adults. Teens can see themselves in Peter and his friends, yet the movie doesn’t sugarcoat the stakes and the action in order to keep things light. Despite his abilities and his mounting successes, even before the mind-blowing mid and post credits scenes, it’s clear that his problems will just continue to grow as he gets older. He won’t be lazing about the Avengers compound on his off days like the other Avengers. He will chase the need to go to college, find a job, and maintain his relationships with his family and friends, worries that all teens face as they head into adulthood.
Mysterio’s storyline shows just how important it is to be able to trust your instincts while heading into unknown territory. The illusions that he creates play off of Peter’s fears and cause him to question his entire reality, much like he questions his ability to live up to Tony’s expectations as Spider-Man. It’s the perfect conflict for Peter at this moment in his life, and it’s the long overdue introduction of one of the classic members of Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery, who incidentally, is one in a long line of Tony’s enemies who have outlasted Stark himself and another one that Peter is left to deal with.
This film’s ability to balance the teen, hero, and villain conflicts shows how easy Marvel makes these epic movies look to produce. The entire movie flows steadily, despite its twists and turns. No side plot is left behind, and nothing feels rushed or reliant on previous or future movies in order to tell this specific story. Yet at the same time, the mid-credits twist is one that no one saw coming, from the casting of J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson to the reveal of Peter Parker’s identity to the world, assuming it’s not an illusion or nightmare that turns out to be a fake out. Doing so would probably cause a riot, yet this was one of the biggest risks that the movie takes and could have been riot-inducing in and of itself. But in this Marvel Cinematic Universe, anything goes.
What did you think of Spider-Man: Far From Home?
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