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'Spider-Man: Far From Home' (2019) A Webberific Movie Review

I was bitten by a spider once... wound up in the hospital for two weeks... don't trust spiders, kids.

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The Controversy…

Who in their right minds… put this man’s eyepatch on the wrong damn eye? Who did it?! I want names!

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No, I’m not actually being serious about this. Simply found it rather humorous that after some of the silliest controversies to come out around specific films in the last few years, including this year’s Captain Marvel, that someone accidentally reversing an image of Samuel L. Jackson to make his character’s eyepatch appear on the wrong eye was the most offensive thing about this movie. It’s the little things in life that we have to cherish.

Spider-Man was the Bomb-Diggity-Fresh

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Growing up, out of all the superhero and comic book properties that I followed, Spider-Man was likely my favorite. As a kid I had a bajillion of the Spider-Man toys, watched all the movies and cartoon shows, wore costumes during and not during Halloween, read a number of the comics, and even drew probably a hundred sketches of the wall-crawler. In my eyes, Spider-Man/Peter Parker was the most relatable out of any superhero that I had heard of because he was just a kid who stumbled upon super powers. Peter Parker wasn’t a billionaire, he wasn’t born with superhuman abilities on another planet; he was a smartass teenager with regular teenage problems, was completely cash broke most of the time, and simply wants to live a normal life yet finds himself in various predicaments that keep him from doing so. That’s what I like about this character; most of the writers for Spider-Man understand that what makes the dude so compelling is the fact that life keeps kicking his ass with regular everyday problems like the rest of us, on top of all the superhero threats that he faces, and it is usually interesting to follow along to see how he can persevere.

Home-Coming

A few years back, Marvel finally received a bargain with Sony to bring Spider-Man into their cinematic universe in the form of Spider-Man: Homecoming, and it was pretty solid. Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man gave a well-rounded, funny, and genuinely authentic performance as this teenager juggling high school drama along with fighting crime. Also, Holland reminded me big time of Andrew McCarthy, making me wish that McCarthy had the chance to play Spider-Man now. Director Jon Watts set a tone for Homecoming that was particularly a ‘John Hughes’-esque teenage drama/comedy quality, which I found rather refreshing for the superhero genre. Lastly, Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/Vulture was equal parts intimidating and extremely identifiable in his character’s motives that pertained to his family. It was a fun flick, I didn’t love it and had some minor issues; overall it was a good time though.

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Far From Home

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Oddly enough, I liked Spider-Man: Far From Home more than Homecoming even though it slightly trades off on their strengths and weaknesses from the previous installment. Holland is back to giving a heart filled performance as our favorite web-slinger, plus his chemistry with his romantic interest of Zendaya as MJ is pretty damn adorable. Jake Gyllenhaal as Quentin Beck/Mysterio is charming, as well as insanely fun to watch his on-point line delivery. The story was unfortunately a bit more predictable than the first entry as this contained the involvement of a certain character, however that didn’t really bother me so much as I was maintaining a lot of enjoyment from seeing this cast interact with one another in their fantastically humorous banters and thought the action had some terrific spectacle to check out.

*Spoiler Warning*

In order to properly discuss the film I do need to bring up a spoiler from Avengers: Endgame, I apologize to anyone who hasn’t seen that movie yet… as unlikely as that would be. Also, pertaining to the identity of the antagonist for Far From Home I will have to touch upon as well. If you’re trying to avoid those specific spoilers then you might want to stop reading here.

The Plot

A number of months have now passed since the events of Avengers: Endgame, leaving Peter Parker (Tom Holland) with some massive shoes to fill after the death of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Amidst the pressure of living up to the world’s expectations of Spider-Man becoming the next Iron Man, Peter takes the opportunity to join his fellow classmates on a European vacation and finally admit his feelings to MJ (Zendaya). Unfortunately, Peter’s plans go awry when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) attempts to recruit Spider-Man to aide him and their newest ally, Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), in facing against these giant elemental creatures that are attacking various locations across the continent. It’s up to Spider-Man, Mysterio, and Fury to stop these monsters so they may save their world from total destruction.

The Story

An element about this narrative that I thoroughly enjoyed was the fact that this was a high school vacation shenanigans flick, but with Spider-Man smack dab in the middle of it while Samuel L. Jackson keeps taking his trip hostage. Yes, there are big monsters and explosions and all that good jazz. However, my favorite part was the simplicity of Peter’s goal being that all he wants is to be a teenager and do fun teenager things and tell the girl he likes that he likes her. That’s it and I dig that about Far From Home. Peter Parker could have come across as a whiny, self-entitled little sh*t that annoyed the audience with his “wants and needs”; luckily, Holland plays this role intelligently to where the audience can sympathize with his desires to live a normal life and we can feel the aggravation in a way that is easy to understand yet still entertaining.

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A major part of this plot mainly has to do with Peter wanting to reveal his feelings to MJ; while most superhero movies focus more on the mayhem factor and then shallowly interjects a two-dimensional romantic subplot, this movie dedicates a fair amount of screen time to Peter and MJ’s relationship blossoming. A relationship that is funny and downright sweet to be perfectly honest. It was nice to see this pretty cute bond forming between the two romantic leads that hurdles about as many obstacles as the ones Spider-Man has to face with the actual baddies of the film. Even though, technically this was another plot thread dealing with Spider-Man and his several “will they, won’t they” romance arcs; Far From Home executed it in a way that still felt fresh and different from what I’ve seen before. Much thanks should go to that of Zendaya for providing such a different romantic lead performance that hasn’t been quite seen prior, at least in a Spider-Man flick.

During the more action-oriented plot lines, another bond is being formed between Peter and Quentin. After Peter lost probably his only voice of guidance, in the form of Tony Stark, it’s easy to see how Peter starts gravitating towards this Quentin character. Their comradery and friendship is actually pretty fun and endearing at times as they converse about their lives and what they want to maybe do after these elementals are dealt with. For me, that grounded the film in a manner that engaged me in their interactions every time they shared a scene together.

Ultimately, the narrative came down to the life choices that Peter wants to make for himself. Something that, again, has been plenty dabbled upon in the Spider-Man franchise. However, because the performances are so charismatic and the structure of the film always kept up the pacing, I never felt any sort of exhaustion or burnout from it. It makes sense here to me why Peter would question what he wants to do and who he wants to appease; of course he wants to live up to the legacy of Tony Stark, but at the end of the day he’s just a kid and this movie fully realizes what a regular kid yearns for. Establishing that this kid has the right to be a normal, average, everyday high schooler if he so chooses. On the other hand, there’s still something in his heart that knows he has to help the world when dire times demand it. Feeding heavily into the themes of whether the responsibility of being a superhero is right or wrong for a teenager to live with. That, to me, is why I enjoy the character arcs of Spider-Man. The tough calls that he has to face and the audience tends to want whatever is best for him in the end.

Mysteriohaal

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So… uhh… spoiler alert? I guess. If you can’t piece it together then I’m sorry, but it should be obvious that… once again, *SPOILER ALERT*… Mysterio is behind all the chaos going down as he is actually using illusions to convince the world that there are giant monsters destroying cities around the globe. As to how and why, I won’t get into here. I will say that Gyllanhaal’s performance though was pretty fun to watch as it was basically Gyllenhaal reprising his role from the movie Nightcrawler, only he’s a supervillain this time. That was pretty amazing, I’m not going to lie. Once the film enters the third act, his character’s motivations become revealed, making him into a full on narcissist murderer and I kind of loved it. On the negative side of this aspect, because I’m familiar with the trickery of the Mysterio character from past iterations, it was glaringly obvious as to where this story was leading to and that Quentin Beck would eventually take a villainess turn. Resulting in a few scenes holding a little less emotional weight to them than if I didn’t know exactly where the plot threads were going to go. Although there was something with this character that happens at the very end which I definitely was not expecting, something that is actually impactful for what might happen next for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

Another minor complaint I have is that of Mysterio’s motivations and when his character shift happens, the bond formed between him and Peter seems almost entirely obliterated. Again, I won’t say exactly why Mysterio is doing what he’s doing, but there really isn’t a whole lot about it that invested me into why this guy is doing what he is doing. However, I will say that his plans and end goals are rather clever. Although I was disappointed somewhat when Mysterio started taking his more sinister approach to the plot as that friendship between him and Peter Parker was really cool to watch and it seems like any connection that Quentin may have had after his turn becomes hollow because of how two-dimensionally evil his actions are. Thankfully, Gyllanhaal’s acting made this character still a lot of fun to stick with. I only wish there was a tad bit more dimensionality thrown into the writing of his character is all.

This movie was pretty damn funny. There is something about the writing of these perfectly timed quips and the chemistry displayed between all of the characters that is strongly reminiscent of that seen in a John Hughes picture. Something that I have missed for quite some time now. To see it again in a superhero blockbuster, I have to say, it’s pretty great. The laughs always seem to come in at just the right moments without ever breaking any serious tones and the lines of dialog are distinct to each character that reads them. At no point do I ever feel as though these characters all have the same voice or persona, they all seem unique to their own personalities. From what I recall, there wasn’t any joke or form of humor that fell flat. If there ever was a scene that may have had a “not-so-funny” quip or something, it was likely glossed over pretty quickly as the pace of the comedy was usually fairly quick. Not giving too much time to focus on anything that may have not landed all that well. Truth be told, I don’t believe that ever really happened in this for me.

The Action & Effects

I feel at this point in Marvel’s cinematic line-up, I have about the same thing to say every time when it comes to the action and special effects. It’s fine. The action doesn’t normally standout as anything all that special. Then the CGI is either hit or kind of a miss throughout the picture, almost never terrible special effects by any means. At least nothing that comes to mind. That said, there are the occasions where the CGI is less than stellar and is a little bit on the noticeable side. If I were to give the special effects to all the Marvel movies a letter grade in representing their quality, I’d probably say they would get a solid B+. Pretty good, but could use a tiny bit of refinement here and there. That’s somewhat the case here as well. Decent enough effects, but a scene or two where the CGI isn’t the greatest is all.

Alright, there’s a scene that happens about halfway through which was pretty awesome. The scene revolves around a rather trippy and surreal encounter when Spider-Man tries going toe to toe with Mysterio for the first time. There is some remarkably dark and creatively outlandish imagery that is being presented in this really cool acid trip of an action scene. Quite honestly, it was probably one of my favorite cinematic moments of the year so far because of how cool, imaginative, and completely surprising the scene turned out to be. The reason why I bring this up is because there was another Disney property that I viewed not all that long ago where I was hoping for the very same thing to happen and that movie failed to deliver. That movie was Tim Burton’s Dumbo remake. People behind that remake, I want you to pay real close attention here. What you did in Dumbo was underwhelming and a colossal disappointment. Go watch Spider-Man: Far From Home. Now that’s how you do a Pink Elephants scene, you lazy bastards! Seriously, it was really cool. Check it out if you can.

Overall

Far From Home is another solid entry in the Marvel cinematic universe. Although, in my opinion, there really hasn’t been a legitimately bad egg out of the bunch yet. If you would care to hear more on my thoughts about the MCU, I’ll leave a link down below to an article I wrote eariler this year. Moving on, this was fun. The characters are funny and at times endearing, the villain is played marvelously amusing by Jake Gyllenhaal, Holland delivers some of his best work as Spider-Man, the action has some riveting cool visuals, the story is somewhat predictable but overcomes that with tons of charm to spare. Spider-Man: Far From Home I wouldn’t say is my favorite Spider-Man or Marvel flick, but it’s a good time in the theater. What more could one ask for?

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What's Your Favorite Spider?

That’s All Folks!

Spider-Man: Far From Home… he was definitely far from home. What did you think though? Like or dislike? Agree or disagree? Didn’t think that Spider-Man was all that far from home? Comment down below and let me know! Also, if you so happened to have enjoyed my review then please do me a favor and share this article around the social media world. Thank you all so much for reading and have yourselves a webberific day… That’s a thing, right?

© 2019 John Plocar

Comments

John Plocar (author) from Weatherford on July 29, 2019:

Agreed, that too was one of my favorite parts about the flick.

Michael115 on July 28, 2019:

I thought this was a good movie! I enjoyed the relationship between MJ and Peter the most in the film.