Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
SHOULD I SEE IT?
It’s Spider-Man. You are likely buying another round of tickets, if you haven’t seen this already!
Tom Holland is perfect in this role, and the emergence of Zendaya, and the work of Jake Gyllenhaal makes Far From Home thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining.
Though it skews for younger audiences, Spider-Man: Far From Home is audience-friendly, well-written, and entertaining for pretty much the whole family. Marvel or not, a solid summer blockbuster.
You irrationally believe all Marvel movies are stupid on their face.
I mean, I suppose if you somehow have avoided Avengers: Endgame spoilers and watch this: the gig is up?
If you genuinely wish this wasn’t a John Hughes-inspired, teen-oriented superhero franchise now, then I guess I got nothing to say that will change your mind.
No rest for the wicked it seems, especially in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Weeks after Avengers: Endgame became the second largest grossing film of all time, Marvel is right back at your friendly, neighborhood multiplex with their 23rd entry in the MCU - Spider-Man: Far From Home.
This second standalone film featuring Tom Holland as the youthful, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man picks up right after the events of Endgame and sees everyone responding to the dawning of a new day with superheroes in the world, as well as acclimating back into society following “The Blip” or “The Snap.”
(If you are unfamiliar with the reference to the Blip or the Snap, I suggest you hit YouTube or ask a friend.)
With all the discussion about not spoiling Endgame, even after all these weeks and billions of box office dollars later, Far From Home opens with a hilarious sequence that spoils everything within the first minute of the film. Quickly we realize that no matter what will come our way, director Jon Watts is doubling down on the fun captured in Spider-Man: Homecoming and attempting to replicate that child-like enthusiasm once again.
Largely, he finds success.
Holland’s Peter Parker is, at 16, facing the crossroads on his superhero life. Reeling from tragedies which concluded events in Endgame, he simply wants to focus on going to an end-of-the-year high school science class trip to Europe. He hopes by doing so, he can avoid thinking about saving the world, shed a sadness that hangs over him like a rain cloud, and finally address his growing feelings for classmate MJ (Zendaya), which he hopes to tell her about on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Naturally, those best laid plans do not come to fruition and Peter is soon forced to realize that ignoring S.H.I.E.L.D.’s phone calls, and trying to suppress his Spider-Man persona, is really no longer an option.
A growing threat - a series of beasts who take the form of water, fire, and other “elements” (they are dubbed “The Elementals”) have been tracked to Europe, concurrent to Parker’s class trip. This results in Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) moving into action and summoning Parker’s services, along with a new superhero, Quentin Beck, a/k/a Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). Beck successfully fought off a massive earth-borne monster in Mexico, and has been recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. to defeat any other Elementals which may surface.
Together, Mysterio and Spider-Man, or more realistically, Beck and Parker, create an immediate camaraderie. Beck is a big-brother-like voice of reason and calm for Parker, whose angst-driven agitation finds him really wanting to just go and see about a girl.
When another Elemental strikes down right near Parker’s classmates, he, with Mysterio, spring into action, and quickly, Spider-Man: Far From Home is less about the teenage melodrama and more about superheroes, saving mankind, and issues of trust, loyalty, and individual worth.
And the plot twists, comedy, awesome visual effects, and impressive sound design work adds great value to the film as well.
People may be tired of hearing this, but part of the charm and appeal of the MCU is how well-made most of these movies are. Far From Home strikes a balance between action and humor, with Holland, Zendaya, and a wonderful cast of supporting characters making these subplots and storylines something we care about.
And we have a few things percolating. Best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) strikes up an unanticipated fling with Betty (Angourie Rice), while Parker finds Brad (Remy Hii) making some inroads on MJ, as Parker is secretly Spider-Manning. Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) may find herself developing feelings for an unlikely suitor, and when the movie flips everything on its ear with a well-orchestrated twist in the center of the film, Parker realizes he must grow up, mature, but find balance between his two identities - even if hiding his identity as Spider-Man may not be going as well as he believed.
Far From Home, directed once again by Watts (who helmed Spider-Man: Homecoming) moves at a brisk pace and never bores. Holland is really making a case that he is the perfect actor to portray a high school-aged Peter Parker and he is terrific here. Zendaya, quickly becoming a force in Hollywood, steps forward right along with him and makes MJ one of the more entertaining and likable characters in the MCU, while Gyllenhaal is a great addition, finding a way to push this story forward in a direction few are expecting it to go.
No lie, I was smiling ear-to-ear from start to finish. Screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers stay within themselves and do not deviate from what worked so well in the first film. Building on the events which preceded the film, and adding a couple of large teasers in the credits (as always, don’t leave until the lights come on), means we likely are getting a third Holland-led Spider-Man movie sooner rather than later.
I understand superhero fatigue. I do. However, Far From Home (and Homecoming) feels different than other superhero films. Sure, they play and appeal to younger audiences, but Holland has earned his acclaim, Zendaya is a star-on-the-rise, and another franchise within the MCU is thriving.
And yes, this may be the third, second Spider-Man movie of the century (following Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s franchises), but Spider-Man feels fresh, new, and exciting all over again. Haters gonna hate, but I am definitely looking forward to whatever comes next with this cast and Holland in this role.
CAST & CREW
Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Jacob Batalon, Tony Revolori, Angourie Rice, Remy Hii, Martin Starr, JB Smoove, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Cobie Smulders.
Director: Jon Watts
Written by: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers (screenplay)
Based on the comic book series “Spider-Man”, created by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko.
Release Date: July 2, 2019