Review of SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

When you just need more Spider-man in your life!

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Disclaimer: I know I said I would do commentary on Dark Phoenix (2019), but the movie was such hot garbage that I figured I’d take some time to write something that wraps up my thoughts on the FoX-Men franchise as a whole. If you liked DP (because that’s what I’m calling it from here on out), then kick rocks. In the meantime, let’s get to this Spider-man review! 

Spider-man: Far From Home (2019) is a simultaneous follow-up to Spider-man: Homecoming (2017) and to Avengers: Endgame (2019), and is the twenty-third film in the MCU franchise. Rated PG-13 for violence and adult content and released to theaters on July 2nd, 2019, the film is 129 minutes of high-flying, young adult heroics, directed by Jon Watts, previously credited with Spiderman: Homecoming.

Plot Summary

Peter Parker takes a well-deserved break from his side job as Spider-Man to enjoy a summer school trip to Europe. Never too far from danger, Peter is contacted by the former director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury, who introduces Spidey to newcomer, Mysterio (portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal), who needs help stopping otherworldly creatures. Stuck between his social life and his secret identity, Peter must manage his time with his friends and stopping villains who don’t share his scruples.

Elements Analysis

The film is a fun follow-up to Endgame and Homecoming at the same time. It is an action-packed superhero adventure infused with teen drama and comedy, dealing with concepts of loss, courtship, trust, and self-determinism.

The prologue starts as investigative fiction, with Nick Fury, reprised by Samuel L. Jackson, arrives to investigate a strange occurrence. It’s a prologue, so it doesn’t offer much else.

Act I opens as a teen drama with Spider-man keeping up public relations—awkwardly—so, in the Big Apple as he helps his aunt with volunteer work before gearing up for a school-sponsored Euro-trip, complete with awkward adolescent interactions and attempts at courtship.

Act II keeps close to the teen-travel drama until Spider-man is called into action, thereby changing the genre element into superhero adventure. A strange, new villain emerges and wreaks havoc in the school’s destination city, and Peter, struggling with ambivalence, has to choose either to fight the villain because Peter is Spider-man or to run because he needs to preserve his secret identity. Peter decides to do both, so he does neither well, causing the situation to deteriorate. But, when things start to really get out of hand, Mysterio shows up. Mysterio appeals to the responsible hero on the inside of Peter and helps him with his decisions going forward.

Act III adds more unapologetic teen travel drama by coupling cyberpunk wizardry with adolescent cellphone angst and a splash of espionage fiction before becoming a massive helping of superhero action again. Peter and his class are on their way to a new travel destination, causing the stakes to climb despite Peter’s best efforts to keep them manageable. He finds himself trying to balance the protection of bystanders and his social life. In the case of the latter, for just a moment, things seem to be going his way and then, boom, villainy! It’s an excellent microcosm for life throwing curveballs at you. The scene’s end shifts gears away from teen drama and heroics by unveiling another antagonist to the audience, connecting older MCU films to the current situation. Shakespearean in its execution, Peter is none the wiser.

Act IV follows the previous scene’s formula, presenting Peter attempting to triage his courtship of MJ (portrayed by Zendaya) before running afoul of the critical clue into the antagonist’s motivations. Peter rushes off to investigate and finds himself in a kaleidoscope of danger and betrayal, again raising the stakes and bringing Peter to a sobering threat of his own creation.

The final act doubles down on the formula, giving us a spectacular showdown between the movie’s antagonist and Spider-man as well as an equally thrilling and heartfelt climax.

Technical Review

The script is easily consumed and digestible, tugging on some of the beloved threads of Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Endgame—but less so of Homecoming.

The cinematography and CGI are brilliant as usual. The directors pulled in the very best choreographers for Spidey’s amazing scenes. And, they took many cues from the Disney XD Ultimate Spider-man (2012-2017) cartoon series.

Mysterio brings fresh new content and ideas to the world of Spider-man and his fanbase which has seen the likes of several iterations of Goblins, a Doctor Octopus, a Rhino, an Electro, a Venom, and a Vulture.

Oh! Tom Holland nails it.

Thumbs-up!

Conclusion

I really enjoyed Spiderman: Far From Home. The movie did a great job being a superhero movie that everyone can enjoy; but, it did an especially great job speaking to young movie-goers and fans. Tom Holland is a gem as the titular wall-crawler, and he nails the teenage aspect.

Personally, I’m a fan of the adult Spider-man of the 90s, in the Sony video game (read: magic in a game console), and the movie Spider-man: Into The Spiderverse. Mostly, I’m a fan of an adult Spider-man because he was an adult in the 90s when I was getting into comics. During that time, he had an apartment in SoHo and was in a steady relationship with MJ. But you know what? Despite my preference, I like the teenager; I just prefer the adult. But, we’ve seen Spidey as an adult in plenty of movies. Don’t forget all the old ass looking high school versions in both the Maguire and Garfield runs, and we’ve seen him be a struggling twenty-something as well as a…heart-throb (🤔🤨)…because the Amazing Spider-man franchise wanted to have a one-night liaison with Andrew Garfield and thought you should want to do the same. Spider-man never was, and never will be, a heart-throb. Stop the madness.

**Exhale** I digress.

So, it’s great to get Spidey at the age that Stan Lee had originally created him but modernized to deal with modern teenage concerns. I know I know…some of you just can’t by that. Here’s my response: Let the goddamn kids and teenagers have their fucking movie! After all, we got our grown Spider-man in Into The Spiderverse. Rant over. **Exhale again**

Kenny, what was better: Far From Home or Into The Spiderverse? Into The Spiderverse is the superior film. It hits the emotional beats more differently and satisfyingly, but that’s what Into The Spiderverse was trying to do. Far From Home is a different movie altogether. The kids won’t know any better; they’ll love both.

Your thoughts on Mysterio? Awesome! That’s all I’m going to say because I’ll spoil things if I say anything else.

C’mon! You have to have some criticism! I do: Spidey takes his mask off too much, and too many people know his identity for my taste. I’m sure that has to do with the actor’s ability to emote and connect with the audience when wearing a mask, so I take it for what it is. Mostly, nitpicking. Fans do that.

Will the kids love it? Yes!

Will the adults of love it? Yes!

Will the fans love it? Yes! Don’t confuse nitpicking with dislike.

Will the fanboys like it? Fanboys don’t even like themselves. Besides, who cares what they want?

Two thumbs up people!

“Stryfe! It’s over!”

-Kenny