Ben’s Breakdown | “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is a heroically fun movie!

Following the tragic events of the infamous Thanos snap (Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame), now referred to as “The Blip,” Peter has embraced the notion of just being the “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man,” despite being christened as an Avenger during the Infinity War from mentor Tony Stark. Instead he has decided to be a street level hero, helping out the people of Queens and just striving to be a good example for others. He’s also desperate to try to have as much of a normal life as possible given that he’s back in high school with his best friend Ned, as well as a girl he’s having feelings for, namely M.J. All is well until, while on a high school trip to Europe, Peter is recruited by Nick Fury to deal with an elemental threat attacking the Earth. It is there that he meets another superhero (Mysterio) from a different Earth in the multiverse, who wishes for Peter to assist him in defeating this final monstrosity. Eventually all goes as planned, but something happens that raises doubts in Peter’s mind as to the legitimacy of who Mysterio truly is. Can he learn the secret of Mysterio, get the girl, and rise to the occasion and become the hero that others expect him to be?

One of the great delights about the Spider-Man movies that have been put out from the Sony/Marvel deal is that they are pure popcorn fun. From the first Spider-Man: Homecoming movie through this sequel, writer Chris McKenna (with screenplay by Erik Sommers) and director Jon Watts have literally pulled the spirit of this beloved character right out of the pages of the comic books for these movies. By capturing Peter’s time in high school, along with all of the angst that comes from being at that age, this movie delivers a plethora of amusing moments highlighting the struggles that poor Peter has to deal with. However McKenna/Sommers and Watts have taken this further by showing Peter’s emotional growth in accepting who he is supposed to be, as opposed to the wild ambition of trying to be more than he was capable at the time with Homecoming. Here we see him also dealing with the emotional weight of having lost Tony Stark, compliments of Endgame. This does manage to add some seriousness at just the right moments when Peter believes he has failed everyone around him, as well as himself. With this the movie never collapses under its own emotional weight, but instead finds just the right way to get out from underneath it and bring back the sense of fun that has made these two movies so incredibly successful.

 

I have said it before, and I will say it again. Young Tom Holland IS Peter Parker/Spider-Man. This incredibly gifted young actor manages to deliver all of the youthful recklessness that is so prevalent in teenagers, as well as how they manage to “leap before they think.” However, when the story calls for it Holland knows how to give some truly heartfelt moments, but does it perfectly from that teenager perspective. Perhaps being that he’s only 23 allows him to think back to those days, nevertheless what he gives us on the screen only adds to his believability factor that he is the web-slinger.

There are numerous returning characters, including Marisa Tomei as Aunt May. Sadly her presence is somewhat reduced to more lighthearted moments as opposed to some serious scenes she shared with Holland in Homecoming. This time around pretty much all of her scenes are played for laughs. Then there is the return of everyone’s favorite chauffer, Happy Hogan as played by Jon Favreau. Of all of the Marvel movies that Favreau has been in, this is probably his finest. Prior to this he was continually there providing assistance to Tony Stark, but this time he’s providing that same assistance, as well as some much needed wisdom, to young Peter. Favreau has always shown that he’s a very strong actor, and while his previous Marvel outings have not shown that (because the movies didn’t call for it), this time around we get to see some good acting coming from him. Hopefully this suggests that Marvel has some serious plans for Happy Hogan in the Marvel movies to come.

One pleasant surprise has been Zendaya as M.J. Previously she was a very sharped-tongue foil for anyone who came within her sphere of influence, but now Zendaya is allowed to show a softer side of M.J., and while her character might not seem to jive with what we saw in Homecoming, Zendaya does this with the right amount of subtle acting that makes her evolution as M.J. completely believable.

The return of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury is always a delight, and as with all previous films the performance was perfectly spot on. The interesting performance of the day is from Jake Gyllenhaal as Quentin Black aka Mysterio. Anyone who has followed Gyllenhaal’s career would know that he’s an incredibly gifted actor. However the character of Quentin Black is rather two-dimensional. There isn’t much depth to him throughout the movie. Gyllenhaal plays the role most admirably, but there aren’t many places he can go with this character, even after Quentin’s true motives are revealed. Nonetheless, it was most enjoyable to seeing an actor of this caliber take on this particular role.

Spider-Man: Far from Home had a very difficult job in that it has to follow, both from a writing standpoint as well as theatrical release, one of the most emotionally intense Marvel movies of all time, and yet it managed to do so beautifully in honoring what happened in Endgame, while maintaining the fun spirit that has come to be associated with Spider-Man. The performances are a delight to watch (especially that of Holland), and the movie itself is a completely enjoyable ride. It has its share of fascinating Easter Eggs, and it also has two post-movie scenes that must be seen, the first happening in the middle of the ending credits (which featured a cameo that I found both surprising and highly enjoyable), and then a final scene after the credits that almost suggests taking a look at the more recent release of Marvel movies, especially scenes involving a certain agent with an eye-patch.

For its lack of faults (that I could see), as well as pulling a couple of surprises I never saw coming, I give Spider-Man: Far from Home 5 out of 5 Webshooters!!!


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