Monday, July 1, 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, a movie you will definitely want to see before sitting down for this one, Spider-Man: Far From Home centers around Peter Parker (Tom Holland) struggling to fill the void left by Earth's mightiest heroes while also trying to enjoy his high school class trip to Europe.

There's quite a bit screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers (both who also helped write Spider-Man: Homecoming) get right. One of the oldest Spidey tropes is Peter Parker being crushed by the responsibility thrust upon him at such a young age. The loss of Iron Man, and expectations for him to grow into "the next Iron Man," are overwhelming for the teenage super-hero just wanting to protect the neighborhood and find time to admit his feelings to the girl he likes (Zendaya).

The script offers a new threat in elemental monsters from a parallel Earth and Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), a hero who has tracked them here. When Peter's summer trip is hijacked by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) he has no choice but to help Mysterio fight the threat as he struggles with his destiny.

Mysterio is one of the goofiest looking Spider-Man villains, so I give huge props to costume designer Anna B. Sheppard for staying with the character's comic book design and making it work on film (no half-assed Electro designs here). Gyllenhaal proves to be smart casting for another weary potential mentor to Peter. And the film returns both May (Marisa Tomei) and Happy (Jon Favreau) who, through limited screentime, both step up to support Peter when he needs it most (and make him question just what is going on between the two). The movie's mid-credit and post-credit sequences offer a terrific cameo, a bombshell whose ripples will effect Spider-Man for several movies to come, and a small reveal as Marvel looks ahead to a more galactic phase of their future movie projects.

While getting Peter right, the movie isn't without its issues. Featuring five different Spidey suits and a final act straight from a game console, too much of film feels like Sony attempting to sell their next video game. And the logic of that final battle gets goofy involving a never-ending supply of drones (many of which explode without any assistance). For fans who know Mysterio, the movie also takes far too long before the big reveal you know is coming. Far from perfect, the film is still quite entertaining while acting as bridge, honoring the Marvel Studios movies that have come before, while further developing Peter and his supporting cast (who somehow all were part of the "blip"), and cementing Peter Parker as one of the pillars of the MCU going forward.

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