Spider-Man: Far From Home
This is the last movie in phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the second live action collaboration with Sony. We get to see the repercussions of Endgame and the introduction of a Mysterio that unfortunately wasn’t played by Bruce Campbell while Peter Parker tries to figure out whether or not he wants a normal life or a superhero life. It does a good job at balancing the teen comedy angle while still giving plenty of great action setpieces as well as a mind bending sequence that almost felt straight out of Doctor Strange. Like with most MCU movies it was fun and enjoyable with a touch of heart mixed in for good measure. And as with many of my recent posts, since this is a new release I will be discussing the plot in full including any potential spoilers so here’s your warning.
Oddly enough one of the biggest questions surrounding the movie was how they would handle the Mysterio reveal. Anyone who has a bit of knowledge about Spider-Man outside of the feature films knows that Mysterio is one of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery and his technique of choice is realistic illusions as he was a special effects guy. The film’s marketing leans heavily into his misdirections and paints him as the hero that he pretends to be. It’s not until about two-thirds of the way into the movie that the switchover happens and he’s revealed to be the villain that most of the audience knew he would be. And as has been the case for many recent Marvel films, they actually do the villain right. They give him a great personality, great motivation, and a nice little arc.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays the hero and within the context of the MCU universe, it makes sense that this flashy costume would be something that would get him noticed when nothing else would. He also has a great paranoid turn that especially comes into play during the great credit sequence that really ties Peter Parker even more closely to Tony Stark. It’s a complicated move that gives him an important part of his superhero persona while still taking it in a brand new direction. It was amazing seeing JK Simmons reprise his role as J Jonah Jameson and the misdirect by Mysterio that paints Spider-Man as a villain works to give him the questionable motives as to why he’s hated by half of New York but loved by the other half. On top of that, his identity is revealed just like how everyone knew that Tony Stark was Iron Man. It’s an interesting direction and a great way to end the movie. Especially with the extra end credit that added another level of misdirect as Nick Fury in this film was actually a Skrull the entire time posing as Nick Fury but also working with Nick Fury.
The action scenes are some of the best looking moments in the movies. The elementals look amazing and are slightly reminiscent of Sandman in Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 which was one of the few good things to come out of that movie, ignoring the convoluted back story. And when Mysterio goes full villain and is allowed to cut loose on Spider-Man it’s one of the most visually amazing and inventive scenes in a Marvel film in a long time. It works on so many different levels with the psychological aspect as well as the visual flair that can be missing from a lot of Marvel movies in recent years. The one downside was that they decided to go with the very tired ferris wheel cliche.
But aside from the action scenes and the villains, there’s also the teenage romantic comedy angle thrown in the mix as Peter plans to share his feelings for MJ while Ned decides to be a bachelor during the school trip to Europe. There’s the typical missed connections and hunky rival with only a few cliche dodges. It’s funny and it mixes well with the superhero action. Especially as it brings up the question for Peter where he has to decide if he just wants to be a normal teenager or if he wants to be an Avenger. There is a nice slight cliche dodge where MJ reveals that she knows that Peter is Spider-Man although it’s immediately followed by a typical romantic comedy miscommunication where she makes Peter think that she doesn’t like him romantically as she was only interested in him because she thought he was Spider-Man. In general, the school trip as well as the difficulties that Nick Fury encounters trying to accommodate Peter’s school trip bring in the right amount of MCU comedy.
Far From Home is another great addition to the MCU and brings in a great villain despite killing him off at the end. Tom Holland continues to show that he’s a great Peter Parker and a great Spider-Man with the right level of awkwardness as Peter and also brings a touch of that lack of confidence into his Spider-Man persona for a slightly different take on Spider-Man who’s typically outwardly confident. It spends just enough time explaining how the world is dealing with the aftereffects of the snap from Infinity War and the blip from Endgame where everyone lost came back. It’s an interesting concept that’s only explored very surface level, but there’s just enough there to be able to wrap your head around it without dragging the audience into too many specifics. It’s a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see where they take Spider-Man in the future. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.