Spider-Man: Far from Home - 2019
Director(s): Jon Watts
Writer(s): Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers (screenplay) / Steve Ditko and Stan Lee (characters)
Cinematography by: Matthew J. Lloyd
Editor(s): Leigh Folsom Boyd and Dan Lebental
Cast: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Jacob Revolori, Cobie Smulders, Martin Starr and J.B. Smoove
Here we are, the third - second Spider-Man - entry in the last fifteen years has arrived (and the twenty-second entry in the MCU). While this is technically Holland's fifth outing in his tights (sorry way too many counting in this opening paragraph), we are still getting to know who this Spidey is and where will his story will go - especially after the world-changing events in this year's Endgame. While the ending does set up an intriguing, and complicated, future for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, the story itself is another straightforward superhero story, and a fun one at that - let's talk about it.
*Spoilers for Endgame ahead*
The story picks up not long after the conclusion of Endgame - the world and Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Holland) are reeling from the loss of many of their superheroes, mainly Tony Stark/Iron-Man. The question in everyone's' mind is; "Who will be the next Iron-Man?" Peter is still a high school teenager and wants a break from the life and death stakes of being a superhero and wants to have fun with his friends and pursue a relationship with MJ (Zendaya). Unfortunately for him, and his friends, the universe has other plans as elemental monsters start to attack cities around the world, and Nick Fury (Jackson) wants him to step up to the challenge. Luckily for Peter, he doesn't have to face them alone as a new hero has arrived to help carry the load, Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Gyllenhaal). Now Peter must find a way to balance both his identities and stopping the elemental threats rampaging through Europe.
Like all the post-Avengers movies in the MCU, this story greatly benefits if the audience is fully invested in everything that came before it - especially the last two Avenger movies. Peter's need to seek out a "normal" life, after watching his mentor give up his to save the entire universe, is the driving force behind every decision made during the film. All his doubts, fears and insecurities are fuel by the fact that everyone is looking to him, "Tony's protégé," to take up the mantel - even though he is only sixteen-years-old. Mysterio's translation to the big screen was creative and fun - and it may be one of my favorite re-imagining of a comic book character they have done so far.
The action sequences are well made, as always, with the one that contains spoilers (hard not to say it) being the one that I flat-out loved, as it made me feel like a little kid. The special effects overall are fantastic, and the score is a bit underwhelming (normal for an MCU film). Holland continues to be a great Peter/Spider-Man, as he can add pathos - to his upbeat, nerdy and awkward performance - at a drop of a dime. Gyllenhaal steals the film, and he is funny, charming and menacing within his role. Zendaya is given more room to explore her character and grows past the awkward one-liners in Homecoming - showcasing great chemistry with Holland.
Spider-Man: Far from Home swings past some meaningful themes like not trusting what we see without digging deeper (especially in media), and doing the right thing, at the cost of your happiness - but it is ultimately another fun, entertaining and well-made MCU film that set up the future of the franchise. I had a blast, and if you are a fan of the MCU and Spidey, you will also have fun at the theater.
Spider-Man: Far from Home is a Glass Half Full.
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