REVIEW: Spiderman - Far From Home

I guess the new rule is that we only get good Spiderman flicks from now on, huh?

Far From Home is an absolute triumph providing everything I expected from a Marvel movie and a few things I thought couldn’t exist in the MCU anymore.

In this one, Peter Parker is stuck between worlds. People expect him to be the next Iron Man but he just wants to go on a European vacation with his classmates. When threats start popping up all over Venice, he must save his friends and figure out how to balance being Spiderman and being a regular teenager.

Boom. That’s it.

And that’s all ya really need…

This was the first Marvel plot to surprise me since Iron Man back in 2008. Everyone gets character development, the jokes are punchy, the villain is sympathetic, and the subplots seem fairly balanced despite there being at least 8 of them.

There were some pacing problems towards the start (can’t have it all I guess) but overall Far From Home 100% sticks the landing. The last 30 seconds had me SCREAMING in the theater!

Now let’s talk highlights.

 

The first thing I thought after watching Far From Home was “wow, that’s some great acting for a Marvel movie.”

Everyone in the returning cast steps up their game.

Everyone.

Zendaya as MJ is a billion times more likeable in Far From Home, showing that her character has a heart underneath all that edge, while still maintaining the edge.

Tony Revolori sells Flash Thompson as a modern bully in a way that’s both comic book-y and not.

Jon Favreau steps into the role of Happy and pretty much feels like he was always supposed to be Spiderman’s lovable adult sidekick.

The comic relief of the teachers, Ned, and Betty steal scenes constantly. They bring a wholesomeness to the tone and a familiarity to the group that legitimizes the world of Peter Parker. This movie would not be what it is without J.B. Smoove, Martin Starr, Jacob Batalon, and Angourie Rice.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays a Mysterio that’s so nuanced I didn’t even notice that he was being nuanced until 2/3rds of the way through the film.

And as always, Tom Holland is incredible to watch. He’s the perfect Spidey for 2019 and I know everyone in the film industry is gonna follow this dude’s career like a HAWK.

 

The visuals, in my opinion, are THE BEST TO EVER come out of a Marvel film.

Honestly. Take notes Endgame.

The locations are mostly real places instead of studio sets; New York is New York, Venice is Venice, and Prague is Prague. It’s so much better than the usual fair and ramps up the idea that Peter is completely out of his element. I haven’t seen a Marvel movie use locations like that since freakin’ 2011 when Captain America debuted and thank the lord they broke their big-fat-set rule on this particular one. When the people in a road trip movie, ya know…go on a road trip, the end product is always better for it.

Crisp elegant fight sequences are done mostly with wide shots so you can see Spiderman fighting and not the typical red blur. When they’re not wides everything is creatively framed to illicit very specific emotions. There wasn’t a single shot that felt wasted to me and that NEVER happens. Also, holy crap, the CGI is a banger: drone shots, gas and water effects, the sequences that looked like animated comic book pages had me melting.

Something else worth noting is the tech in this movie. Each gadget is just a bit more tangible than in other recent Marvel films, from the spidey suit to the wooshy wooshy SHEILD screens. The art direction still gives us something miraculous, but we’re not seeing any nanobots that can magically conjure weaponry into thin air. The human element is always the most pronounced when it comes to the design.

Details like that help better define characters and creates tension in a snap. This is not Tony’s world where you can just whistle to some A.I. and solve a problem. You’re Spiderman. You have to be clever, MacGyver your way out, approach things creatively.

 

Thematically, Far From Home covers a lot.

I mean, the themes in Spiderman movies always impressed me. Even the bad ones tend to cover some pretty Amazing subject matter. (See what I did there?) We can thank Steve Ditko and Stan Lee for that. Building your main character on the phrase “with great power comes great responsibility” comes with some dense symbolism to suss out within a story.

But on a personal level, Far From Home got me reallllll introspective in a way no other Spidey film has. So for that, bravo.

50% of this movie is about Peter balancing real life with his duty as a superhero (classic) and the other 50 % is a story about trust. A story about allowing yourself to be vulnerable even though everything can go wrong or has gone wrong before. It’s a movie about fallen father figures and finding the ones you can rely on. Recognizing that even when it seems like you can’t trust anything it’s still better to put your faith in something, because without the strength to believe in each other, we all lose.

That plays out in so many different ways but you can see the theme of trust emphasized in every interaction. Be it Peter and MJ, SHEILD and Mysterio, Aunt May and Happy, pick any scene and you can relate it somehow to this idea that trust is hard, confusing, but worthwhile.

Thank goodness somebody is saying it.

 

Spiderman has always been one of my favorite fictional characters. He’s pretty much a staple of my childhood so I won’t deny that I’ve got rose tinted glasses when it comes to movies with the web slinger.

But real talk. No nostalgia goggles on.

Far From Home breaks away from the typical MCU formula to deliver one heck of a superhero film.

I highly recommend you check it out for yourself.

4.5/5

P.S. I’m calling it now. Sinister Six is coming. I mean, look at this pic. You know the Marvel people want a slice of that apple pie.

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