No Finger-Snap From Thanos Can Keep Tom Holland Down. As “Spider-Man: Far From Home” Is A Sequel That Rises Above & Reaches The Greatness Of Sam Raimi & Tobey Maguire’s “Spider-Man 2”, As One Of The Great Sequels. This Is What Summer Movies Are All About. A Big Screen Event Not To Be Missed.
2017’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming” was an element of surprise. It introduced us to a new Spider-Man that was a much needed reboot after the Andrew Garfield reboot offered us two dull chapters. While it’s still hard to beat Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy. Nobody was expecting much from “Homecoming”, but director Jon Watts (Kevin Bacon’s “Cop Car”) and new Spider-Man Star Tom Holland had delivered a joyful, exciting, endearingly John Hughes adolescent superhero adventure that managed to make the friendly neighborhood web-slinger into a viable screen hero again.
Tom Holland is back in his sophomore effort as Spidey in returning director Jon Watts “Spider-Man: Far From Home”, a rare occurrence that defies the odds with a sequel that is a spectacular thrill from start to finish. A sequel that rises above & reaches the greatness of Sam Raimi & Tobey Maguire’s “Spider-Man 2”, as one of the great sequels. Although “Far From Home” has the unfortunate and heavy burdened position of being both sequel to “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and a continuation of one of the biggest films in the world “Avengers: Endgame”.
Watts and his screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers (also returning from “Homecoming”), completely break the training wheels off and focuses solely on Spider-Man. As in the previous film he had so much help from Iron Man (I know. I get where they were going with the story), but it often felt like he was a passenger to his own story. In “Far From Home” he must fully tackle the enormous burden that comes with being an Avenger.
While still in mourning over his mentor and father figure Tony Stark, Peter is hoping that he can just be the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man by night and a regular high school kid by day. Although Peter is excited to join his science classmates on a trip to Europe, because that means the promise of him getting quality time with his ongoing love for Zendaya’s (“The Greatest Showman”) MJ.
Of course things get in Peter’s way as his European vacation is accompanied by Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) and his trusty associate Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) who introduce Peter to Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal). Beck with his Jake Gyllenhaal leading-man looks, super-cool “Doctor Strange” looking super powers and big brotherly ways toward Peter, is reminiscent of a certain recently departed billionaire superhero. Quentin is soon dubbed as Mysterio for his well…what else? Mysterious ways.
“Far from Home” does a great job stitching the events of “Endgame” and keeping to what Watts promised us in “Homecoming”. Watts gracefully juggles through all the Marvel Cinematic Universe events that the movie has to work through. He continues with the John Hughes teen coming of age vibe he displayed in “Homecoming”, with this time being a take on the classic teen movie class trip to Europe (Let’s face it the best class trip to Europe movie is Richard Greico’s “If Looks Could Kill”). Peter tries to finally take things between him and MJ beyond the friendzone. Once again playing to a classic teen vibe, Peter and MJ has almost as much weight as Spidey and “Mysterio’s” fight against the baddies known as the Elementals and it works.
Holland is good as always as he can turn his emotions from awkward teen, to funny kid, to sweet kid, to an emotional wreck in a heartbeat. His arc this time is mainly about him coming to terms with the fact that “The Avengers”, as he knows it, are gone and now people like Fury are looking to him to be the next Tony Stark.
If you know your Spider-Man movie trivia, you’ll know that Jake Gyllenhaal being cast as Mysterio, is a nice coincidence as he famously almost took over as the web-slinger before “Spider-Man 2”. Here, he brings a solid dose of that Jake Gyllenhaal leading-man charisma to the part of Mysterio. It’s funny he isn’t being hit with any cease and desist letters from any magicians. David Copperfield who? Copperfield ain’t got nothing on Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio. He will make your kids want to run around the house with a fish bowl on their head (I’d advise against that!), while making whooshing noises and waving their arms around like a magician.
Gyllenhaal doesn’t channel his “Nightcrawler” character, but he does get the opportunity to scream at the top of lungs as if he’s reading riveting work like it were Shakespeare. There’s going to be a lot of talk and people are going to be divisive, about Mysterio when it’s all over. In all honesty he is one of the most exciting new characters to be introduced. While not as menacing as Michael Keaton’s The Vulture, Gyllenhaal brings his A-list charisma and is terrific as Beck.
This time, Zendaya really gets to shine as MJ. I love her unique spin on the classic character. She’s doing her own thing in a very modern, kinda edgy way and it works. Tom Holland and Zendaya are authentically awkward and so sweet together, that I could watch a whole movie about their romance in a traditional romantic comedy. A great treat is to watch Peter’s awkward attempts at his summer romance with MJ that are always fun to watch.
Meanwhile, Jacob Batalon is on-hand once again as Peter’s best friend for a little comic relief as Ned. Although I appreciated his character more in the first film. The va-va-voom force that is the beautiful Marisa Tomei also returns as the sexy Aunt May, sporting high-waisted “mom jeans”, and yes everyone’s still in love with her (Who wouldn’t be? She’s Marisa Tomei!). Actor and director Jon Favreau also shows up in a much bigger role as Happy, who has to step up and mentor Peter now that Tony’s gone. It’s nice to see Favreau still a part of the Marvel Universe since directing 2008’s “Iron Man”. Whether he is serving as a producer, actor or director.
Jon Watts directs “Far From Home” with style, flair and a deft touch. The screenplay by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers is smart, clever, sharp and downright funny. Watts knocks this one out of the park, delivering a special sequel and installment for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Spider-Man fans. He recaptures the magic, teen anxiety, and comic book atmosphere that was previously established. Watts truly tops himself while also expanding the world he’s helped to create.
There are some truly astonishing action sequences that has received a serious upgrade from the last film, nearly rivaling Sam Raimi’s breakneck pace. It’s well choreographed action pieces that bring the summer movie spectacle back to the big screen. The army of VFX artists deserve Oscars for best visual effects, especially one of my favorite sequences of the film that will send you on a mind-boggling “Inception” level trip, and the final battle just may be the best we’ve seen in any Marvel or “Spider-Man” movie. It’s the definition of must see summer movies and it must be seen on the biggest screen possible.
Otherwise, this is pretty textbook Marvel, it’s obvious the studio has these films down to a science. Giving us the fun installments like “Ant-Man”, origin tales “Captain Marvel” or “Black Panther” and the heavy-duty epics like “Avengers: Infinity War or EndGame”. This is one of the fun ones and the break we all needed after the heart breaking events of “EndGame”.
See how that its Marvel I’m not gonna swing into spoilers, but events happen that alter the universe in a pretty significant way. Specifically, they happen during the end credits. The first scene is a huge one. I gotta tell you Marvel is really making me into a believer. After giving us one of the best films of the year with “Black Panther” and keeping the streak going with “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp”. Marvel has continued their winning streak this year by proving themselves as they release great films like this year’s: “Captain Marvel”, “Avengers: EndGame” and now “Spider-Man: Far From Home”. It’s hard to imagine anyone not having a blast with this. When I see it for my third, fourth or however many number of times I see it. I will be reveling in all of it’s sweet incredible cinematic summer movie glory.
(4 & 1/2 out of 5)