McCoy on Movies: Spider-Man: Far From Home

McCoy on Movies: Spider-Man: Far From Home

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It’s an unpredictable blend of teen romance and superhero action, but does this new flick spin a web of must-see Marvel adventure?

 

“Hi there … We’re getting ready to make a lot of money together for a major Hollywood studio!” Peter Parker (Tom Holland, center) gets introduced to Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal, right) while Nick Fury’s assistant soldier Dmitri (Numan Acar, far left) in a scene from SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME. Credit: Jay Maidment © 2019 CTMG, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE:

 

KEY CAST MEMBERS: Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jon Favreau, Jacob Balaton, Zendaya, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Angourie Rice, J.B. Smoove, Martin Starr, Tony Revolori, Remy Hii and Marisa Tomei

DIRECTOR(S): Jon Watts

THE BACK STORY: Still reeling from the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home finds Peter Parker (Tom Holland) still attempting to get over the [SPOILER ALERT – BUT YOU’VE HAD PLENTY OF TIME TO FIND THIS OUT!] death of his mentor Tony Stark. Now, Tony’s trusted right hand man Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is trying to help Peter progress and move forward; Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), on the other hand, are hoping to talk to him about the Elementals, a threat that just popped up in Mexico and may be moving in to more spots around the globe. 

Peter, however, has one thing on his mind – well two, if you count his suspicious about what his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) may be up to in her free time – and that’s his upcoming class trip to Europe with Ned (Jacob Balaton), MJ (Zendaya), Flash (Tony Revolori), Betty (Angourie Rice), Brad (Remy Hii) and their science teachers/chaperones Mr. Harrington (Martin Starr) and Mr. Bell (J.B. Smoove). Unfortunately for Peter, (1) Nick Fury isn’t going to take kindly to him trying to ghost his calls; (2) Brad – who grew up quite a bit in the 5 years after “the blip” – has his eyes on MJ, too and (3) It seems like that disturbance in Mexico seems to be heading towards Europe.

But luckily for Peter, he’s about to get some help in form of a soldier from an alternate Earth who has come to fights the Elementals by the name of Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) … Or, as the world will soon come to know him, Mysterio …

THE REVIEW: Given all that happened in the latter movie, many fans were shocked to learn that it would be Spider-Man: Far From Home and not Avengers: Endgame that would wrap up Marvel’s Phase Three plans. It would almost seem that by doing so, Far From Home would have an immense amount of pressure to live up to, especially since a year is slated to pass before Marvel drops another film on the public. But this is Marvel we’re talking about, which means there is no way they were going to let Sony Pictures let one of its most iconic characters go out and make the studio nor Iron Man down.

In other words, Far From Home lives up to expectations and then some with a well-crafted story, action sequences, plenty of humor and a game-changing ending worthy of passing the torch from Tony Stark to Peter Parker.

Given that longtime fans of the character have already watched Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield attempt to carve out their own niche as Spider-Man, Holland may now own the mantle as the definitive actor to play him – Far From Home serving as his greatest showcase to date. Exhibiting the classic naiveté of a teenager at times as he still tries to understand of what he is fully capable both as a superhero and a young man with his eye on a girl, Holland also shows all of the classic comic book elements that made Spider-Man such a big deal in the first place in terms of his humor, creativity and strength when he is forced to step up and go to battle. His interactions with his all of co-stars only serve to enhance these facets of the character as his ragtag group of fellow students feels perfectly cast with Balaton, Zendaya, Revolori, Hii and Rice all adding perfectly to the story.

Likewise, the adults more than come through in Far From Home with their respective roles. While you’re never really going to ever go wrong with Jackson doing Jackson-like things for two hours as Nick Fury with Smulders exhibiting a calm cool as his second-in-command, Favreau keeps his comedy contingency high while adding as a bit of diet Stark to whom Holland’s Parker can vent his frustrations. Tomei keeps finding ways to make the cinematic version of Aunt May more interesting she’s ever been and Gyllenhaal expertly exhibits all of the elements of his character ala the way Michael Keaton did in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Director Jon Watts (who co-wrote the film with Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers) proves his previous work with Spider-Man wasn’t a fluke, as Far From Home steps up everything the aforementioned Homecoming does in terms of pacing, humor, peril, general storytelling and visual engagement well. The film never feels as long as its 2 hour, 15 minute running time, no moments feel wasted and his ability to get everything he needs in the moment out of his actors definitely pays dividends with the finished product. In short, Watts and co. have done the thing that is very hard to do with any superhero story, let alone a movie in general: Craft a tale that satisfies every need with a cast that you won’t spend time second-guessing if they were right for the role and a story that contains enough original, organic moments combined “oh – didn’t see that coming!” ones to tie into the larger world (in this case, the Marvel Cinematic Universe / MCU for short) while still being its own unique thing.

So while the character himself may be far from home, the latest Spider-Man movie proves that when it comes to the future of the MCU, he’s definitely found one as long as Holland, Watts and co. can continue to deliver quality stories like this.

OVERALL RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN):

 

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