Spider-Man: Far From Home proves to be another successful entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). If you haven't seen this movie yet, stop reading. We are going to be getting into some very heavy spoilers below. You also probably will have need to have watched the entire MCU movies leading up to this, because let's face it, if you're coming in cold-turkey to these movies now without having seen the others, you're basically just enjoying the crust on your double deluxe deli sandwich. So here we go into spoiler territory!
Who would have thought that Spider-Man: Far From Home would really come down to characters named Edith, Talos and J. Jonah Jameson. Yes, that's correct. Artificial intelligence, skulls and J.K. (Friggin') Simmons!! Sure we follow the usual suspects of Peter and his classmates around Europe while basking in Tom Holland's genuine performance of that awkward teenager having an internal struggle between saving the world with his powers of being "strong and sticky" and that of trying to execute his hopelessly romantic plan of getting MJ to kiss him. But did I mention that we have J. Jonah Jameson in this movie... the real one!
Okay, so long story short: Tony Stark is dead. He loved Peter Parker like a son and so left him all of his power. But Peter just wants to be a kid and his class trip to Europe is all orchestrated by Nick Fury and his remaining S.H.I.E.L.D. operations, working in the shadows. Fury needs Peter to help eliminate a bunch of monsters who will come and destroy the world. The other Avengers since Endgame have other things they need to attend to. So Nick Fury and team recruits Mysteryo who is seems like he's the newest contender for "Earth's Mightiest Hero." But of course, fans of Spider-Man know, this guys isn't to be trusted, but Peter Parker just wants to be a kid.
Sure, it sounds like a bad 90's action movie script... but that's because it is! The whole first half of the movie is a bit clunky and sticks like webbing in places, but it's all part of the design. So let's get into what this movie is also really about. Edith, or E.D.I.T.H., or "Even Dead, I'm The Hero" is another great piece of A.I. that Tony Stark created. It's basically Skynet, but needs a human controller, and has a much more friendly OS, and is operated completely by wearing a pair of sunglasses. The world is still feeling the toll that Endgame put on us, and like the MCU audience, we are wondering who is going to take up the Iron Man mantel.
Tony left Edith's control to Peter, who Peter again is extremely reluctant to use, especially after almost assassinating a potential suitor for MJ. He then gives the control to Mysterio (aka Quentin Beck), which unbeknown to all of us, is a disgruntled former Stark Industries employee, who was responsible for designing the hologram program seen in Captain America: Civil War and Tony refers to as his "therapy project." But he's not alone, he has a whole team of disenchanted Stark Industry professionals, who like Stark, had no super powers other than being smart and posses high levels of technological skills. Even William Ginter Riva (played by Peter Billingsley from 11 years ago in the original Iron Man) was there to be a part of the former Stark Industries villains. With the control of Edith, Mysterio is now able to make it look like he's the Avenger that is all powerful.
Mysterio seems kind of a "meh" character at first, nothing explained. But when you find out everything is being projected and mapped out by drones, the threat becomes very real for Spider-Man. I found myself in awe and wondering how Peter was going to get out of the visions Mysterio was putting around Peter. Even projecting a zombie-like Iron Man coming after Peter... a truly horrific image for Peter. At the beginning of the movie, his Spidey-senses (aka "Peter Tingle") are off because he's so distracted with teenage life. Of course, in the end he becomes more focused and that's what saves him in the end, bringing Mysterio down.
But of course, William Ginter Riva makes it out with footage from the battle and leaks it to the press. Actually, he gives it exclusively to the Daily Bugle and the hands of J. Jonah Jameson! Yes, we are looking at the one and only from the original Spider-Man trilogy, and as far as I know, is the only previous non-MCU marvel character that reprises their old Marvel role in the MCU. That's probably because J.K. Simmons was one of the best parts of those trilogies, and a fan favorite. Well, in this Spider-Man universe, it was his responsibility to release the video of Mysterio dying at the hands of Spider-Man and then they release his true identity of Peter Parker. A call back to the "I am Iron Man" moment, only it's not what Peter wanted. Also, he is called the villain! This is probably the best mid-credit scenes in all of the MCU.
This situation probably is going to be hard for Nick Fury to cover up, considering the fact that he's sunning himself on a Skrull ship in outer space. Yes, kids, the Nick Fury and Maria Hill we've been watching for the entire movie are actually Skrull impostors, Nick actually being Talos, reprised by Ben Mendelsohn. So when Nick Fury tells Peter to not mention Captain Marvel again, it makes a lot more sense. So what's Nick doing? Where's he going? Is that why the other Avengers are available? What's going on?? Ah, that's Phase 4!
In the end, we are left with a thrilling new addition to the MCU and a fantastic Spider-Man movie. Is it perfect? Not 100 percent, but it's fun, and what else should it be? It is also very satisfying to know that after the leak of Peter's name, he'll be fine hiding with Happy Hogan and taking Aunt May with him. Now May and Happy will get more quality time together with their new romance. But Peter will squarely take up the mantle of Iron Man, wielding greater power to protect him from the outside forces that now call him a villain. But as we all know, with great power comes great box office returns (like a $185 million record breaking 4th of July weekend).
I need to go see this movie again, and as soon as possible. What did you think?
4 out of 5 stars.
Tom Holland makes a triumphant return for his fifth time as the web-slinging teenager in Sony/Marvel Studios' Spider-Man: Far From Home. Which is saying something, considering Tobey Maguire had three runs and Andrew Garfield had two. This is his Tom Holland's second stand alone movie as Peter Parker, but he is just as fresh and entertaining to watch as ever.
Something that Tom does is give a genuine performance to what it was like being an awkward shy teenager, who just happens to be "really strong and sticky." Now I won't get into spoilers here, that will come later. But I have to say that you really MUST have watched Avengers: Endgame to really appreciate what's going on here. For those fans who have been following these movies religiously, there's some major pay-offs, major heartbreak, and major fun with these characters. Even the fans going back to the Tobey Maguire films are going to find something to cheer about... but I'm not saying what it is... but man, am I still hooting and hollering about it!
I will say I knew very little about Jake Gyllenhaal's character, Mysterio. So going into this movie was fun because I got really into who and what he's all about. It's hard to make a character work who sports a fishbowl on his head, but it all makes sense! His performance was just as good as the supporting cast, which includes Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders and Jon Favreau, who are continuing the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) thread here, just like they always have. It was great though to see Favreau's Happy Hogan get some much loved screen time and moments with Peter Parker as well. Especially after what we see they're like in Spiderman: Homecoming. There's a scene with the two characters in a location that is reminiscent of the village of Solvang, only it's in the Netherlands, that really is a moving moment... it would even make Tony Stark smile.
Holland's command presence as an awkward teen will resonate with just about anyone who was ever a teenager. We all have our "off" days, including when distractions can top his "Peter Tingle." But it's an honest performance by him and Zendaya's character, MJ, which has the audience swooning at times for how simply precious he is and they are. There's a love for the characters that is genuine from the actors, and it shows.
The first part of the film does come off a bit campy, clunky and predictable, but that's not so horrible because it's still fun. Films, especially ones in the MCU, that tend to have fun with itself seems to have better audience reactions. Which also may be why the DCU is having problems swaying their audience; they just take themselves too serious and are trying to be too responsible with the material. Well, Peter knows that with great power comes great responsibility. Yet we see Peter here, literally say that he doesn't want it. He just wants to be a kid and try to impress a girl... that is until he's needed and no Avengers are around to answer the call...
If you're going to the movies on this 4th of July Weekend, go see Spider-Man. It's another fantastic addition to the MCU that you really can't miss. See it before it gets spoiled, and whatever you do, (like I need to tell you) stick around to the end of the credits. This is probably my favorite (mid) credits scene I've seen in the MCU. Fantastic cliffhanger!!