Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home - Review (NO SPOILERS)

Just barely two months have passed since the release of Avengers: Endgame, the culmination of everything that had come before and set up for things to come after. If Endgame was the final chapter, Spider-Man: Far From Home is the epilogue, a look at a world after Thanos and the Avengers, and a glimpse of what’s to come for everyone’s favorite web-head.

Following the events of decimation of half the population and the return five years later, Spider-Man (Tom Holland) must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever. After a school trip to Europe is seemingly hijacked by Nick Fury and Maria Hill (Samuel L. Jackson & Cobie Smulders), Peter must find the balance in being a superhero, taking on life threatening creatures with the aid of Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) and the desire to live a normal life as a teenager and spend time with the girl he likes, MJ (Zendaya).

When you get to the third iteration of a character in fifteen years, it’s not easy for the actor or actress stepping into the role to separate themselves from past versions. And yet, Tom Holland, in just two films (and a few appearances in Avengers films), has become the definitive version of Peter Parker on the big screen. From the awkward persona of a teenager in 2019 just pining after a girl, to the building confidence of a superhero making his own name, Holland just knocks it out of the park once again. If he truly wants to play the wall-crawler until he is 40, let him.

Holland isn’t the only one to deliver a noteworthy performance at all, his supporting cast is just as great if not better in one instance. Zendaya returns as a new, modern take on MJ, and her chemistry with Holland and the character continue to develop into something real and earned. It’s always fantastic to see Samuel L. Jackson back in the eyepatch, and it’s even better when he brings Cobie Smulders along with him. Then there’s Jake Gyllenhaal, an actor who is without a doubt one of the most talented working in Hollywood today, as Mysterio. His introduction and impact on this story are vastly important in their own right, but Gyllenhaal has so much fun playing the mysterious new hero that you can’t help but want to see more.

Of course, when introducing Mysterio to a story, the visuals get an automatic bump, something that the filmmakers absolutely take advantage of. While director Jon Watts does return to bring the high school elements that worked so well in Spider-Man: Homecoming back to the forefront, the action absolutely takes the film slightly above the first film’s offerings. It is by far the best Spidey action since Sam Raimi’s train scene back in 2004. It may not top that scene, but the action has an undeniable flow and energy to it that fits the style of the character so well as he zips and swings through each big, bombastic set piece.

In terms of story, Spider-Man: Far From Home isn’t going to bring a ton of new elements to the table. There are a handful of twists for those not well-versed in comic books, and specifically Spider-Man comic books, but even those can be predictable if you’re paying attention.

Spider-Man: Far From Home once again proves just how amazing the character that so many people love can be when put in the right hands. From a cast that absolutely nails it, to an upgrade in scope and action with the introduction of Mysterio and some huge Elemental monsters, everything about this sequel improves, even if only slightly, on the things that worked in the first film. Other than a slightly slow beginning that sets the stage after Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home is another huge win for Marvel Studios and Sony, which only goes to show, the MCU isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

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