Spiderman: Far From Home
Directed by: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Samuel L. Jackson, Marisa Tomei, Cobie Smulders, and John Favreau
“Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.”
RATING: ★★★★¾ /5
I am anything but blasé when it comes to Spiderman. I saw Spiderman: Homecoming an impressive number of times in theaters, so obviously my standards were high for Far From Home.
This isn’t spoiler free — discretion is advised 🙂
Secret Life of a Teenage Superhero
Poor Peter. He really just wants to go on a trip with his friends and take a break from the superhero gig, is that too much to ask? (the answer is yes). I love that this film takes us out of Queens and shows Peter trying to mentally and physically escape his role and duties as a masked vigilante.
The fact that Nick Fury manages to hijack the school trip means that Peter technically does get what he wants — a trip with his classmates (and the girl he likes). The catch is that Fury is a constant shadow, reminding Peter of his job.
Throw in Mysterio and the Elementals and you’re left with a ~web~ of characters and situations that act as the ultimate motivation for Peter to decide how he’s going to handle the mantle of Spiderman.
ned & mj
This movie gives us some incredible moments with Peter’s closest compadres. Ned Leeds is one of the best characters in these films (in my opinion). He has an unapologetic fascination with the superhero world and is fearlessly passionate. Ned is Peter’s #1 fan and biggest supporter through thick and thin — we see that in Far From Home, even if there’s moments where the audience wants more. Not to mention he gets a little romance of his own that is grossly cute.
Michelle. MJ. My queen. She has an exquisite ability to play a friend of Peter Parker who happens to also have a really sweet crush on him. Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers wrote her an awesome character, full of spunk, life, and not oozing “romantic interest”. She propelled Peter’s desire for normalcy and kept the conflict going because he wasn’t going to forget about his “5 Step Plan”.
Peter and Nick Fury were never close, never interacted until this point. Ergo, Peter had no problem ignoring him until he showed up in his hostel room in Venice, tranquilized his best friend, and took him to a super-secret-hideaway.
Fury is not focused on Peter as a person the way his other mentors have been (*cough* Tony *cough*). He looks at him as another superhero, not as a kid, and that attitude is what makes the situation difficult for Peter. Fury wants him to be a hero, but doesn’t understand his desire for normalcy.
Happy Hogan: your go-to-guy when you want a cheeseburger.
I love Happy so much, he’ll fight for the people he loves to the ends of the earth (even if he can only take out 1 guy). Happy and Peter have had a rocky relationship, mostly built on annoyance, but their mutual love for Tony Stark (and Aunt May?) meant they were never far from one another.
In Far From Home we see Happy take on a pseudo-mentor role that is grounded in emotion, not Fury’s straightforward, get-the-job-done attitude. Happy is the middle ground for Peter, providing balance between his two worlds and serves as a reminder of the person who believed in him the most – Tony.
The airplane scene broke my heart. Happy comes to rescue Peter and we see this beat-up teenager terrified that the person he trusts is an illusion, and even though it’s resolved with some humor you could see the terror reciprocated in Happy’s eyes.
Watching Happy and Peter share in their grief was what I needed from this movie. To see them sit and take a moment to put words to how they’re feeling was gut-wrenching and felt so incredibly real. And then to see Peter playing around, creating a new suit? To see him swoop his hand and start fiddling with everything?? And Happy sees Tony in that moment??? I F—ING LOST IT.
Another One-Time Villain
Mysterio (quentin beck)
I loved sitting in that theater, watching people slowly realize that The Elementals are not the real enemy.
Mysterio is a phenomenal villain (he’s a favorite of mine so maybe I’m biased?), and Gyllenhaal killed it. Granted, his aspiring “rags-to-riches” and “revenge” story isn’t groundbreaking, but he is such a deceptively genuine person towards Peter who is so emotionally vulnerable.
The sequence before Peter is nearly killed is reminiscent of Dr. Strange and is nothing short of visually stunning and is the perfect psychological attack on Peter and his fears. It’s incredible to watch but also difficult because of how scared this teenage boy is.
Beck is a genuis and it was tragically ironic that Peter was fighting the technology and ingenuity that he saw “first” from Tony Stark. He, like many great villains, believes the world can be a better place…but only if they are the one in charge of that world. And he chose the perfect time to put his plan in motion because after Thanos, people really would believe anything. He is NOTHING if not smart. Beck reeks of pride and has a swagger that rivals Stark’s. We had the chance to see how someone as influential as Tony Stark had two drastically different impacts on impressionable young men, and then see those two go head to head.
More Puzzle Pieces
back to iron man
Beck’s story leads all the way back to Iron Man, but focuses more heavily on B.A.R.F technology introduced in Captain America: Civil War. I didn’t find it necessary for everyone on his squad to have a relationship to past characters or movies and frankly felt like it was a waste of time, but the MCU loves to tie things together. It did however, nicely set up a backstory and motivation for his destruction of the universe.
“do not invoke her name”
Peter is listing off superheroes that could take on this mission in place of him: Dr. Strange, Thor, and Captain Marvel. When the latter is mentioned Fury says: “Do not invoke her name.” Interesting, no?
Yes, I’m sure Nick Fury is protective of his honorary first daughter, but to make a snappy comment like that? Not quite in character. That might be because “Nick Fury” isn’t actually Nick Fury. Even when Peter first arrives to meet Quentin Beck, Fury tells him he is from “Earth” but “not your world”, not our world but your world. This subtle word-play says a lot about who Nick Fury “really is”. The end credit scene certainly cleared this all up, and forces the question: “How long has Talos been Fury? And what exactly is Fury doing or looking for with the Skrulls?”
“his name…is peter parker”
Before we see Nick Fury relaxing in space, we get something I’ve been awaiting since Civil War — the reveal of Spiderman’s identity. That said, I was not prepared for it to happen. It wasn’t the fact that the world now knows who Spiderman is, what scares me for the future of our Peter Parker is that Quentin Beck framed him.
Framing people really irks me, and to see that done to a kid? After your death? That’s just harsh (*but we did see one of his cronies download data so we’re not quite done with B.A.R.F).
Then again — before he died, Beck talked about how crazy it is that “nowadays, they’ll believe anything.” This means that in the eyes of a world turned upside-down, a kid as wholesome and unproblematic as Peter Parker very well could be seen as evil and dangerous.
Basically, Peter Parker needs a break, but now his identity has been revealed and I doubt he will get a chance to speak for himself before bad news comes a-knocking.
*Side note: How AWESOME was it to have J.K. Simmons reprise his role as Jameson?! Truly a testament to perfect casting, I wouldn’t want to see anyone else play that slimeball, I LOVED IT!
What I Wish We Saw
Tony gifting Peter his glasses was precious, what’s even better is what he re-named them (they were connected to Friday when he used them). E.D.I.T.H aka “Even Dead I’m The Hero”. How perfectly and beautifully Tony Stark.
I know they were programmed primarily for Peter, so a part of me assumed they could not be used to harm Peter, if that makes sense. I think Tony would figure that Peter would feel unworthy of this gift and try to pass it on to someone he thinks is “better”, in this situation: Beck. As a result, I think it would have been very in character to see E.D.I.T.H not respond to Beck’s instructions to harm Peter.
This would’ve been interesting because the final interaction between the two of them could have had more of Mysterio’s powers involved and be about Peter and Beck’s relationship without Tony’s “involvement”.
*BUT it’d also be a bit of a “Disney ending”.
I think it would’ve been interesting to see a bit more tension between Ned and Peter or MJ and Peter. He had enough going on already but it definitely would’ve been interesting to see this situation drive them apart. It would absolutely make Peter feel extra isolated and be a way for Beck to exploit him at a different and more powerful emotional level.
Lee & Ditko Would Be Proud
We see a sweet nod to Uncle Ben when Peter is packing to leave for his trip, his suitcase is engraved with “BFP”. While I’m not sure about the “F”, it can be assumed that the “B” and “P” stand for Ben Parker. I thought this was sweet and intriguing because we don’t know much about Uncle Ben in the MCU.
I know this sounds weird but hear me out!! I had this hunch throughout the movie when I first saw “ASM 212” on a boat in Venice, then a “463” plate, and finally a plate reading “2865 SEP” in Prague. When I saw the first license plate I was guessing this was a nod to the comics Amazing Spider-Man (ASM). After catching that I kept an eye out for any other license plates, since I figured that’s how they were slipping in easter eggs!
After the film I went to do some digging on those numbers and sure enough, in each of those scenes, Peter fights or interacts with a different elemental. I surmised that “ASM 212” is a reference to Hydro-Man’s first appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man Issue #212. When fighting the “rock” elemental (that looked a lot like Sandman), the plate was “463”, this was trickier. According to some digging, it would’ve referenced The Amazing Spider-Man Issue 4 which was published in 1963 and first introduced Sandman — so maybe this was supposed to be Sandman? Finally, the Molten Man in Prague featured “2865 SEP”. I knew it was from a September issue, and looks like it would’ve been from The Molten Man’s introduction in The Amazing Spider-Man Issue 28, released in September of 1965.
Not integral to the film whatsoever, but I found it to be a fun nod to the characters Lee and Ditko created!!
This was my favorite (live action)Spider-Man film. Well balanced, great villain choice, and compelling storyline. I’ve always felt that Tom Holland is the best of both worlds when it comes to portraying Peter Parker and this film solidified that for me (though I find it hard to believe no one had a crush on him in high school…). We got great shots of some classic web-swinging and close ups of iconic Spiderman poses. I’m so happy with this movie and cannot wait for Marvel to extend Tom Holland’s contract (pretty please??)!!