Spider-Man: Far From Home
As an adult, you will be wonderfully surprised to experience the cinematic joy of being entangled in Spider-Man’s web.
Spider-Man: Far From Home, directed by Jon Watts, is a box office smash hit that was released at the perfect time. The film does a splendid job as it incorporates the world following the conclusion of this year’s overwhelming Avengers: Endgame. In the process, the plot benefits from beginning to end.
The film centers on Peter Parker/Spider-Man as a high school senior who simply seeks to lead a normal life. His class is going on a trip to Europe, and he longs to blend in so he can find a way to express his love for Michelle, a class mate played with great charm by Zendaya.
The strength of this movie flows from its focus on a teenage superhero who just wants to be an average guy. Nonetheless, even though the film benefits from many humorous moments, you know from the beginning that the bulk of the film will involve monumental battles with various villains that result in Spider-Man showing his magic as he flies through the air.
As Mr. Parker does his best to hide his identity, he quickly learns that it is Spider-Man, not Peter Parker, who will be needed to save the world which includes the lives of his fellow students. Discovering that a fellow superhero known as Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) is actually a monstrous adversary known as Mysterio intent on killing anyone in order to gain control of the earth, Spider-Man is forced by the arrogant Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to abandon his friends in order to lend his skills to save mankind.
Tom Holland again does a remarkable job at playing a young superhero. I can’t think of another actor who could embody a confused teenager with such warmth and spirit. On top of that, Zendaya follows up her unforgettable performance as a trapeze artist in The Greatest Showman (2017) with her role as a young school girl who hides her affection for Mr. Parker. In the process, the film actually becomes an affectionate love story of two young friends trying to find a way into each other’s arms.
The movie’s only slight drawbacks center on rather ridiculous performances by J.B. Smoove and Martin Staarr as the high school teachers guiding their class through Europe. Unfortunately, their portrayal of teachers is an insult to all educators dedicated to inspiring secondary students.
Though the film also becomes a bit burdensome with its concentration on Iron Man’s (Robert Downey Jr.) death in the last Avengers movie, the movie is able to retain its power with the performances of several other actors. No one plays an unlikeable hero better than Samuel Jackson and Jon Favreau will hold your attention as Happy Hogan, a mentor of Spider-Man who is fun to watch as he tries to mask his affection for May Parker (Marisa Tomei), Spider-Man’s aunt.
Also, Jake Gyllenhaal may be the most intelligently wicked villain appearing in any Marvel film. Jacob Batalon again appears as Ned, Spider-Man’s devoted friend. They team up together in a fashion that resembles both TV’s Lone Ranger and Tonto along with Pancho and the Sisco Kid.
Let me close with a short comment on the sad reality confronting me with my love of movies in 2019. While movie-goers flock to the theatre to see films like Spider-Man, The Avengers and Captain Marvel, great movies like The Mustang, Late Night and Yesterday quickly drift away into oblivion. While I fully understand that many people would prefer to wait to watch these films on Netflix, it is a bit depressing to anticipate a future devoted solely to Marvel action films and a few intriguing animated films like Toy Story 4 and The Lion King.
Though I must confess that I enjoy watching a film surrounded by strangers, I wonder if Netflix could financially support a program where you can have blow up dummies to sit behind you as you watch a film at home? Food for thought.