Spider-Man: Far From Home (Marvel/Columbia) - Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Studio: Marvel/Columbia
Directed by Jon Watts

Jun 28, 2019 Web Exclusive Photography by Columbia Pictures Bookmark and Share


The coda to Marvel Studio’s grand Infinity Saga, Spider-Man: Far From Home, borrows from the National Lampoon’s Vacation model for the sequel to 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and sends Tom Holland’s Peter Parker on a summer European trip with his science class.

Following the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, the world has been irrevocably changed. Dubbed “The Snappening” by movie fans, canonically “The Decimation,” Thanos’ snap, we learn, is now known as “The Blip,” the implications of which are addressed early on. (Spoiler alert if you still haven’t seen Endgame.) Tony Stark’s death in Endgame looms large. Those that were dusted and then returned didn’t age over the course of five years, causing a lot of confusion and awkwardness, especially amongst Midtown High’s hormonal teens. 

Director and co-writer Jon Watts continues to weave a John Hughes-inspired corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a Millennial New York City and beyond, with stops extending to Venice, Prague, and London. The globe-trekking edition of the wall-crawler’s adventures registers high in the Marvel catalogue. By adopting a lighter tone than the main Avengers tales, Watts has once again delivered a unique story that takes place squarely in the world Iron Man built, but stands completely on its own; with comedic flourishes and soundtrack additions rivaling his fellow Marvel director, Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn.

While Peter’s plans include wooing his crush MJ (Zendaya) atop the Eiffel Tower, his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) hopes to capitalize on his bachelor status because “Europeans love Americans,” though Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has different plans for the Avengers graduate’s study abroad itinerary. 

While the Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature Film, Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, introduced the idea of the multiverse to casual fans last year, Far From Home brings it into the proper MCU with Quentin Beck’s Mysterio, played by Jake Gyllenhal, proclaiming to be from Earth-616 (known to Marvel comics fans as the prime Marvel universe) where the Elementals, beings representing earth, wind, fire, and water, destroyed his Earth, in another dimension. Fury recruits Spider-Man to team up with Mysterio to take on the Elementals threat, and effectively hijacks Peter’s European vacation.

Bringing a comic book character who wears a fishbowl on his head to life seemed the biggest challenge facing a movie version of Mysterio. The design, thankfully, delivers immensely, with a caped super-suit, while campy on comic pages, turns out dazzling on screen, visualizing a head-spinning power set. Gyllenhaal’s performance as the cunning illusionist is a more unique turn in the MCU stable, both endearing and intense. As a would-be mentor to Peter with the loss of Tony Stark, Mysterio is reminiscent at times of Spider-Verse’s middle-aged Peter Benjamin Parker. Perhaps a meta commentary on the actor himself, who nearly took over the role from Tobey Maguire in the original Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. 

In the few short years since Marvel and Sony made a deal to bring Spider-Man to the MCU, Holland’s Spidey has spoiled fans, delivering previously unimaginable moments, from swiping Captain America’s shield in Civil War to hurling through the air protecting the Infinity Gauntlet on a web string attached to Thor’s Mjölnir while wearing an Iron Spider suit in Endgame earlier this year. 

Holland’s initial Spider-Man deal is reported to include “three Spider-Man movies and three solo movies.” After Far From Home, that leaves just one appearance. Whether that deal can be extended, given the tepid rights agreement between Marvel and Sony, remains to be seen. In announcing a Venom sequel this week, Spider-Man producer Amy Pascal didn’t rule out Tom Hardy’s anti-hero symbiote crossing paths with Holland’s Spidey.

That may just be wishful thinking, as Holland has suggested in previous interviews he doesn’t want to be typecast as one character, but recently has suggested he’d fancy MCU team-ups with Dr. Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and more screen time with The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).

Marvel fans know never to leave the theater early, and the Far From Home’s multiple post credits scenes sent the audience at my screening into upheaval. As some of the MCU’s biggest game changers so far are revealed, opening up a Pandora’s box for both the future of the Spider-Man series and wider universe. (www.marvel.com/movies/spider-man-far-from-home)  

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10



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