Sunday, August 25, 2019

Movie Review: Spider-Man - Far From Home

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Action, humor, fun
Cons: Pacing early on
The Bottom Line:
After Avengers
We see the threats continue
In this fun movie

“I Think Nick Fury Just Hijacked Our Summer Vacation.”

After making a point to see the last few Marvel movies as soon as I could after release, I have just now made it to the theater to see Spider-Man:Far From Home.  Not sure why since I’ve always loved the Spider-Man character, and I was curious how they would follow up on events from the last Avengers movie.

As I expected, this movie contains major spoilers for Avengers: End Game, so if you haven’t seen that movie and want to go into it unspoiled, stop now and go watch it.  But really, that isn’t a surprise, right?

As this movie opens, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is looking forward to a summer vacation.  He’s going with some students from his class, including his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) and his crush MJ (Zendaya), on a science trip to Europe.  He’s looking forward to some time to just relax.  He’s not even planning to bringing his Spider-Man costume with him.

However, it’s a good thing that his aunt May (Marisa Tomei) threw it in for him since at their first stop in Venice, Peter and his friends are witness to a major attack by a water element.  Peter and new hero named Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) are able to defeat it, but there is another one coming, and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) wants Peter to help defeat it.  Will Peter give up his vacation to help protect the planet?

I’ve only watched the Marvel movies once each, so I had forgotten some of the supporting characters from the previous Marvel movie.  That means it took me a little bit to get back into this film, mainly because of Ned and MJ.  I just find the take on the characters here more enjoyable in small doses.  Fortunately, they are supporting players in this movie, and as I got used to their characterizations as the movie went along, I grew to appreciate their place in the story better.

The movie also takes a little time to truly get going.  Honestly, some of it was a little slow, but some of that time was good as it allowed us to see what life is like now after the events of the previous two Avengers movies.  I’m sure the movie could have found more compelling stories to tell about how those events affected everyone, but this is a superhero movie, and we need to get to the action.

And there is plenty of action.  Not surprising given the franchise, right?  With what we are fighting, the action sequences are very different, and we get some humor with some of them, making them fun.  The effects are up to the task, making this movie once again look fabulous.

I think what I most enjoyed was seeing Peter’s struggles as this movie progressed.  Here is a high schooler who just wants to tell a girl how he feels about her, but he is being asked to save the world.  Yes, he makes some mistakes along the way, but we understand where he is coming from.  In light of recent events in this world, Peter is truly struggling with his place in it, and it makes for some great character moments.

Of course, there are the expected two bonus scenes in the credits.  The one at the very end is funny but skippable.  However, you need to see the first bonus scene since it creates quite the cliffhanger for the character.  I’m very anxious to see where things are going to go next for the character.  Of course, the biggest cliffhanger is the split between Sony and Disney over the franchise.  At this point, I wonder if we will see a resolution to this cliffhanger or not.

In many ways, Spider-Man: Far From Home is acting as a transition film between the first epic arc and the new movies coming over the next few years.  As such, it does a great job of closing out the epic we’ve been watching and leaving things open for new adventures.

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