Marvel closes its third phase with a light, entertaining coda about everyone’s favourite webslinger.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ½
Spider-Man: Far From Home is one of the better Spider-Man movies because, try as he might, poor Peter Parker can’t seem to do anything right and spends a great deal of time coming to terms with his role as a hero. He enjoys his time as Spider-Man, but he also wants to hang out with friends, enjoy the class vacation to Europe and tell his crush, MJ (Zendaya), how he truly feels. That’s hard enough for a regular teen. Try doing it when you have bad guys to fight and a world to save.
This time the bad guys are monstrous. Gigantic otherworldly creatures based on the four elements. Peter (Tom Holland) teams up with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and a newcomer, Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), who says he’s a warrior from a parallel Earth and seems like everything Peter could hope for. He’s friendly. He says all the right things, like a compassionate Tony Stark. When he slips on a pair of Tony’s glasses, he even looks like him. And now that he’s come to fight on Earth’s behalf, could Spider-Man finally be able to hang up his leotard, permitting Peter Parker to begin life as a regular teenager?
I won’t divulge much more than that. But if you’re familiar at all with the Spider-Man property, you’d know that Mysterio is a master of trickery and illusion, which means no one, not even us, should take him at his word. All this builds up to great drama for Peter, who completely wins our affection because he’s awkward and goofy and so bad at everything. In our hearts we want him to succeed, both at kicking the villain’s butt and walking away with the girl. Tony Stark chose him to be an Avenger for a reason, and now that Tony’s dead, the responsibility to be Spider-Man weighs heavier than ever.
Far From Home is directed by Jon Watts, who also directed Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and feels just as comfortable the second time around. There’s more for his spunky cast to do, especially MJ, who was quiet and aloof before but is now allowed the space to strut about as a desirable love interest. Zendaya, with her lanky frame and knowing eyes, projects just the right balance of sophistication and immaturity to appear as Peter’s ideal partner. And of course, with the initials “MJ”, her fate is more or less sealed.
This is a fun, well-made movie, with crisp CGI and a villain who embraces the theatrical. I like it when superhero stories delve deeper into their characters instead of simply flinging them through special effects. Nothing drives character like conflict, and because Spider-Man is but a wee teenager, he is a jumping, swinging canvas for conflict. Tony Stark wanted to be Iron Man. Bruce Wayne chose to save Gotham City. Peter Parker never asked for that mutated spider to give him a love bite. It just happened, and it may be a long time before he’s able to find peace with it.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is available in Australian cinemas from 1 July
Image courtesy of Sony Pictures