This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
cher’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
This movie is so relentlessly funny and gentle with the heart – an expected tonal continuation from Homecoming; but what’s special about Far From Home is that the action is blessed with a kind of chaotic clarity: the camera is so effective and kinetic so it doesn’t tire you out. It shows you the exact amount of action you need to see. And the twists are clever, the themes relevant, the surprises are jaw-droppingly brilliant...
I have a few friends who told me that they don’t prefer a jokey take on superheroes, which just...baffles me. Genre films that take the comedic route, at least the good ones, often surprises you with heart. Which makes Tom Holland a crucial part of this giant mosaic: the sincerity and innocence of his acting often act as the glue that holds everything together. I’ve always known what he is capable of: raw, unfiltered, unpolished emotions – and it’s not only on display when he’s threatened by his crush’s villainous dad, or he’s about to fade into dust in the arms of a father figure, or he’s mourning the gaping hole he left behind. It’s also when he’s doing something as simple as purchasing a necklace for the girl he likes, or admitting that he’s Spider-Man to said very smart girl, or displaying pure horror when his suitcase is searched at the airport. It’s those tiny little details that humanises the character. I don’t know where did that come from, but it has to be somewhere utterly visceral, something Tom just instinctually know how to do since a young age. Peter Parker, as a legacy, is probably bigger than one actor’s portrayal; but this character is so lucky that Tom Holland is the one playing him.
And speaking of heart, Peter and MJ is becoming one of the defining romances of the MCU. The endearing chemistry between Tom and Zendaya is REAL, and no one plays awkwardness quite as brilliant as these two do. This movie is such a beautiful portrait of adolescence – the ridiculousness and joy of it.
Jake Gyllenhaal, on the other hand, revels in another kind of ridiculousness and joy. His performance is characteristically unhinged and super fun, but also really haunting at times. It’s interesting to me that Tony Stark’s legacy is so extreme: he helped nurture such a wonderful young hero and yet left behind a trail of really spiteful people. I also love the recurring theme of illusions: it can be so literal and not. It challenges my tendency to romanticise things in a time where I really have to be level-headed about the news and the media.
Finally, I will say this: the past couple weeks have been turbulent for me and my city, to say the least. Heading out to see this film is the best self-care I can offer myself and my friends.