Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home ★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

This was a special movie experience for me. I have these two friends I've known for nine years now, but have never met. We've known each other through Xbox Live. It was coincidental that we teamed up on Modern Warfare 2 (I played so much of that game), and even after the Call of Duty craze ended and we moved away from console gaming we've still kept in contact all these years. Well for the first time on June 30th I got to meet them. They decided to spend their vacation here and we've been getting fat(ter) and buying nerd junk for our overstuffed rooms. It's been a blast. But the main event has been seeing Spider-Man: Far from Home on opening day. I'd never seen a movie on opening day, and I had also never seen a movie at the fancy AMC theater 20 minutes from my house. But this experience was a highly memorable one.

Previously I had only been exposed to your run-of-the-mill theater experience of grabbing my snacks and sitting in the stiff theater seating in a large auditorium. What I got from AMC was an almost futuristic experience I've had nowhere else. There was a small bar you can sit and discuss the movie at to a nice pint, which already made this the fanciest theater I'd ever been to, but after walking through a dimly lit narrow hallway to Theater 2, we were surprised to see big upholstered recliners in a cozy auditorium. The recliners slowly reclined back at the push of a button. It felt less like I was watching a movie in a theater, and more like I was home relaxing with the biggest screen television ever. It was the smoothest, quickest two hours of my life. And this was largely aided by an enjoyable Marvel movie, and an enjoyable Spider-Man movie. But not one of the best of either.

Coming off of what are in my opinion two of the best Spider-Man movies ever told on the big screen and being the first Marvel movie after the earth-shattering Endgame there's been understandably a large amount of hype around Far from Home. But personally even though I had a lot of fun with this installment, this isn't one of Marvel's strongest outings. And I think that largely comes down to the handling of Mysterio, one of Spider-Man's most iconic villains, who makes his first theatrical appearance. Now first off I loved Jake Gyllenhaal performance. I've been sold on this guy as a villain since I saw his unforgettable performance in Nightcrawler. And according to my more comic book savvy friends they handled the character well; a mystical being who's more smoke-and-mirrors than anything. Where my issue with the character comes in is when it's revealed that *SPOILERS* the man behind the flashy costume, Quentin Beck, was a member of Stark Industries. But of course his new holographic technology is used to further Tony Stark's ego and Beck is phased out of the company. Sound familiar? Well that's because it's basically the plot to the first two Iron Man movies. Obadiah Stane was Tony's father's partner who was bitter about not being chosen as the new head of Stark Industries and Ivan Vanko wanted to avenge his father, who was wiped from all of the patents for modern Stark technology. Maybe it's just me but Beck sounds like just another person who is in some way connected with the Stark family who wants to exact revenge for being screwed over. And because of that Quentin Beck feels less like memorable Marvel villain and more like Generic Marvel Villain #3.

I also found it somewhat difficult to digest that Beck and a team of former Stark employees could fool Nick Fury. Granted, Fury was a part of the blip and states that he's been out of tune since being brought back five years later, but I still find it hard to believe that Fury never once suspected foul play. He seems to be pretty sharp and well adjusted to the jump forward.

So with those two crucial issues the movie as a whole was difficult to fully enjoy when the backbone of the story is Peter and Fury's relationship with Beck and Beck & his team's ability to fool S.H.I.E.L.D. and the whole world.

But obviously I did find a lot to enjoy about this movie. I love how the writers leaned hard into the teen dramedy cliches when dealing with Peter's teenage life away from saving the world. You have the awkward misunderstanding, the awkward Michael Cera-esque humor, the needless lies. But here it's charming because the movie is clearly trying to be a badass superhero flick within a cliche teen movie. And the writers even played off of these cliches for laughs, like with Ned's quick relationship with another student.

So while I had issues with how the writers handled the new villain, I still felt like Far from Home was a satisfactory entry in Sony's Spider-Man franchise. I still believe that Tom Holland is the best Spider-Man there's ever been, and I love the chemistry the entire cast had together. There was also a good balance of comedy and tragedy; as Parker tries to fill the impossibly big shoes of Tony Stark. Also if you stayed for the post-credit scene like I did for the first time (I know, I know) then that alone should get you hyped for the next installment.

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