The Long Plot, Sans Spoilers
Spider-Man: Far From Home pushes our webslinger away from his friendly neighborhood and out of his comfort zone. We see the aftershocks of Avengers: Endgame in a post-Iron Man world through Peter Parker's (Tom Holland) perspective. He grapples with the heavy burden of living up to Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr.) legacy while trying to maintain a semblance of normalcy as a high school kid. Peter finally gets the chance to take a break from the pressure of superheroics when his class spends summer vacation in Europe. He also seizes the opportunity to confess his feelings to MJ (Zendaya). Too bad Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. get in the way of his courtship and impose other plans on the newly minted Avenger. Peter is assigned to defeat the Elementals, mysterious creatures with nature-based abilities like earth, air, water, and fire that have been wreaking havoc everywhere. He also meets Quentin Beck aka Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), a superhero from an alternate earth where the Elementals previously attacked. Mysterio teams up with Spider-Man to defeat the creatures and tries to befriend Peter. Amidst all the trouble, Peter has to decide between his personal life and his duties as an Avenger. Will he step up and grow up?
The Short, Honest Plot
Spider-Man: Far From Home is all your fave teen summer vacation movies rolled into one, including a dash of sneaking around a la The Lizzie McGuire Movie, but jampacked with Marvel's CG superheroics.
The Actors And Where You Last Saw Them
Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Tom Holland was in the films The Lost City of Z and Pilgrimage. The Spider-Man lead actor was recently cast as Nathan Drake in the upcoming movie adaptation of the Uncharted video game franchise.
Jake Gyllenhaal as Quentin Beck/Mysterio
The actor is best known for his starring role in the cult classic Donnie Darko and was also notable in Brokeback Mountain. He last appeared in the Netflix films Okja and Velvet Buzzsaw.
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury
The actor has starred in every iconic film imaginable including Pulp Fiction, Star Wars prequels, The Incredibles, and Shaft. He recently starred in Glass and reprised his role in the new Shaft movie.
Zendaya as MJ
The actress/singer/dancer showed off her moves in The Greatest Showman musical. She currently plays the lead role in the HBO drama Euphoria and will be starring in the sci-fi film Dune.
Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds
The actor got some pretty good screentime in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Jacob will be starring in the upcoming Netflix rom-com film Let It Snow.
Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill
You may remember Colbie Smulders best as the proudly Canadian Robin Sherbatzky from the popular CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother. She was recently in the Netflix show Friends From College and will be starring in the upcoming ABC crime drama Stumptown.
Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan
The actor-filmmaker kickstarted the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) by directing the first two Iron Man films while also appearing as Happy Hogan. He will be directing the upcoming Lion King reboot and has a Netflix cooking show called The Chef Show, based on his film Chef.
Marisa Tomei as May Parker
Marisa Tomei co-starred in the classic '90s rom-com Only You with Robert Downey Jr. She also had a memorable performance in Crazy, Stupid, Love. The award-winning actress will be starring in the upcoming Judd Apatow-produced film Staten Island.
Martin Starr as Mr. Harrington
The actor is known for being part of several cult hits such as Freaks and Geeks, Party Down, and the Veronica Mars movie. He currently plays Bertram Gilfoyle in the HBO series Silicon Valley.
JB Smoove as Mr. Dell
The comedian played Leon Black in the ongoing HBO comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm. He'll also be starring in an upcoming crime comedy film called Going Places.
Did You Know?
1. Spider-Man: Far From Home was supposed to be the beginning of MCU's Phase Four but instead became the final installment of Phase Three.
2. Despite their mutual trolling of each other, it seems like Anthony Mackie and Tom Holland get on well because Sam Wilson was supposed to appear in the movie. This would have been the first time he debuted the new Captain America suit post-Endgame.
3. Zendaya and Jacob Batalon revealed that the rehearsal scripts sent to them were redacted to avoid spoilers. Jacob would replace the blacked-out lines by saying, "blah, blah, blah," until they were revealed during filming.
4. Other actors considered for the role of Mysterio were Matt Smith (Doctor Who and The Crown), Andrew Scott (Sherlock and Black Mirror), and Collin Farrell (Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and Dumbo).
5. Sony planned a Mysterio film as a spin-off of Venom, but this was scrapped and instead, Marvel included his character in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
What My Friend Thinks:
"Aside from being a hilarious vacation-slash-superhero movie, I liked that Spider-Man: Far From Home sees Peter deal with the grief and sadness over the loss of Tony Stark and the eventual pressures and expectations that follow. You just wanted to cheer Peter on to step up and become the hero Tony Stark always knew that he could become. Hilarious with a bit of kilig on the side, the film also gets you to shed a tear or two. Spider-Man: Far From Home closes Phase Three of the MCU with more possibilities and promises to one of the biggest movie franchises today." —Ica Cheng
What I Think:
The Spider-Man franchise as a whole has always been a great balance of humor and heart. Like Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home continues to bask in the audacity and awkwardness of adolescence, while accompanied by a boppin' soundtrack. The first movie focused on the trials and tribulations of high school life, and now the Spidey sequel provides a superpowered take on another teen movie cliché: the summer vacation abroad.
Spider-Man: Far From Home has the teen movie essentials down pat: embarrassing adults, the ride-or-die wingman, the absurdly handsome rival, the out-of-your-league crush, and world-leveling destruction. Okay, maybe not that last part but you get the idea. Nick Fury getting upset over Spider-Man constantly dodging his calls is the most relatable mood, though. ("You can't ghost Nick Fury!")
The Spidey sequel may cover the entire gamut of funny teen situations but it can also slow down and give important issues some serious screentime. All the emotions washed over me as I witnessed Peter struggle with the death of his mentor and father figure, Tony Stark. He's constantly reminded of Iron Man and deals with survivor's guilt. During this vulnerable time, Peter questions whether he's worthy to take up the mantle and save the world beyond the Bronx. He's even quick to cling on to Mysterio for guidance (Quentin also sports a beard so that's close enough?) as a friend.
I liked how the picturesque backdrop of Europe served to represent Peter Parker expanding his horizons by saving lives on a global scale while figuring himself out in unfamiliar territory—both literally and figuratively. It's Peter's first time battling a bigger threat without Tony advising him along the way, already adding to the stresses of growing up for a normal teen. The grander battlefield and wider expanse of land contrast greatly with the more intimate and introspective moments the movie dwells on. Spider-Man: Far From Home even touches on relevant topics such as smart-shaming as Peter almost seems apologetic for going on intelligent meandering exposition. The poor kid can't catch a break and you just wanna give him a hug! A quote from the scene stuck to me, "Never apologize for being the smartest person in the room." I certainly hope that's something we can practice with both online and offline interaction.
With the onslaught of the Elemental creatures and the introduction of Mysterio's amazing abilities, you can expect a visual effects spectacle rivaling even the Doctor Strange film. Just the Mysterio-versus-Elemental scene from the trailer already looks like an all-out rave party.
If I were to nitpick, there were filler scenes played for laughs that could have been removed to make room for enriching the plot and developing the characterization in other key players. I also felt that Peter desperately pining for MJ progressed way too fast, but then again, he is a teenage boy. And I would be lying to myself if I said that it didn't get in the way of the giddy feels. It was also great seeing Aunt May and MJ in more proactive roles, with the former providing much-needed support for the young Avenger and the latter growing more determined in uncovering Peter's secret identity. Sadly, there's no heartwarming Morgan cameo in this flick but you never know what will happen in future installments.
On the flipside, just when I already felt satisfied with the movie's conclusion, it serves another helping that made me realize that I was hungry for more fandom content. There were several shout-outs, visual easter eggs, familiar audio cues, and callbacks that will make Spidey/MCU fans go all Captain America and say, "I understood that reference!"
The link between Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home accurately reflects the relationship between Tony Stark and Peter Parker. There's a lot riding on Spider-Man: Far From Home to perform just as well as Avengers: Endgame, much like Peter was being touted as the new Tony Stark. But what both the audience and Peter learn in the process is that Spider-Man's not supposed to be a replacement for Iron Man, but his own version of a superhero. This message gives us hope of what's to come from the new generation of the MCU.
Don't forget to stay for the mid-credits and after-credits because there will be scenes that are guaranteed to shake up the Spider-verse and the MCU and make you go, "What the f***?!?!"
I'd Recommend It To:
- Avid MCU followers who got their hearts beaten and riggedy-wrecked (worse than their last breakup) after watching Avengers: Endgame.
- Viewers who absolutely enjoy the teen rom-com genre. There are several hilariously cute scenes that will make feel as giddy as a hormonally charged pubescent youth. It might even help you forget your non-existent love life.
- Die-hard Tom Holland and Zendaya shippers because they share a lot more screentime in the sequel.
- Fans from all corners of the Spider-verse! It doesn't matter which source material you enjoyed: the comic books, animated series/movies, the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield eras, there is something for everyone. You've got continuity, easter eggs, and world expansion.
- Millennial titas who want to drool over an older, seasoned gentleman such as Jake Gyllenhaal because he's been aging like fine wine and looking like a complete buffet.
- The same titas who relate more to Aunt May than MJ and will appreciate the family scenes. They may or may not also want to adopt Peter Parker because he is a precious human being that must be protected at all costs.
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