Not long after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker is back in school and preparing to go on a trip to Europe where he plans to share his feelings to the girl he likes. At this point, people are still trying to come to grips with how to move on from the events of the snap (or the blip?). Peter, however, is more worried about how to cope with the loss of Tony Stark and all the expectation that he will be the next Iron Man. It’s a really interesting time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Spider-Man: Far From Home is confirmed to be the last movie in phase 3 of the MCU, so nobody really knows exactly what is coming next. The future of the franchise is largely dependent on the events of this movie! SPOILERS AHEAD
Our Friendly International Spider-Man
Until this movie, the majority of all 7 Spider-Man movies that we have at our disposal have taken place in New York City. That is one thing I really enjoy about the character of Spider-Man is that he is really kind of a neighborhood hero and the villains are typically just evil dudes with some kind of scientific experiment gone wrong. He doesn’t typically deal with aliens, monsters, magic, or interdimensional battles. As a result, he feels more relatable. This movie, however, takes the web-slinger across the pond where he encounters an “elemental”, which is basically a CGI fire monster. He teams up with Quinten Beck (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) to defeat it. Beck, also known as Mysterio, claims he is from another dimension where the elements wiped out his planet and killed his family.
My least favorite part of the film was definitely the early stages. I wasn’t really a big fan of the elementals because of how fake and computer-generated they looked. It just didn’t feel right for a Spider-Man villain. Also, I found Gyllenhaal to be rather stale in his performance for the first half of the movie.
Another Disney Twist Villain
For someone that is even moderately familiar with Marvel Comics, you have probably heard of Mysterio and know that he is a villain. For everyone else, he was your stereotypical twist villain. I knew a little about Mysterio going into the movie and therefore I figured that he was the bad guy even from the trailers. It was more a matter of how and why he was going to become the bad guy rather than if he would become the bad guy. I predicted early on that he was just going to be Syndrome-ing all of the battles to make it look like he is the hero. The term Syndrome-ing, of course, referring to the plan of Syndrome from The Incredibles to wipe out the real supers and fake dangerous threats to make the world think he was a super-hero.
Knowing that Mysterio was a fake from the beginning definitely made the reveal a bit of a let-down. Though I will say Gyllenhaal’s acting performance went to another level after he was revealed to be the villain. There is this long toast that serves as exposition and shines a light to his motivation, and you can really sense the crazed recklessness behind his genius. Gyllenhaal really is an incredibly versatile actor and it shows in the latter parts of this film.
Looks Can Be Deceiving
There are a few lines in this film that I think really represent what Director Jon Watts what trying to do to throw the audience for a loop in this film. One is the line that Happy used as a code to let Fury know that Mysterio was, in fact, a fake. “Looks can be deceiving,” he said in a phone call. As it turns out Fury and Hill were both being impersonated by Skrulls the whole movie. So in that sense, I suppose looks can be deceiving.
In addition, Mysterio’s last words to Spider-Man were similarly ominous. “People will believe anything,” he said before dying. True, I mean a lot of people believed this movie would be about a multi-verse or even that Mysterio was the newest Avenger. Then, in the middle of the credits, we find that he has left Peter with a little gift. His henchmen have leaked a video that makes Spider-Man look like the villain and even exposes to the world that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. All of this makes me wonder, in what other ways are we (the audience) being fooled right now in the MCU? Something must not be how it seems. Looks like we’re going to have to stay tuned to find out.
Speaking of looks, Spider-Man: Far From Home is one of the better-looking films in the franchise. Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but it seemed to me like the cinematography was quite a bit different than anything we’ve seen in the MCU before. There was a scene in Venice where Peter is thrown into a bridge and the camera zooms in on him while also kind of shaking from the collision and I noticed how authentic it felt. That style of authentic feeling, close-up cinematography continues throughout the film and adds a different kind of fresh flavor to some of the action scenes.
I have probably had 3 or 4 people tell me already that they believe Spider-Man: Far From Home to be the best movie in the MCU to date. I don’t believe that to be the case but I really did have a great time with it and I think it is probably a little bit more enjoyable than Spider-Man: Homecoming. It is action-packed, funny, charming, and the performances by leads are all top-notch. I especially liked how they allowed the relationship between Peter and MJ to be kind of old fashioned in a good way. In an era where it seems every superhero’s relationship status would be labeled as “complicated”, Peter pursues his classic relationship with MJ with we all know from other movies or comics. Only this time it is more awkward and goofy, but still charming. This is a great movie, but I personally want to see a little more of the neighborhood Spider-Man swinging around the buildings of Manhattan. It will be exciting to see where they go from here.