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Peter Parker Swings the MCU Out of Phase Three with Spider-Man: Far From Home

After the emotional roller-coaster that was Avengers: EndgameI couldn’t wait for Spider-Man: Far From Home to hit theatres. I figured that I needed an adventure featuring everyone’s favorite friendly neighborhood web-head to heal the heartache I was experiencing. I left the theatre extremely satisfied and looking forward to how the MCU would continue. Spider-Man: Far From Home is a fun return to the expected tone of the MCU, and allows for more of an exploration of the character arc of Tom Holland‘s take on Peter Parker.

Far From Home follows Peter Parker on class trip to Europe, looking forward to a break from being Spider-Man. This all changes when he gets pulled by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) into joining forces with Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) to take on the Elementals. However, not everything is as it seems…

The thing that impressed me probably the most of all in Spider-Man: Homecoming was Holland’s performance. It encompassed the quips of Andrew Garfield‘s Spider-Man with Tobey Maguire‘s Peter Parker. Far From Home expands on this amazing balance with the addition of Peter and M.J.’s adorable love story. It works extremely well to see a passive, awkward game of romantic cat-and-mouse play out throughout the film because Holland’s and Zendaya’s chemistry creates really authentic moments.

The most notable of these moments happens in the opera house when Peter and M.J. flirt in a really awkward but extremely wholesome way. As someone who was in high school just a couple of years ago, that scene made me extremely aware of how unrealistic depictions of their relationship are in other films. I have experienced moments like that extensively when talking to crushes, where I say would say something and immediately think that I had screwed up everything. Holland and Zendaya show those fleeting, terrifying thoughts throughout the film exquisitely.

While Holland continued his incredible characterization of Spider-Man, Jake Gyllenhaal stole the show. He encompassed all of the elements of Quentin Beck’s character in a way that allowed for Mysterio’s reveal as the villain to be a super punch in the gut. Gyllenhaal’s Beck is confident, wise, courageous, with just a hint of condescending behavior to foreshadow the reveal. The bar scene shows Gyllenhaal’s skill. Beck begins by congratulating Peter on the battle fought. However, he slowly starts manipulating Peter into giving up the E.D.I.T.H glasses by using his aforementioned confidence and wisdom.

A big problem that people had with Homecoming was Peter’s overreliance on Stark tech. Far From Home diminishes this reliance in a clever way: by having Peter build his own suit. Granted, he built the suit using Stark tech, but the main point of that scene was to show that Peter was more than capable of doing it in the first place. In Homecoming, he just had a chip on his shoulder in the form of Tony Stark.

Something that absolutely has to be addressed is the mid-credits scene. The return of J.K. Simmons to the role of J. Jonah Jameson was the icing on the cake to an already really great movie experience. I firmly believe that he is by far the best casting of a comic book character to date. So, to see his return in such an unexpected way made me ignore any minor issues I had with the film. I left the theatre grinning from ear to ear. Hopefully Simmons will be able to return for the third installment in the series.

The visual effects in Far From Home were extremely impressive. I didn’t learn until after I had seen the film a couple times that the whole Mysterio sequence in Germany is fully CGI, including Spider-Man. The best VFX are those that go unnoticed, and those often are the most difficult. It was easy to assume that the environment would be CGI, so the fact that everything is shows just how far visual effects have come even since Iron Man in 2008. It blows my mind that a whole sequence like that could be that enticing while being 100% CGI and almost completely photoreal. Well done VFX artists.

I had one problem with the film, and that is that there were perhaps too many out-rightly comedic moments. The best example of one of these is when Mr. Harrington (played by Martin Starr) drops his camera into the water in Venice. While that moment made me chuckle, it landed quite flat with the rest of the audience. It was clearly a gag thrown in to add to the laughs, even though plenty were present that came up in the natural flow of certain scenes. Another gag that didn’t really work for me is the running gag with Mr. Dell (J.B. Smoove) talking about witches and how they’re behind everything. I thought that it was just unnecessary to the film as a whole. 

Phrase Three of the MCU needed Far From Home. Without it, fans would have been left with an extremely sad gap of a couple years between Avengers: Endgame and the start of Phase 4. That being said, it is a thrilling entry to the Spider-Man MCU series and is a fun time for all.

So, what did you think of Spider-Man: Far From Home? Are you excited about J.K. Simmons‘ return? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter!

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Alexander Papasavas

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