Far From Home
First, the good news: Tom
Holland is still an excellent choice for Spider-Man.
He has the wiry build, the innocent demeanor, and the serious
acting chops to pull off the complex role.
Not many superheroes, in “real” life, have to put up with being
an awkward teenager who gets moody at times, gets nervous around girls he
likes, and wants nothing more than to accompany his high school science
class on their trip to Europe.
The bad news is that this particular installment of Spider-Man is
heavily dependent on previous movies, including the last “Avenger”
film. So this movie doesn't
work well as a “stand-alone,” which limits its audience to those who
are already fans of the superhero genre.
This movie also relies heavily on some viewer deception early in
the action, a plot ploy which many viewers despise.
However, to be fair, the viewer is deceived right along with the
main character, and it's Spidey's anguish about his own mistakes that is
part of what makes him so endearing.
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) feels like he needs a vacation from the
relentless pressure of being Spider-Man, the superhero, so he decides to
ignore the phone calls from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), because it
would be about the latest crisis, and needing Spider-Man to help save the
planet, when all Peter really wants to do is go on the field trip and be
able to spend some time with a particular girl in the group, MJ (Zendaya).
He doesn't even pack his Spidey-suit, although his helpful Aunt May
(Marisa Tomei) sneaks it in his suitcase, anyway.
Peter is frustrated in not being able to get close to MJ, because
another guy in the group is also vying for her attention.
Meanwhile, the latest world crisis is boiling over.
It seems some of the elemental powers of the universe, including
wind and fire, are transforming themselves into destructive monsters.
Fortunately, another superhero has arrived on the scene, Mysterio
(Jake Gyllenhaal), who claims he's from a parallel version of Earth.
(He also claims there are many parallel versions, a concept which
excites the scientifically-minded Peter Parker, but that moment passes
quickly, and the idea remains undeveloped.) Mysterio, also known as
Quentin Beck, has a whole team of supporters, and quickly accepts the help
of Peter Parker, who's finally made contact with Nick Fury and accepted a
new suit. An important
subplot, and one that relies heavily on previous films, is the legacy
which Ironman (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) has left for Peter Parker,
including the special-made glasses that can invoke not only Edith, the
robotic assistant's voice, but also all the technology that Ironman
developed, including specially-equipped satellites.
Yes, there's a lot of computer-generated combat, complete with the
wholesale smashing of entire sections of Venice and Prague.
But, naturally, it all boils down to the final confrontation
between our hero Spider-Man, and the bad guy, where our teenage warrior
emerges bloody, but unbowed. But
then we revert to adolescent innocence by making a big deal of a little
kiss from MJ, so now the still-teenage Peter Parker can go home happy.
It's a fun ride, especially for the fan of superhero films.
Maybe next time we'll let Peter Parker grow up a little bit.