Film Review - Spider-Man: Far From Home

This image released by Sony Pictures shows Jake Gyllenhaal, left, and Tom Holland in a scene from “Spider-Man: Far From Home.”

First and foremost, reader beware! If you have not seen “Avengers: Endgame,” please do so and do not see “Spider-Man: Far From Home” before you do. If you have not, this review and “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” will most certainly spoil “Avengers: Endgame” for you.

“Spider-Man: Far From Home” picks up where “Avengers: Endgame” left off and even answers a few questions the audience had after “Avengers: Endgame.” Tony Stark has died and there is a void in the Avengers. This is a major theme and plot point in “Spider-Man: Far From Home.”

There are those who have seen all the films and they will understand why “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is set up the way it is. The relationship between Spider-Man and Iron Man was one that needed “Spider-Man: Far From Home” after the death of Iron Man.

“Spider-Man: Far From Home” is a multi-layered film that plays like a comic book. The movie has depth and is also light hearted and fun. The current version of Spider-Man keeps getting better through the acting of Tom Holland and in “Spider-Man: Far From Home” that is still true.

Holland brings this awkward angsty teen that feels the most like Spider-Man from the comic books. In “Spider-Man: Far From Home” Holland plays a Spider-Man that is dealing with death and what that death means to Peter Parker and ultimately what that death means to Spider-Man.

The characters each have their own weight to bear from the death of Tony Stark. Peter Parker lost a dad like figure that he was getting close to. Spider-Man lost a mentor and ultimately is asking himself, who is the next Tony Stark? Is it me?

“Spider-Man: Far From Home” is a quest for Spider-Man to know if he can be in or lead the Avengers, or does he just want to be your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

Holland handles this depth to the character of Spider-Man well. The depth is made even deeper by how Holland handles all aspects of “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” This installment of the Spider-Man saga not only deals with the serious overtones left by “Avengers: Endgame,” but it handles the undertones of teenage humor and love as well.

In “Spider-Man: Far From Home” the love story of Spider-Man and MJ is brought forward into the main story line. This iteration of MJ is still played by Zendaya Coleman. Zendaya plays Mary Jane Watson who is not actually Mary Jane but Michelle with the nickname MJ.

The decision for this was made for “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and was done because Spider-Man had been rebooted twice already and when Marvel rebooted the franchise, they wanted to give it a new feel. Personally, they could have just added a new character. They did not need to then tag that character as the new MJ but not MJ. It is muddling the story when you simply don’t have to do so.

However, Zandaya’s MJ is the best iteration of MJ and she brings soft but intense dynamic to her character that is fantastic opposite Holland’s quippy, nervous, but angsty version of Spider-Man. To quote one character from “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” “Today, people will believe anything.” We as an audience would accept a new love interest separate from Mary Jane Watson simply because we just want to see Spider-Man.

The above quote rings true for the MJ dynamic but the sentiment is also something new to the Spider-Man universe, and that is substance. Marvel films have and do often feel like fluff. The films often show the viewer just what they want to see and sometimes not much more than that. Marvel has been wonderful about making each character feel like their own person who have their own identities. One thing Marvel has often neglected to do is to give their films deep meaning substance, especially in the storylines. In “Spider-Man: Far From Home” this is no longer true.

There are some very on the nose tones about the state of the world and especially the US in 2019. This new deep meaning substance comes in the form of the new character in “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” Mysterio. Mysterio, or Quentin Beck, who is played by Jake Gyllenhaal is a wonderful new character in “Spider-Man: Far From Home” and a character that challenges both Spider-Man and the audience. “ Spider-Man: Far From Home” brings up some facets of 2019 to the character of Mysterio and the biggest of them is the problem with perspective in 2019.

What I would call “perspective truth” is when someone feels that way because they have a perspective and that perspective is then true. This line of thinking follows a line of poor logic. People are allowed to have opinions and perspectives, but the thought allowing them means that the opinion or perspective is then true simply because it is allowed is bad logic.

This leads to what I would call “factual truth.” Factual truth is what is true because of evidence or testing to prove that it is in fact true. In the year 2019, and especially in the US, there is a problem with perspective truth and factual truth.

Mysterio brings perspective truth to the Trumpian levels currently seen in the US right now. Mysterio wants to be a hero. He wants to be the hero. The death of Tony Stark not only left a void in Peter Parker’s life but it also left a void in the form of a leader and a hero for both The Avengers and the planet Earth. Jake Gyllenhaal and his Mysterio character creates a perspective truth and a narrative for itself where he is the next Tony Stark.

In the end, Mysterio even tries to create a perspective truth and narrative about Spider-Man. One that shows just how easy it is to do so. As Mysterio said, quoted above, “Today, people will believe anything” and he uses this to prove that just by saying something out loud in 2019, people will accept it as true, even if it is not. In “Spider-Man: Far From Home” the message is clear, just because you want to be a hero, it does not mean you are one. Creating the perspective you are something does not make you that something.

Mysterio quite literally creates his own narrative and perspective and assumes this makes him a hero. The conundrum offered up by Mysterio is that things done in the name of causes or being a hero are often the exact things that often mean a person can’t and won’t ever be a hero or whatever they are fighting to be.

Jake Gyllenhaal is everything the Spiderverse needed but the the brilliance of his character is when it is opposite Spider-Man. The brilliant contrast between Spider-Man and Mysterio is what makes “Spider-Man: Far From Home” a brilliant film. Spider-Man himself makes huge mistakes and bad decisions in “Spider-Man: Far From Home” but they always feel different and less endangering than Mysterio’s.

“Spider-Man: Far From Home” adds this depth and substance to the Marvel universe. It should be a welcomed breath of fresh air into the Marvel universe, one that will keep the universe from getting stale.

There is both an in-credit scene and a post-credit scene, and both are worth the wait. These scenes at the end of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” are setting up the Spider-verse for the future. One thing is true: by the end of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” you will know that Spider-Man is a hero, and that is a fact.

IRATE SCORE: 3.5/5

Jason Guyer is an avid moviegoer and works in the graphics department at the Eagle Times. For questions or comments he can be emailed at guyerj@eagletimes.com.

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