With this movie in my rearview mirror, only Captain Marvel remains as an obstacle to my completion of Phase 3 of the MCU.
As of the day I’m typing this post, I’m not sure where we’ve landed with the Sony vs. Marvel negotiations. I thought Spidey was removed from our MCU continuity, but now I’m hearing rumblings that he may still be a part of it, with a third Tom Holland movie coming in 2021. At this juncture, I’m not sure what is reality or what is wishful thinking. If I had access to the bejeweled Infinity Glove, I’d just snap my fingers and make everything right in my universe.
Of course, I’m hoping for a third movie. Spider-Man: Homecoming was rollicking good fun. It had Michael Keaton as the Vulture, proving that Keaton is still relevant in superhero flicks, and it was Holland’s debut as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Throw in Marisa Tomei as a non-octogenarian Aunt May, and what’s not to love? Right?
Spider-Man: Far from Home was originally slated to be the kickoff of Phase 4 instead of the movie capping off Phase 3. But, that was back in the days when Inhumans was coming to the big screen. Dealing with the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame, this movie becomes more of an epilogue to the current phase, and includes an in memoriam segment dedicated to Tony Stark/Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, and Vision. The torch is consciously being passed here. This is also, I think, the first movie not featuring a Stan Lee cameo. It is somehow fitting that the passing of the chief co-creator of the Marvel Universe also signifies a new phase in the MCU. I just gave myself gooseflesh by having this thought.
Peter Parker’s loss of Tony Stark as a mentor is a recurring theme throughout this movie.
I was going to write this review spoiler-free, but have decided that I can’t. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!
When I learned that this movie was going to feature Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio, my first thought was that I hoped the character looked at least as good as this cosplay dude.
I didn’t want a reimagined Mysterio the way we got a Robo-Green-Goblin in the Raimi Spider-Man so many years ago. I wanted the character in the fanciful Steve Ditko costume with the fishbowl over his head. Of course, you can’t land an actor such as Gyllenhaal and then choose to keep his face covered through the entire film, so the force-field bubble helmet wasn’t always in play. That, I could live with. In fact, I was extremely happy with Mysterio’s design in this movie.
I wasn’t happy that it seemed that Mysterio was going to be an interdimensional hero saving the Earth from the monstrous Elementals in the beginning of the movie. Mysterio was a Spider-Man villain, not another costumed superhero. I was composing my fanboy-rage diatribe in my head while watching the movie, with Gyllenhaal very convincing as a new mentor to replace the late Tony Stark. And then—-something I should have seen coming but was blinded by my outrage—there came the twist. Mysterio was in fact a super-villain.
Hey, I warned you that there would be spoilers.
Then the movie becomes about how Spider-Man and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) defeat Mysterio. Along the way, we have some high school class trip hijinks, European vacation scenery, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) trying to make time with Aunt May while Peter Parker does the same thing with MJ (Zendaya). Spider-Man goes incognito as Night Monkey to keep his secret identity a secret. Martin Starr and J.B. Smoove provide some comic relief as the teacher-chaperones. Mysterio confuses and confounds Spidey with his holographic illusions, including some trippy effects that remind me of Doctor Strange. The ending is never really in doubt, of course. Spider-Man has to come out on top.
This was a fun movie, and I was never bored while watching it. It is definitely lighter fare than the last two Avengers movies, a kind of mental palate cleaner, and a welcome one. All in all, a nice way to cap off Phase 3.
Firewater’s Friendly-Neighborhood Report Card: A
The acting, special effects, and action-packed story are no less than what we’ve come to expect from these MCU offerings. Face it: we’ve become spoiled. It would be a shame if Tom Holland doesn’t get at least one more chance to play this role. And maybe get to interact with the Fantastic Four.