Even Marvel with its track record for releasing crowd-pleasing movies can stumble. While Spider-Man: Far From Home is enjoyable, it doesn’t fill in the big shoes of its predecessor, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and we have to admit that the latter is a tough act to follow. We love more the first three iterations of the web-slinging superhero, thanks partly to Toby Maguire and James Franco’s excellent performances here, and which we watched at the Megaplex theater.
But hey! The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) wouldn’t be complete without the Spider-Man reboot. Here are a few of things that we liked and disliked about Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Unlike the original three Spider-Man films, the Spider-man reboot featured a lighter take on Peter Parker’s evolution. While Toby Maguire portrayed Spider-Man as a somewhat serious college student, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man was an awkward high school student. Such a difference in portrayal of the same character translated to differences in tone that, in turn, distinguished the original from the reboot.
And herein lies one of the biggest points of Spider-Man: Homecoming. It’s a high school comedy with teens who are adorably awkward while also trying to be brave about a whole new world out there. It’s peopled by teens who are torn between their relative innocence and their budding responsibilities.
Peter Parker has more than his fair share of adult responsibilities. He has, after all, been in battles with Earth’s greatest superheroes – his taste of the big-time leagues is unparalleled by his peers and even by most of his colleagues in the superhero business. He may be a superhero but he still wants to be a normal teenager, and it’s the push and pull dynamics of the double life that he leads that’s the source of the audience’s laughter.
For example, he would rather be with his classmates on a summer European adventure but he just can’t because, well, he’s Spider-Man and the world needs him. He would rather spend time with MJ – we love Zendaya’s deadpan portrayal here, by the way – but duty calls. We can’t blame him – it’s just too much for a teenager to be a superhero when he’s just, well, a teenager.
In many ways, Spider-Man: Homecoming is almost like a romantic comedy, especially as the laughter just keeps coming during the first half of the movie. Peter’s teenage ideas about Venice and Paris with him and MJ in it are typical of a teenager’s hormonal fantasies – horny but goofy at the same time. We’re rooting for him, of course, but we’re also laughing at his awkwardness, perhaps even reminiscing about our own youthful fantasies.
Even Peter’s best friend, the wisecracking Ned who often steals the show from Spider-Man despite his sidekick status, has his own share of high school romance. Ned hooks up, sort of, with Betty, a Type A personality whose prim and proper character is a great foil against his sassiness.
Aunt May in the reboot isn’t old either. Here, she’s still relatively young so her flirtation with Happy, Tony Stark’s right-hand man, doesn’t feel forced.
Romantic comedy aside, we also love that the special effects of Spider-Man: Far From Home are still topnotch. The producers and director certainly made a great job of making the action scenes believable and engaging, and we can’t wait for the third installment.
But Spider-Man: Far From Home has its weak points, too, and we daresay that it’s also in the action scenes. While it’s a huge action extravaganza in its own right, it’s also weakest at this point.
The huge set pieces, for one thing, are often distractions from the action, if not the background for noise and chaos. Well, the noise and chaos are the point of the superhero movie but there are times when these seem like an overload, even unnecessary. We found that where the action should have been on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind, it falls just a little bit flat, even boring in a few instances.
Fortunately, the actors performed their roles so well that we loved the movie as a whole. Holland is completely charming from beginning till end, and his boyish enthusiasm translates well onscreen. He’s more lighthearted portrayal makes Spider-Man more relatable than the portrayals of Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield although we have to say that the latter two also made their mark in pop culture.
We like that Samuel L. Jackson also portrays Nick Fury in quite a different way. As Peter continually avoids his calls, Fury becomes increasingly frustrated with the youngest superhero but the audiences loves his frustration.
Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays Mysterio, is a lovable villain here, if you’re into handsome villains with the sartorial tastes of Thor and the recklessness of Iron Man. He seems to love dressing up for his role and we can’t blame him for it either – costumes bring out another side of ourselves.