Spider-Man: Far from Home
Evie Totty: “It ruled.”
Oh I so love the new incarnation of Spider-Man. Tom Holland was made to play this part.
What did I love the most about this movie? NO FUCKING PLOT HOLES. Of course I'll be seeing it again so I might discover one but for the most part, nope. Everything made sense.
And ho-boy, the way they handled Mysterio's powers - magnificent!
The revelation at the end? I literally got nauseous. Spoiler alert: JK Simmons reprises his role as J Jonah Jameson!
There is a mid and an end credit scene. Watch both!This review contains spoilers. Reveal it.
Scott Hardie: “It was ok.”
I liked a lot about this movie, most of all the presentation of Mysterio, who has always been such a cinematic villain that it's kind of surprising that it's taken him this long to appear on screen. The two best sequences in the film draw inspiration from him: The reality-bending nightmare-like hallucination, and Peter Parker using pure instinct to take out the drones, resisting the illusions. I loved Mysterio's costume design, too. I also enjoyed the runner about Betty and Ned's opposites-attract relationship, and I really like this new version of MJ, who is more April Ludgate than a traditional Mary Jane Watson.
But a lot of the movie just kind of fell flat for me. So much of the humor depended on really contrived situations: Peter is forced to undress for no good reason, just so that he can be caught by his romantic rival, just so that he can become desperate enough to order an accidental drone strike. Yes, I know that scene serves multiple purposes (establishing the drone fleet for later), but that whole sequence just felt like it was straining against all plausibility to set up some weak jokes that didn't really land anyway, and there were several others like it. The twist mid-credits also felt like a contrivance: Nothing about Mysterio's assistant William indicated such loyalty to his boss or such cruelty that he'd do what he did. (That said, it's neat to see Peter Billingsley back, playing the same minor character from Iron Man. What, no jokes about shooting his eye out with a drone?)
Maybe I'm just tired of Spider-Man. This is his fifth movie in two years! Into the Spider-Verse made me feel especially exhausted of the romantic-teen-angst material, and this movie serves up yet more of it. Given the intense unpleasantness of the mid-credits twist and how much it's going to make our hero suffer through no fault of his own, I really hope the filmmakers know what they're doing and where they're going with that, because it makes me even less interested in seeing the next film.This review contains spoilers. Reveal it.
Evie Totty: I dunno - I don't mind there being a lot of S-M movies. For a long time, he was the only Marvel one I knew because for some reason my mom wouldn't let me read comics (might have been the cost - I did read Cracked, Crazy and Mad and that stuff adds up).
I had him in the Sunday funnies for years.
I see what you mean about the undressing thing being contrived.
I was also confused about the character going to the trouble of creating that video. Perhaps he's a sore loser?
But in the comics - isn't he famous for downright telling Stark 'no' when pressured to register? Because it would put MJ and Mae in danger? I know the MCU has gone in many different directions than the comics, but this is a bit much.This reply contains spoilers. Reveal it. − July 5, 2019 more by Evie
Scott Hardie: The first "Civil War" storyline in the comics had Stark convince Parker to register. At a press conference, Parker announced his identity to the world. He gradually became disenchanted with being one of the enforcers of the draconian law and eventually sided with Rogers as a fugitive. His life was turned upside down by his identity being public; villains attacked his family, he lost his job and friends, and his already difficult life became much more miserable. He eventually had to make a deal with Mephisto to undo the public knowledge of his identity, at the cost of losing his marriage to MJ. (Marvel really wanted to retcon a lot at that point.)
Trivial rant: One of my least favorite subplots of that whole storyline was Jameson's reaction to Parker's identity. He became enraged and sued Parker (for wages earned under false pretense) and did everything he could to ruin Parker's life. Isn't that just so... predictable and boring? I would have written it so that Jameson, upon discovering that Spider-Man is someone he knows and trusts and sort of likes, has a change of heart and becomes Spider-Man's only vocal defender after everyone else in his life abandons him. It would have been a refreshing change for the character. Jameson is one of my least-favorite characters in comics, because he's just such a one-dimensional plot device; his sole function is to be very wrong about Spider-Man at all times, and he gets so intensely boring doing this over and over and over again.This reply contains spoilers. Reveal it. − July 5, 2019 more by Scott
Evie Totty: Oh man - I got it wrong, haha! And yes - disappointing that Jameson would 'predictably' do that :/ Not sure I even want to read the Civil War series. Sounds like a heartbreaking story.This reply contains spoilers. Reveal it. − July 5, 2019 more by Evie
Scott Hardie: I think my problems with Jameson being repetitive, and with Parker's teen romance frustrations being repetitive, are simply a product of me outgrowing the adventures of Spider-Man. There's a reason I stopped reading the comics, after all. Marvel's movies are so much fun and so consistently great that I keep going, but I can see myself someday getting tired of them too.This reply contains spoilers. Reveal it. − July 5, 2019 more by Scott
Scott Hardie: This interview with the director confirms that there is no plan for Peter's identity being revealed. They just tossed it in at the end and they'll figure what it means in the next movie. I'm very disappointed.This reply contains spoilers. Reveal it. − July 7, 2019 more by Scott
Scott Hardie: I suspect it's more than that. I suspect that the twist ending is entirely Sony's doing, and Marvel was minimally involved.
Besides their sense of humor, the distinctive brand of Marvel Studios has been extensive planning. They had a plan to get from Iron Man to Avengers, then from there to Infinity War and Endgame, and I'm sure they have careful plans already underway for the next few phases. They know years in advance what they're going to do and they have to arrange a lot of pieces on the chessboard to get there.
On the other hand, Sony's brand with most of the Spider-Man movies has been to throw as many ideas against the wall as they can and see what sticks. Their movies have been crammed way too full of subplots and villains and surprise twists, the scripts being made up each day on set. That sloppy, haphazard approach has served Sony as badly as Marvel's careful plotting has served them well.
The longer I think it over, the more I hate the ending of Far from Home, and the more it feels like Sony's pre-MCU approach to Spidey movies. Let's just toss out a twist ending! We don't know what it means or where it will take the story! We don't care that it doesn't feel like a natural consequence of the events that preceded it! We'll just give the audience a cheap shock to end this because it needs some kind of stinger on the end, right? Who cares what it is, just slap something on there and we'll figure it out later if this thing gets a sequel.
It's just so disappointing. I don't know how much creative control Marvel has over plot elements like this, but it doesn't feel like enough.This reply contains spoilers. Reveal it. − July 10, 2019 more by Scott
Matthew Preston: Scott - Falling flat is exactly my thought here too. The jokes were ill-timed, inappropriate, and way off target. − July 16, 2019 more by Matthew
Matthew Preston: “It was ok.”
I think I went into this with much higher expectations than I should have. Save a few brief heartfelt moments (and a few lousy jokes), this mostly ignores or makes lighthearted fun of the Thanos snap and Tony's sacrifice. I'm not sure what's a worse thought though: That the high schooler's reactions/apathy are too far-fetched... or a way too accurate depiction.
Other random thoughts:
- I spent the entire time thinking there is just something really off about Maria Hill. Has she always had this attitude? She looks really disheveled and seems aloof. Maybe the snap/blip had a traumatic effect on her? Scott, you'd be happy to know that I made a conscious thought in my head to mention this on my Funeratic review later (how it was going to be some awesome revelation). Turns out though, it wasn't really Maria Hill. Makes perfect sense now. Well done on giving us clues before the Skrull reveal.
- The hallway "Peter Tingle" scene at the end was awesome. Now there's The Amazing Spider-Man!
- The scenes of Peter traversing New York are exactly similar to the PS4 game released last year. That's Sony too, so maybe there is potential for a future connection. Really good game if you haven't played it, with a more mature Peter Parker.
- This did not feel like a labor of love, but more of a cash grab. I could see the many producer hands in the pot, stirring up ignorant scenes. C'mon, revealing Peter Parker as Spider-Man in the way it was done? Really? I do enjoy the callback to Aunt May closing out the first movie though.This review contains spoilers. Reveal it.
Scott Hardie: Yeah, good point, that New York scene made me think of the recent Spider-Man video game too. I guess the game has had some non-canonical interactions with the movies: It featured the Homecoming costume as unlockable content, and Far from Home showed a costume from the game as one of the options when Peter was designing a new suit with Stark technology. What a great game that was! It's hard for 2-D media to capture the way that Spider-Man moves around in space, but the game got it right, and it was really fun to play. And I definitely appreciated the more adult hero for once.This reply contains spoilers. Reveal it. − July 17, 2019 more by Scott