Warning: Webslinging spoilers ahead
Endgame was probably the best emotional rollercoaster I’ve been on because of the immensely long build up (and because I’m a nerd). So to me, any next Marvel movie that happened after had huge shoes to fill. Despite my best efforts of mind-setting, brainwashing and mental conditioning, this was inevitable (if you saw Endgame, you’ll know what I did there)—any next MCU movie would have to deliver after, which is like performing at a rock festival after a band like Queen.
The thing is, Spider-Man: Far From Home delivered. Not in the same way but it delivered well.
The movie’s plot centers around Peter Parker’s field trip to Europe (awesome field trip, can I get an amen??), where of course disaster along with Nick Fury follow. School trip + disasters, so what’s the difficulty here? Enter Peter’s love interest, MJ. All Peter wanted to do was tell her how he felt but him being Spider-Man plus Mysterio troubles spelled the ultimate roadblock.
I couldn’t help but feel for Peter; he wanted so much to just be a teenager but the situation just wouldn’t allow it. What I loved about this as a moviegoer and a nerd is that this is reminiscent of how Peter Parker was in the comics: always in conflict with his personal life and his superhero self. If we put things into perspective after all, he’s a highschool teenager. Can you imagine the sort of weight this puts on his shoulders? But as they say, “With great power, comes great responsibility” (yes, I put huge a Spidey easter egg right there and I’m proud) and Peter’s heart of gold shines through and through.
This scores nerd points but, at the same time, it scores even more points because of how moviegoers relate to the character. If this is the conflict now, can you imagine what it’s like for him after Far From Home given that Mysterio blasted his identity to the whole world?
Probably one of the most humanized heroes in the whole MCU; amazing!
Teenage Awkwardness at Its Best
Remember back in your highschool days, how weird you must’ve been around your secret crush? How everything was planned out to be cool but just really wasn’t? Teenage years, right? The cast hit this one right on the head. No teens acting like adults, just teens being teens. Call it coming of age, growing up, highschool—I call it a welcome break from the sensationalized teenage life that I remember from Hollywood.
It’s a tone that’s been carried well since Homecoming and one that shows no real slowdown. This is part of the Spider-Man charm in the MCU; everyone else is an adult but in every inch of this movie, you can tell Peter Parker and Spider-Man are in the in-between, with great potential but only growing into where they should be. It’s a perfect fit into the rest of the universe.
To illustrate this point, can you imagine Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man in the MCU? Probably not, which is why Tom Holland’s characterization is so impressive. Don’t get me wrong, they are both excellent—no question—but you can really tell that Holland’s character was thought of through and through to fit into the larger Marvel movie world. Credit to Holland for a great acting job and credit to head honchos at Marvel for planning things so very well!
Mysterio, Mission Accomplished
I will go out on a limb and say his character and the way Jake Gyllenhaal brought ol’ fishbowl to life was arguably my favorite part of the movie. Seeing Mysterio’s illusions become “real” and enjoying how the folks at Marvel weaved him into the MCU was nothing short of spectacular!
The scenes where Spider-Man went through Mysterio’s illusions were—hands down—jaw dropping. I remember young me watching cartoons and seeing Mysterio’s smoke and mirrors thinking “meh, how does he really even challenge Spider-Man??” Fast forward to 2019 and we have a showdown that instantly qualifies as a classic.
Yes Easter Eggs, Lovely Easter Eggs
There are two that I want to mention that can go by unnoticed but that I want to point out because, as a fan of the series, these two easter eggs are gold. While easter eggs have grown from tiny nods to hints of events to come, they’re clear signs of careful thought and intentional detail and, as we know, the folks at Marvel are the masters of this.
The scene is where Happy is watching Peter make his suit and he says, “I’ll take care of the music” and bam! Back in Black by AC/DC plays banging. Happy sees Tony in Peter, the crowd is energized and hyped up and Spidey has his suit. The tiny noteworthy throwback brings us to the start; Back in Black is actually the first ever song that played in the MCU in Ironman when Tony Stark got kidnapped! How’s that for a nod to the past?
The second is more obvious, but I swear to god I jumped in my seat when the Daily Bugle and JK Simmons were revealed. A lot of folks will remember JK Simmons from 2002’s Spider-Man, where he played the same character: J. Jonah Jameson. While this isn’t the most impactful, it is a great callback to when superhero movies were just starting: the MCU didn’t exist and we were happy just to see our heroes fly and websling out of the Saturday morning cartoons. We’ve come a long way since 2002 but I for one, am glad that the bosses behind the curtains make it a point to pay tribute to the superhero movie building blocks of our time.
Life after Tony Stark? Marvel has certainly shown us that the future is bright without Ironman. While the fanbase will miss what the first general of heroes has built, Far From Home is a clear indication of lots of great things to come. Doubters beware, this movie will make true-believers out of you, yet!
Words Yosu de Erquiaga
Art Alexandra Lara