SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME - Infinity's End
“Spider-Man: Far From Home” puts a nice coda on the Infinity War saga while setting up a new path for the M.C.U.
Spoilers for those who have not seen “Avengers: Endgame”, but The Infinity War is over. Thanos and his army were dusted out of existence, and the life that got snapped out of the universe was restored. There were casualties, though. Black Widow sacrificed herself while Tony Stark fell after being the one to dust Thanos. The world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is back to normal, well as normal as it can be, but there are still lingering issues left over from the cosmic events that just happened. “Spider-Man: Far From Home”, the latest entry into the M.C.U. and directed by Jon Watts, deals with the after-effects of The Infinity War from the perspective of Spider-Man, and, more importantly, Peter Parker (Tom Holland). The goody guys won, but it came at a heavy cost, especially for our friendly neighborhood superhero.
The base plot for “Spider-Man: Far From Home” deals with Peter and his classmates going on a field trip to Europe. The film actually deals with some of the more important questions lingering from “Endgame” right out of the gate and via a school newscast. It seems the issue of people disappearing and then returning 5 years later has been called “The Blip”. Those who got “blipped” didn’t age. That is where Peter and his classmates come into the story. Many of them got blipped, while others grew up and are now out of high school. Peter’s Aunt May (Marissa Tomei), who also got blipped, deals with the social impact as she’s raising money for the homeless since many people reappeared in places that were no longer their homes.
The world is also mourning the loss of Iron Man while celebrating his heroic deed. This weighs heavily on Peter as many keep asking if Spider-Man is going to be the next Iron Man. Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), who now has an interest in Aunt May, even tells Peter that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) will be calling him to step up to the plate. The pressure gets to him so, when the trip to Europe comes up, he intentionally forgets to pack his suit so he can have a normal trip with his friends, such as Ned (Jacob Batalon), Betty (Angourie Rice), and, most importantly, MJ (Zendaya). Peter wants to use the trip to tell MJ how he feels about her, but this being a teen movie and a superhero movie, lots of things get in his way.
Those lots of things involve The Elementals, monsters taking on the form of wind, water, fire, and earth. The Elementals are tormenting locations all over the world, and they set their sights on Europe. Fury “convinces” Spider-Man to assist while also introducing him to Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), a mysterious stranger claiming to be from Earth of another reality. Beck claims to have fought The Elementals on his Earth and has come here to prevent this version of Earth from falling victim to their wrath. I say claim because, well, Quentin Beck is also Mysterio, a Spider-Man villain with a habit of lies and deception. You can put 2 and 2 together from here. The introduction of a key piece of technology given to Peter by Tony Stark is also critical to the plot and overall theme of the movie.
Peter’s struggle in “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is two-fold. He has all the normal concerns and problems a teenager has in that he’s trying to get the girl while worrying about her falling for someone else. At the same time, though, the weight of Tony’s departure and demands from the likes of Nick Fury and the rest of the world are getting to be too much. “Far From Home” isn’t just a metaphor for Peter and his friends being in Europe. This Peter Park is far from his normal existence, one where he had a mentor and father figure ready to give him sarcastic yet useful advice, especially about being a superhero. Peter is lost, and that is why a guy like Quentin Beck and the story he spins comes across as something Peter’s willing to accept.
Peter’s arc, though, finds him accepting the fact that he’s not going to be the next Iron Man. No one is going to be the next Iron Man. Peter is going to be Spider-Man, and that’s good enough. Hell… it’s more than good enough. He also discovers he does have someone that’s willing to listen in the form of Happy Hogan. Tony’s death weighs heavily on Happy as well so he’s the only one that can really connect to Peter about it. They share a pretty great scene together, and it’s an emotional high point of the film. Everyone, especially Fury, still treats Peter as a kid, but Happy starts to see him in a different light. Holland handles all of this quite well and continues to be, hands down, the best live action actor ever to don the Spider-Man suit.
Now that I got all the heavy stuff out of the way, let me talk about the fun stuff in “Far From Home”. The movie picks up from “Homecoming” in the sense of having some hilarious supporting cast members. Martin Starr and J.B. Smoove play the teachers and chaperones on the trip to Europe, and they are a riot together. It’s a bummer Hannibal Buress’ gym teacher isn’t back for the film, but these two are just as good. The rest of the young cast, Zendaya, Rice, and Batalon, are all great in their roles. Rice and Batalon have a funny sub-plot going on throughout the film, while Zendaya’s take on MJ continues to be wonderfully fresh and needed.
Oh yeah… I haven’t mentioned Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio. There’s some pretty meta style commentary going on with the character of Mysterio, and Gyllenhaal is a perfect choice to pull it off. Here’s a guy who probably could have been Spider-Man in the Tobey Maguire films, and now he’s someone pretending to be a superhero. He plays the fine line of someone trying to be heroic while also being high up on his bullshit quite nicely. His ultimate motivations are interesting and serve as a commentary on the void left in the world after the events of “Endgame”.
In closing, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is a fine entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a fitting way to put closure on The Infinity War saga. The M.C.U. is now a world without its first generation of heroes, but a new generation is out there. Peter Parker is one of those, and, without saying too much of what happens in the mid and end credits stingers, it’ll be fascinating to see where his story goes in the future.
Remember… not everything you see is real. Did I say too much?