Teenage Drama, One Trip Too Far From Home, Marvel’s Breath of New Life, and the Best Spider-Man Movie Ever
You have to imagine that after 6 Spider-Man movies we’d be pretty sick of Peter Parker and the gang, not to mention the fact that the MCU recently ended their decade-long Iron-Man and Captain America run a few months ago. Yet, lo and behold, here I am writing what is probably going to be the best review of Spider-Man: Far From Home and, lest we forget, here WE go again as we begin watching Marvel ingeniously set up a new phase of movies.
I don’t know where to begin other than putting it out there that I genuinely just enjoyed this movie, like, a lot. I did not expect myself to love it as much as I did. It was sort of a sleeper, and not a sleeper in the same way Toby Maguire’s Spider-Man 3 literally put you to sleep, but a sleeper in that it was unexpectedly good. It was kinda like those early Golden State Warrior teams, when Steph and Klay were still the lovable underdog pair that was 2 years away from becoming a historical dynasty. Fun, flawed, and full of potential, Spider-Man: Far From Home is more than just an “entertaining” movie, but rather a distinct reflection of teenage reality and a preview of what Marvel has in store for the future.
If you ask anyone about Spider-Man: Far From Home, they’ll most likely tell you that the movie was ‘fun’. And despite my urge to describe this movie with the most colorful language possible, nothing really encapsulates the film better than the word ‘fun’. After all, this is – in essence – what Spider-Man was really made out to be (We’ll touch more on that later). Marvel has always done a superb job mixing moments of comedy, action and “oh shit this is actually serious” in their films. However, what made this Spider-Man series different was the way Marvel combined the hero genre with a coming-of-age genre (kind of like Sky High, another teen hero movie we love, which you can read more about here). The movie doesn’t begin with giant death robots or existential buff purple serial killers but with, yes, a high school trip to Europe. With all the “fate of the entire universe hangs in the balance” plotlines of Endgame and Infinity War, Marvel starts off its Phase 4 with a much more neighborly – and literally more down-to-earth – perspective of life after the Blip. Peter Parker isn’t swinging wall to wall whilst saving periled citizens in burning buildings. Instead, he’s dealing with the grave adolescent issues of getting a girl to sit beside him. In my opinion, this is what the other Spider-Man series’ failed to portray: the authentic teenage Peter Parker. We’ve seen Spider-Man oscillate through New York’s streets countless times already and frankly, we’ve grown tired of it. This much more light-hearted approach to Pete makes him more relatable, which is how the comics captured the hearts of 15-year-old me and other Spidey fans in the first place.
Take, for instance, the romance in the movie. Unlike the Garfield run which is filled with interminable cheesy one-liners and overly romantic moments, the relationship between Peter and MJ is one that is awkward enough to make a 13-year-old cringe. But if I recall correctly, my first high school relationship resembled the latter rather than the former, and I’d bet that yours did too – don't even try and deny it! Also, props to Zendaya and Tom for being able to form such realistic and authentic chemistry (props to them for being beautiful, too).
In spite of my appreciation for how this Spider-Man flick is set apart from the rest, the roots of the story still go back to the classic theme of Spider-Man, which is, of course, the concept of responsibility. But despite Tony Stark practically passing the torch to Peter Parker, this particular theme of responsibility isn’t embellished or overdone at all. This is actually the first time we see Peter Parker not wanting to be Spider-Man. Marvel has created a unique juxtaposition where viewers wish that they were Spider-Man while Spider-Man himself would rather be a regular teenager. Finding the balance between his regular life and his superhero alter ego becomes Peter’s main struggle throughout the film. He deals with issues like trying to have some kind of romantic life, avoiding responsibilities, making terrible mistakes, and just attempting to figure out life in general. Yeah, sounds familiar right, if only we had super-powers. If only we had damn super-powers.
Moving on from all the Smell of Teen Spirit, the movie at its core is still a superhero movie, and I do feel like Marvel could’ve done better at drilling home that aspect. Mysterio as a villain is clever and all, but he’s probably on the weaker side of the Marvel cast of enemies. This is reminiscent of Marvel’s tendency to downplay villains for the sake of realism (think The Mandarin from Iron Man 2). However, one thing I loved about the movie was how it subtly reminded us again about the bigger picture that lies ahead of us. The use of the Skrulls to disguise Nick Fury was a smart hint that this amazing universe still exists, ultimately bridging the end of an epic Phase 3 with a promising new beginning (queue high school musical’s Start of Something New).
True to its name, Spider-Man: Far From Home didn’t have the typical Spidey swinging from skyscrapers, upside-down kissing scenes, or, heck, even a red and blue spider-suit (Spider-Man’s detective suit was awesome, by the way). And it is that divergence that makes Spider-Man: Far From Home the hands-down best depiction of Spider-Man on the big screen. Bring on the haters.