In Brief: Tom Holland is the perfect Spider-Man and this is the perfect Spider-Man movie.
There is so much I want to tell you about Spider-Man: Far From Home but can’t. Too many spoilers. Or as I often say, I’ll let the Internet do that for you.
I have made it no secret that I’m a huge fan of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and of the producers of the new Spider-Man series. Starting with Captain America: Civil War and the wonderful work of Holland and Paul Rudd’s Ant Man, and moving into the last two Avengers flicks, and the now two reboot Spider-Man movies, they’ve absolutely — and finally — nailed the character.
The original comics cast him as a nice but socially clumsy nerd. When battling bad guys, Spider-Man also excelled at talking trash. Holland is THAT Spider-Man. Neither Toby Maguire nor Andrew Garfield were given that chance and I’m not sure either had the comic skills to pull it off anyway.
Here’s what I can tell you about the movie. Peter Parker wants to go on a tour of Europe with his high school classmates. Happy Hogan pops back into his life and says Nick Fury has other plans for him. They are plans Parker ignores. The kid has a crush on MJ and thinks she might feel the same way.
Pheromones top Fury.
While in Venice, Italy, a super villain emerges from the water and a new hero who ends up being called Mysterio fights the beast and he and Spider-Man become close friends. The why of the attacks and a special gift from Iron Man are at the heart of the movie.
You don’t need to know more.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is directed by Jon Watts who did Spider-Man: Homecoming and is written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers who wrote that film as well as Ant-Man and the Wasp and The Lego Batman Movie. All three have one major thing going for them and that’s the original Spider-Man’s sense of humor.
They loaded their movie with terrific action sequences and near-perfect special-effects and then packed it with laughs.
A big part of the movie’s fun comes from casting chemistry that is as flawless as the writing and directing. Zendaya’s MJ is hot, smart and more comfortable in her own skin than Parker and the other teens on the trip. At the same time, she is also as awkward as Parker. Ned — Parker’s best pal — is also in love and that adds to the film’s high humor.
The nervous Nelly teacher is a bit over the top, but it’s a minor plot problem as is the reworking of Parker’s elderly Aunt May into a middle-aged beauty.
Jake Gyllenhaal plays the other-worldly Mysterio is a wonderful addition to the Marvel Universe’s stable of characters. I can’t tell you much more about him without blowing the plot surprises, but he’s terrific and has great chemistry with Holland.
That leads us to the super hero department where Parker’s avoidance of Fury is flat-out funny.
As you know by my plot synopsis, Spider-Man: Far from Home is not only a super hero story but it’s also a teen angst flick. I hate teen angst. Only a teenager can care about hormonal heavy stories where this kid or that pines over a love they can’t possess. Judging by the poor box office results of these films, I doubt all that many of kids care about them either.
And if you’re a regular reader, you also know, I’m not a big fan of super hero movies. Some are pretty good but most are a bust.
For me — at least — it’s good to find a film from either genre that is entertaining from start to finish. Spider-Man: Far From Home is both. From the opening salvo to the clever close, this is the most fun I’ve had in a theater all year.
I suspect it will still hold that title by year’s end.
Director: Jon Watts
Stars: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jon Favreau, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, Jacob Batalon, Angourie Rice, Numan Acar, Cobie Smulders, Marisa Tomei, Martin Starr, J.K. Simmons
Rated PG-13 for mature themes and some violence. Spider-Man is my favorite super hero. Always has been. Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield were just so-s0. Tom Holland and this film’s producers FINALLY get the character and what you get is the most fun you’ll have in a theater this year. Give this a Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Friday Flicks with Gary 5 on my 0 to 5 scale.
Click here for theaters and show times.
Gary Wolcott has been reviewing movies on radio, television and newspaper since 1990. He believes — and this is an estimate only — that he’s seen something close to 10,000 movies in his lifetime. Gary is a lifelong fan of films and catches a couple of hundred movies a year. He believes movies ought to be seen on the big screen and not on the small screen in your living room or family room. While he loves movies, he also says reviewing film can be a real sacrifice and that he sees many movies so you don’t have to.
He is one of KXL 101.1 FM’s film critics and joined the news staff in 2014. Gary is also the film critic for Tri-Cities, Washington’s Tri-City Herald.