ELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times
It’s very rare when I get to see a movie on opening night and Tuesday night, I got to do just that. I took advantage of my free night and decided to see Marvel’s newest, “Spider-Man: Far From Home.”
The movie takes place shortly after the events of the overall heart-wrenching “Avengers: Endgame” and follows Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland) as he goes on vacation to Europe with his class and tries to take a break from everything that has happened in his life. But when a seemingly otherworldly threat hits close and S.H.I.E.L.D needs his help, his plans drastically change.
Like usual, one of the first things I have to give praise to for the movie is the acting. Holland, who has played the titular webslinger since his short debut in “Captain America: Civil War,” continues to grow his acting chops in the role and turns in another great performance as Peter Parker. Holland has really come into his own in the role and I believe he’ll come have a bright future in the acting world. One of the main points of the movie is how Parker is dealing with Tony Stark’s death at the end of “Endgame” and Holland nails all of the necessary emotions. The best scene concerning this happens in the third act of the movie when he finally breaks down and admits how much he misses Stark and how much it’s affected him. The scene has just enough emotion to make viewers feel it right along with Peter, but it’s also just subtle enough that it’s not a totally melodramatic scene. Overall, Holland has found that perfect balance of not only channeling his youth in order to effectively play a high school student, but he’s also just old enough to let some wisdom also shine through.
Another good bit of acting came from Jake Gyllenhaal, who brought long-time Spider-Man character Mysterio to life. He brings just enough earnestness without being cloying to his earlier scenes and just enough darkness and edge to his later scenes where his true intentions are revealed without being melodramatic about it. And while I praise Gyllenhaal for doing a great job in his role, one of the problems I had with the movie was how obvious they made him as the villian in both the advertising campaign and in the movie. I definitely would have preferred it to be more subtle and have it be more of a slow burn as opposed to going into the movie already having an idea of what would happen. And did Marvel think we wouldn’t notice how the reveal of Mysterio’s true intentions mirrored the villian reveal from “Iron Man 3?” Because I sure did. And speaking of past MCU movies, there were a few parts where scenes from a few of the past movies were shown, including from the first “Iron Man,” and I thought that was just an overall cool move for the producers to make.
I also really liked the chemistry between everyone in the cast – all of the younger actors (i.e. Peter’s classmates) seem to have a great rapport with each other and it’s fun to see that chemistry turn into some of the movie’s funnier moments.
Another thing that deserves praise is the scenery and sets. The European scenes were beautiful and there was definitely a lot of thought put in to where filming would take place. Another rather dazzling part of the movie was the illusions Peter was under while fighting Mysterio – I’m not sure how many people put all those scenes together, but they did a great job and there were a few of those that legitimately gave me the heebie-jeebies.
Another thing I liked about the movie was how the movie introduced viewers to some newer villains with Mysterio and the Elementals. The villans in the past “Spider-Man” movies have been ones everyone knows fairly well, so it was cool to see a group of new villans for Spider-Man to face. The Elementals was also another cool part of the special effects and like the illusions Peter face, they were done very well and I’m sure they would be even more dazzling in 3D.
Another small problem I had with the movie was the pacing. There were some scenes near the end of the movie’s second act I felt somewhat dragged and could have been tightened up just a bit. The overall length of the movie ends up being about perfect, but there were definitely a few scenes that could have used some trimming and tightening.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie and would give it a solid “B,” with my praise in particular going toward the acting in the movie, the scenery and the special effects. If you liked any of the other preview MCU movies, you will probably enjoy “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” The movie is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments and is currently in theaters everywhere.