• Release Date: 04/07/2019
  • Cast: Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei.
  • Directed By: Jon Watts

Spider-Man: Far From Home begins after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Tony Stark is no more and most of the other heroes have dashed out to different frontiers. That leaves only Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in our midst to finally graduate from the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to someone who can deal with an Avengers level threat. But Peter still wants to be just the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. He wants to sit next to MJ (Zendaya) in a 9-hour long flight to Europe and watch movies with her using the dual headphone adapter that he has brought for that very purpose. He wants to propose her at the Eiffel Tower and then maybe kiss her. But all that is violently interrupted when four elemental abominations (sand, water, fire, and storm) lay waste to different parts of Europe and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) calls in his help to deal with the situation. Mr. Quentin Beck aka Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), a man from a different version of the earth also appears just in time to help Spidey and Fury to deal with the elementals.

I loved “Far From Home” a tad bit more than “Homecoming”. It just felt breezier and better structured. The film dwells on a large number of issues in Peter’s life and succeeds in finding resonance in almost all of them. Spidey is bogged down by the absence of Tony Stark and it shows in his mannerisms and thought process. He desperately wants to profess his love for MJ but there too he has competition from a fellow student who seems to be gaining grounds on her faster than him. He is visibly frustrated by that. He is also not ignorant about what is expected of him when the time comes for him to stand up for the people but just wants to have a normal life for a few days. It’s at this juncture that he has to face off against the elementals on a trip where he was unwilling to even carry his Spidey costume. This is also the time when he meets Quentin Beck. Beck is a man who is as heroic as he is appreciative of Peter and in him, Peter sees flashes of Tony Stark.

The first half of the film is dense with buildup and undercurrents of things that attain more importance as we go along. It is suffice to say that Gyllenhaal and Holland strike of a wonderful chemistry that makes one of the most important scenes of the film believable. If it was not for their gullible camaraderie and the fact that Peter starts looking up to this man, we would not have been able to accept a scene on which the whole narrative hinges. Once that is taken care of efficiently, the rest of the film was bound to be entertaining and engrossing.

It is pointless to speak about the efficiency of Hollywood in dealing with the visual aspects of their films but “Far From Home” was so exceptional in its visual proficiency that it’s impossible not to bring it up. Every action sequence is thought out imaginatively and the rendering of Mysterio is so apt, effective and fun that I was completely immersed in his dealing with the elementals. The trademark Spider-Man action is also there and it is done with aplomb. There is a prolonged sequence wherein Spidey has to make way through a cerebral maze and has no clue to what is real and what is an illusion. This to me was the best bit of action in the whole film. Towards the end of the film, a certain revelation is made and we are made privy to certain aspects of the action that would make it or break it for many. I was ok with whatever was happening as it was done with finesse and credibility. The explanations also seemed to make enough sense and that helped me to stay hooked with the narrative.

Jake Gyllenhaal has a blast with the character of Mysterio. There are many layers to his character and he excels in every one of them. As I mentioned before a large chunk of the film’s hold is derived from a certain scene that is built up to by playing on the camaraderie of Gyllenhaal and Holland. It must be noted that both Holland and Gyllenhaal do their very best to build up to this point. I just loved the discussion between the two on the terrace after Nick Fury rebukes Peter for not willing to step up. Holland does a great job of being Peter and Spidey. There is a sense of longing for MJ in his act and an element of real surprise in how his friend Ned’s love story goes with another fellow student on the trip. While the later contributes to the comedy, the former only illustrates why Peter is so eager to be back on the trip and not at all excited to go after the elementals. These aspects of the character are wonderfully invoked by Holland who is evidently getting better with every film.

Zendaya, Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Favreau and Marisa Tomei make their presence in their respective parts felt. Favreau and Tomei’s romantic track is quirky, sweet and subtly done. Zendaya is the kind of MJ that we have never seen before. She is one with a penchant for the macabre and a compulsion to speak the truth no matter what the consequences. Zendaya plays her with an awkward charm that is hard not to fall in love with. Samuel L. Jackson is Samuel L. Jackson and we love him for being that.

“Far From Home” has three end credit sequences one of which turns the film on its head. In it, we are introduced to Spider-Man’s greatest nemesis and it is bound to invoke widespread cheers. The other two hints at which way the Marvel Cinematic Universe might be headed and they are interesting. This is easily the best Spider-Man film since Spider-Man 2. It is fast, well acted and has some memorable action sequences. Add to that a lot of situational comedy and some real interpersonal dynamics and drama and you have a film that is a must watch.

Rating: 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)       


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