Does whatever a struggling teenager can
Homecoming and Far From Home are dumb subtitles for Spider-man. They sound like movies made for the Hallmark Channel. “Revenge of the Sinister 6” or “Enter Electro”. Those are Spidey titles.
And, I have been ready for Spider-Man to become a MAN for a while now. All three film versions of Spidey have been about his teen years, but I’d like to see him as he was when I was growing up. He had a job (Photographer for “The Daily Bugle”), a work-wife (Betty Brant), and a boss that was always up his arse (J. Jonah Jameson).
Yeah, yeah, whatever. I know these complaints come from what I have become accustomed to as “normal”. Still, I needed to get that off of my chest.
Regardless, I have been enjoying the Tom Holland version of Spidey in the Avengers films and in Homecoming. Not as much as Sam Raimi’s first two Spider-Man films (I even feel that parts of Spider-Man 3 were OK), but much better than the Andrew Garfield ones. (I can’t watch a moody Peter Parker.)
Still, I needed a little break after the last Avengers movie wrapped up a generation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe this past summer. In fact, Far From Home was so Far Off My Radar I had no idea Mysterio was in it or that Jack Gyllenhaal was playing him until I slipped the cardboard sleeve off of the UHD Blu-ray.
So, I waited on seeing Far From Home until now. And it is… OK.
I was introduced to Mysterio as a kid through reruns of the 1960’s cartoon. He quickly became my favourite villain, not only for his look but because he was a former stunt-man and special effects guy. This gave him the brawn and the brains. Gyllenhaal’s version of Mysterio didn’t nearly capture the magic of that original character for me.
Part of my issue is how long it took them to reveal him as a bad guy. I don’t know it for a fact, but I believe that most would be able to recognize him as a villain from some previous piece of Spider-Man media they consumed at some point. Then the movie leans heavily onto the “that wasn’t real, that was a hologram/holoimage/illusion/etc” too many times. It wasn’t bad by any stretch, but it just fell a little flat for me.
The movie did work the best when it stepped away from the Spider-Man stuff and dove into Peter Parker. Watching him go on this class trip, try to impress Mary Jane, juggling to be Spidey and Pete at the same time, coming to terms with Happy courting his Aunt May. That was all fun. The comic relief supplied by J.B. Smoove and Martin Starr in these moments as the class chaperones didn’t hurt either.