Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man is many people’s favorite super hero. The realistic struggle of his daily life mixed in with his super hero life just connects with people. We first saw Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War as a powerful ally to Tony Stark. We’ve seen him as a super hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. I think in Spider-Man: Far From Home, we really get a good mix of Peter Parker’s life and the struggle with Peter having to be Spider-Man.

The movie starts off talking about the aftermath of Endgame. We see Aunt May (Marisa Tomei)  is running a charity for those displaced by the “blip” (the 5 years people were gone) with some help from Happy Hogan (Jon Faverau). Spider-Man makes an appearance at the charity event, but Peter becomes overwhelmed when he’s asked about being a replacement for Iron Man. Later, Peter is talking to his friend, Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), about his plans for the upcoming class trip to Europe where he plans to ask out MJ (Zendaya). The scene then shifts to Mexico where Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) are investigating a typhoon that “had a face.” They then get surprised as a mysterious figure known as Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) appears.

Peter and his classmates end up in Venice, Italy. Peter starts to enact part of his plan to confess his feelings to MJ by buying a black dahlia flower made of glass for her. He then gets her aside and seems like he might give it to her, when some strange things occur like crabs fleeing the river. Suddenly a water creature appears. Peter gets ready to fight it, but he doesn’t have his costume on him. The mysterious figure from earlier appears to fight the creature and seems to make some progress at hurting it. Peter focuses on rescuing people and manages to find a mask to wear.

After the creature is defeated, Peter makes it back to the hotel where everyone is staying. As he goes up to his room to get ready for bed, Ned is tranquilized by Nick Fury. Nick Fury tries to explain the situation to Peter as several people interrupt them by knocking on the door. They eventually leave and Fury briefs Peter that Beck has come from another world to save them from the Elementals. Fury also gives Peter some glasses that Tony Stark left for him. Peter doesn’t really want to get involved with the mission and he particularly wants to keep his classmates out of it. Peter leaves only to find out the next day that his trip has been “upgraded” to coincide with the mission. He reluctantly gets on the bus and puts on the glasses that have an artificial intelligence built in them that identifies itself as E.D.I.T.H.

There’s a lot going on in this movie. I really enjoy that aspect of it. We see everything Peter has to deal with, and it’s a lot for anyone; yet alone a 16-year old. It’s honestly this type of struggle to be normal that I’ve missed in these stories. So many things are done well that it really takes some evaluation to find flaws. This movie helps to build a foundation for Spider-Man and the Marvel Cinematic Universe to move forward together. Rated PG-13

Ryan

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Captain Marvel


While I know much about certain comic book characters, I don’t know as much about Captain Marvel. I’ve only read Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel comic book run, which is similar to the movie version. Otherwise I’ve learned about her through Avenger’s stories, X-Men, Ms. Marvel, or character synopsis. So, I was curious to learn what story they’d try to tell with her. Overall, I think the advertising campaign helped keep that a mystery. Something many may not know is that this takes place mostly in 1995.

The movie starts out with Vers (one of three names for Captain Marvel in this movie), played by Brie Larson, waking up from a dream. She goes to spar with Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), where he tells her she needs to focus on controlling her emotions. She talks about how she doesn’t seem to recall her past. They talk about some of Kree society on the planet Hala, which they’re on. We learn of their enemies the alien shapeshifters, the Skrull. Soon enough they get into a conflict with them and Vers is taken captive. The Skrull begin to explore her memories. She eventually frees herself from the Skrulls and crash-lands on Earth.

Some Skrulls follow her to Earth and soon she is met by Agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg). Fury and Coulson are understandably apprehensive about Vers’s story of space travel and shapeshifting aliens. They’re soon shot at with an alien weapon from the nearby roof. Vers chases after a Skrull. After the chase, it becomes clear to Fury that Ver’s story is real. So Vers and Fury end up teaming up to deal with the threat.

After seeing this movie, I compared it to other Marvel movies. I think this one feels most closely related to Thor. They’re both powerful characters from alien societies. I think they learned from Thor that having a “fish out of water” character isn’t necessarily enough to tell a compelling story, when there are now numerous origin stories. So, they added more action and supporting characters to make a relatable narrative. The story is less overwhelming than it could have been, as introducing two alien societies is a lot to explain in one movie. We could have ended up with several more societies, and that’s hard to keep track of.

There is a lot going on in the movie with three prominent species. The character of Carol Danvers really has a lot of complexity to her as well. I personally think they could have spent multiple movies introducing her prior to Avenger’s: Endgame. Doctor Strange was the last Marvel character to be fully introduced in their own movie and I think his story felt less rushed in comparison. One problem with the character is that they explain early on that she’s supposed to stifle emotion from her Kree training. So, I suspect we’ll see a different version moving forward. I do think this movie nailed the points it needed to for the bigger universe. It’s a fun addition to the great Marvel Cinematic Universe. Rated PG-13.

Ryan