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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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

I’m a comic book fan, so I’m a bit biased towards the genre. Honestly, I prefer older Peter Parker as Spider-Man as I’m used to him. So Spider-Man: Homecoming was a good movie to me, but lacked some of the things I’m accustomed to in the comics. After seeing the end credits of Venom, I wasn’t sure what I’d get as the scene was so silly. While this movie does have some silliness, there are many reasons why it won the Oscar for best animated film in 2018.

Right from the opening, alternate credits give a feeling for the raw style this movie is going for. The movie starts off with a recap of the life of Peter Parker (Chris Pine) over the years. It’s very similar to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man but it has some clear differences. We get a feel for a very triumphant life of Peter vs the evil he faces. Then we cut to Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) and his daily life. Very early on we get the feeling of a teenager struggling to fit in. He wants to be ordinary at public school, but his parents want him to strive to be better at a highly exclusive private school. After school, Miles goes to see his uncle Aaron (Mahershala Ali). They have a good rapport together and eventually go to a hidden area to do some graffiti. There Miles gets bitten by a spider with the number 42 on it.

The next day Miles wakes up feeling off. He ends up getting his hand stuck to a girl’s hair who is played by Hailee Steinfeld. Then he ends up in his room reading a Spider-Man comic. He sees that he appears to be going through the same things as Spider-Man. Later that night, he goes to the same place he was bitten by the spider and investigates it. While he’s there he gets drawn into a fight between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. Spider-Man is moderately successful against Goblin and The Prowler, but then things go wrong and Peter gets trapped under some rubble. Wilson Fisk (Liev Schreiber) proceeds to finish Peter off leading to a shocked Miles fleeing only to have the terrifying Prowler pursue him.

Later at Peter’s grave, Miles bumps into someone wearing part of a Spider-Man suit who can shoot webs, played by Jake Johnson. Miles accidentally knocks him out and we get the chase scene used to promote this film found at the end of Venom. There’s a lot more to the movie than this. We get to see more incarnations of Spider-Man as many promotional materials have shown. Each character has their own interesting take on the lore and many are played by well-known actors.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse really does a great job bridging the gap between comics and accessibly through its animated format. It’s funny, action packed, and even has some deeply emotional scenes. The animation style is a bit jarring at first and I was worried about it being an issue. After a minute or two, my brain adjusted to the movement. The style overall lends itself to creating a feel like the comics with even noise lines coming out of a character’s mouth when they laughed. With how well it’s critically received, I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes the standard to measure others against. I saw it three times in theaters, so I really enjoyed it, and I’ve not heard anything negative from someone who has seen it. Rated PG.

Ryan