Based on the initial reviews I expected this movie to be boring or reliant on juvenile humor. I didn’t find this to be true, I’d in fact say it is an adventure movie primarily. I’ve not read any of the novels, so my experience with the series is limited to Eddie Murphy’s movies of Dr. Dolittle. I found the trailers didn’t tell much about the movie other than the Gorilla was scared, which helps elucidate a concept of the film. Dr. Dolittle (Robert Downey Jr.) isn’t just a medical doctor, he’s a person interested in the world around him and helping those in it.
The film starts with an animated backstory narrated by Poly (Emma Thompson) about the early life of Dr. Dolittle. We learn about the untimely death of his wife Lily Dolittle (Kasia Smutniak) and the self-imposed isolation of Dolittle. We then see a boy with his family called Tommy Stubbins (Harry Collett) hunting against his wishes. He tries to miss a duck only to injure a squirrel. Poly the parakeet sees Tommy distraught by this and leads him to Dr. Dolittle’s wildlife reservation. Tommy gets caught in a trap, meanwhile we see Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) also finds the reservation.
Dr. Dolittle was going about his daily routine with the animals with a large unkempt beard when he sees Tommy hanging from the net outside. Poly tries to persuade him to help Tommy, but Dr. Dolittle decides to send Chee-Chee, the gorilla, (Rami Malek) to scare Tommy and Rose despite being scared of the humans himself. Rose isn’t scared and walks right past Chee-Chee. Rose tells Dr. Dolittle that the Queen Victoria of England (Jessie Buckley) is unwell and has specifically requested Dr. Dolittle to which he refuses the request. After Tommy brings in the squirrel, Dolittle reluctantly agrees to help it. The animals overhear during the surgery that if the Queen dies, that the reservation that was granted will no longer be Dr. Dolittle’s.
This film was an enjoyable adventure that was made for the whole family in mind, though it does have some scary scenes for younger audiences. The special effects of the animals are done well enough that you feel they are present in the scenes, but they still have some human characteristics to add to the experience. There are several characters within the movie who have well-developed personalities with relatable flaws. One of the concepts that really made me laugh was Dolittle speaks to the animals in their languages. In Eddie Murphy’s version we’re told that he speaks like the animals, but we never see him talk like the animals. The whole concept is well done, and I hope there will be a sequel. I could imagine each film focusing around a few of the animals introduced in this film to create a deeper connection with the characters. Rated PG.
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