July 01, 2019 – Vinz Lamorena
It’s been more than two decades and we’ve gone through 23 films to complete the “Infinity Saga.” But even with the oversaturation of superhero films shown in recent years, Marvel has never failed to stun us with the tapestry it has patiently designed.
Its latest film in the cinemas, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” shows the ingenuity of every direction the studio has taken—every little deviation from the comics, introduction of unexpected mentorships, and significant changes in the characterization of its iconic heroes, just to bring us what we are meant to see on the big screen today.
The final chunk of Phase 3 is where we rediscover the joy of understanding the grander scheme of things. As the Marvel Cinematic Universe lost a great leader in Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), we are sent back to a world that is desperate for a new hero to step up. It is in one of the MCU’s closely intertwined stories where we find a young hero forced to emerge as a reassuring new beacon of security. It’s a role that has been passed on, decided by Stark himself. Yes, even in death, Iron Man’s the hero.
“Far From Home” offers momentary solace from the events of “Endgame.” But more than a story that allows the expression of grief, it proposes a beginning worth looking forward to—both for its characters and fans. It’s more than a fascination on the upgraded Spidey suits. The sequel focuses on the boy behind the mask. It gives us a teen superhero flick that we neither asked for nor expected, but enjoyed nonetheless.
This Spider-Man film is an action-filled romantic comedy. We see Peter Parker (Tom Holland) act his age—his cowardice and immaturity shows. But we also know that every standalone film is a test of character, an examination of the self behind the heroics.
A stark difference is seen in Parker as Marvel continues to unfold the humanity of its heroes by exploring the effects of trauma and affliction. He isn’t the same Peter who seeks an identity in being an Avenger. Instead, he just wants to your average teenager.
In the past four films we’ve seen the web slinger in, he claimed he was already a hero in his own right. But after the “blip” (AKA Thanos’ snap), we see Parker crawling back into his comfort zone and declaring heroic duties are way out of his league.
The youngest Avenger sets out for an adventure in Europe, concerning himself with the daunting affairs of romance. Peter wants to reveal his feelings for MJ (Zendaya) until Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson) hijacks his school holiday. Spider-Man is asked to battle tyrannical beings that pose to annihilate the Earth called the Elementals. A man from a parallel universe, Mysterio (who was pegged by the public as the fusion of Thor and Iron Man), introduces himself as a hero who has battled these destructive furries before.
Fans knew early on that Quentin Beck (Mysterio) is faking his heroic credentials, but what was surprising was the way they seamlessly weaved his villainous origins into the MCU. Mysterio was branded as an unstable world-builder, a scientific genius who has long stayed in the sidelines. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal has once again proven he can charm his way through any role.
Viewers will be in awe at how Gyllenhaal effortlessly builds trust and connection with our hero. With the Avengers out of the limelight, he introduces himself as an icon of hope, despite the manipulations he manages to pull together. It has been incredible how Marvel went for the less obvious choices from the Sinister Six, and we can’t wait for the possibility of the villains being resurrected in future films.
It’s important to note this Spider-Man arc never stretched out the known origin story of Peter Parker. Instead, it concerned itself with introducing the web slinger as the next Iron Man. Think about it, Tony plays the role of Uncle Ben in this universe, in this story plot. His death holds meaning. He stands as the figure who makes Spider-Man take on a different brand of heroism. As crazy as it may seem, Marvel just might be building up a bigger hero than Iron Man, and this play has been in the works since 2016.
Without even saying the overused line, “Far From Home” emphasizes that with great power comes great responsibility—one that Peter has to prove himself capable of, but one that Stark has deemed this young Avenger worthy.
The sequel combines the best aspects of the both the “Spider-Man” and “Iron Man” films—yes, including the much-needed comic relief, the swagger shown in Tony’s workshop, and the fantastic backstories of villains. For the longest time, the web slinger wanted to prove himself a hero, but “Far From Home” shows us how he finally grows to be one.
PS: The two post-credit scenes are absolute shockers! “Spider-Man: Far From Home” will start showing on cinemas nationwide this July 3. Photos courtesy of Columbia Pictures.
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