Go see it.
When push comes to shove in reviewing a movie, there is no more positive disclaimer a writer can give a flick.
Go see it.
For me, that’s the take on “Spider-Man: Far From Home.”
With fair warning …
For those of you taken in by the Marvel Universe’s hard lean to the all-star lineup of superheroes joining forces to face off against intergalactic threats the last few years, this may not be your cup of tea.
But let it steep a little in the theater and it might grow on you a bit.
Truth be told, this second solo act in the latest Spider-Man reboot starts pretty slow. Frankly, it takes just about half the 130-minute showtime to get going.
At that point, with our hero (British actor Tom Holland reprises his youthful take on the Spider-Man/Peter Parker role) having befriended Mysterio, aka Quentin Beck, as played by Jake Gyllenhaal, and awarded him “Avengers” status after going to battle together and defeating the last-standing Earth “Elemental,” a rather cartoonish massive figure of fire, it turns out that the script doctors of the plot decided to shift gears and be true to original Spidey series.
The result being: Mysterio isn’t friend-worthy or Avengers-worthy. He’s a diabolical, narcissistic, power-hungry genius.
Turns out the inferno and Elemental cohorts seen previously were nothing more than creations of an army of drones controlled by the real villain, Mysterio.
Good, because it was a little creepy for those of us with some old-school Spidey knowledge to see the webslinger teaming up with a character that had long been a nemesis in storyline print.
Perhaps naïve, you know, being just a teen and all, and trying to vacation with classmates in Europe, not the least of whom being MJ (Zendaya), the object of young Parker’s heart tingling, Spidey, like everyone else, was simply fooled by Mysterio’s act, which was aided by a team of nerdy, tech-driven minions.
Inquisitive by nature, and “the smartest guy in the room” despite his youth, Parker starts to piece things together, gets over his fears and second-guessing, receives some help from “Happy” (Jon Favreau), makes a new suit with an ode to his old pal Iron Man/Tony Starke playing in the background – “Back in Black” by AC/DC (spoiler alert from this point forward: this is when Happy realizes that Spidey is ready to take over as the lead Avenger) – and comes back to, well, kick Mysterio’s ass in an epic tussle on and around London Bridge, with Spidey facing an army of drones at the mercy of ol’ best friend for five minutes.
Spidey/Parker even manages to get the girl before things wrap up and credits role. As does the long overdue reappearance of J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons), from a prior Spider-Man vehicle manned by Toby Maguire, and a colossal “What the F#ck” moment in which Spidey’s identity is revealed via video – taken by Mysterio just as he was being defeated by our hero.
The post-movie stuff is worth sticking around to check out, too, if only for its kitchy appeal and, later, its link to current trending state of Marvel.
Cards on the table, not a big fan of superhero moviemaker giant’s take on Spidey/Parker and its insistence on youth, youth, youth. That Parker has to be this pint-sized high schooler who is more geek than anything else.
A further stretch from what the character was with initial creation and for decades in comic books and cartoons could not be derived. Spidey was the ultimate smartass among superheroes, and, frankly, a cocksure badass. He played more innocent as Parker, of course, but not to the degree Marvel pushes, and he wasn’t perpetually 16 years old, either. The original Spidey/Parker was in high school briefly before being a college undergrad. In other words, he wasn’t so “young.”
That being said, Holland makes the character work. He has a certain charm and boyish innocence that is endearing and engaging, and he shows the capacity to grow the character into a mature one … if Marvel ever lets him.
If nothing else, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is good, clean fun in a time where that isn’t always easy to find, and, all in all, entertaining.
Go see it.