High School Rom Com meets Marvel!
In one of the scenes in the movie, Peter Parker tells Mysterio, “ I just hoped that this summer I don’t have to save the world”. This exchange happens in the middle of Venice when Peter after the events of “Avengers-Endgame” is enjoying a long pending vacation with his high school buddies away from the hustle bustle of New York and all the stress which accompanies the life of a superhero. The moment is ironic and the audience empathize with Peter who other than being a superhero is also a teenager!
“Spiderman-Far From Home” is the break which the audience needed after the 3 dozen odd superheroes and the inter galactic mayhem of “Avengers-Endgame” ensued. It’s a teen comedy at its heart and deconstructs the Marvel universe’s superhero. The film is directed by Jon Watts and stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spiderman, Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury, Zendaya as MJ, Jon Faverau as Happy, Marisa Tomei as Aunt May and several actors playing high school buddies and teachers.
The Plot Of “Far From Home”
Peter Parker who has reappeared after the events of “Avengers-Endgame” is getting back to his normal life in New York and is gearing up to go for a high school trip to Europe with his friends and teachers from high school. As they reach Venice in Italy, a large sea shaped monster attacks the country and is attacking this part of the world after it has wreaked havoc in Mexico. Peter is contacted by Nick Fury who asks for his help and is introduced to Mysterio , a friendly and yet mysterious superhero who claims to be a good Samaritan from an alternate dimension of Earth. As SHIELD and Avengers are recuperating from a loss since the last events, they take the help of Mysterio and ask Peter to join hands with him to destroy “The Elementals” who are actually these different shape shifting monsters from another world. From here on both Peter and Mysterio try to fight these negative forces to save Earth.
As Peter travels further he is amplified by Tony Stark’s gadgets and ammunition universe left for him so that he can build his own space as a superhero. Happy guides him and on the way he and Peter both find the love of their lives. On the sidelines, Ned and other friends add a lot to the storyline by consistently dropping in the middle of Peter Parker/Spiderman’s fight with the Elementals and other negative forces. Peter still wants to be secretive about his Spiderman identity and does everything in his power to hide it.
What is Different about “Spiderman” as a superhero?
Peter Parker unlike Thor, Tony Stark and Captain America is a 16 year old high school kid. That itself separates him from the pack. Peter is possibly the most human superhero in the MCU. He is confused after the fact that he has powers and doesn’t know what to do with it. He needs a mentor to help him sort out his life. For better or worse, Tony Stark becomes his mentor and brings his weight as a tech visionary to build his vision for Spiderman. Actually this is where Peter develops a dilemma as to what if he isn’t able to live up to the ideals of Tony? What will happen to his teenage life if he embraces the responsibility of a world saving crusader? Its this emotional catharsis that he encounters in “Far From Home”. He feels that although he is unique and powerful, he hasn’t acquired the maturity/mindset to handle complex and large responsibilities of being a custodian of Tony’s work.
It’s this refreshing perspective which echoes throughout the film. The story is a rom com masquerading as a superhero adventure. In my mind, it’s a bit of both.
Building on the Optics of the MCU
“Far From Home” borrows heavily from “The Avengers” Universe. In one of the climax scenes, a friend of Peter’s picks up a warrior shield to fend off a drone army in a museum. That is clearly an oblique reference to Captain America. In addition, Tony’s gadgetry be it his sunglasses, his cars, his satellites, his planes are all reminiscent of the kind of support given to Peter to save the world.
There are multiple references to the events in earlier MCU films. There is in fact a tribute to the departed avengers in the beginning. All in all, the writers and Marvel Studios are clearly building the next generation of superheroes.
There is also a “major” end of credits revealed which I urge each viewer to see. Please stay till the end of the credits and it will turn your world upside down!
Performances in “Far From Home”
Tom Holland holds the film together. His part superhero/part confused teenager character has a lot of depth to it and it’s a performance which reminds you of the Sam Raimi “Spiderman” which starred Tobey Maguire. Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio is passable and doesn’t play to his potential. Sam Jackson packs a punch with his one liners and Jon Faverau as Happy is enjoyable. Happy is the closest you can get to Tony Stark actually. Zendaya looks attractive and shuns all dumb perceptions about MJ in earlier films. Marisa Tomei has a small yet powerful role.
I will give “Spiderman-Far From Home” an 8 out of 10 as it marries superlative storytelling with the confusing world of Peter Parker very well. At the end you will root for Peter!