Spider-Man: Far From Home is the second movie following the newest Peter Parker, played by Tom Holland. The film follows Parker as he tries to ditch his secret life and enjoy a vacation with his classmates abroad. It’s also the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe set after Avengers: Endgame, giving us a peek at the state of the world post-Thanos. Finally, it’s a movie where Jake Gyllenaal wears a giant fishbowl helmet, which we’ve all been waiting years to see.
Is it too much? Just enough? Joshua Rivera and Paul Tamayo sat down to talk about the latest adventure from Queens’ most famous superhero.
Joshua Rivera: Alright, time to get this started:
Guess what movie I saw, Paul.
Paul Tamayo: Was it the superhero flick? You know the one.
Joshua: With the guy. Night Monkey?
Paul: Ah yes. The friendly neighborhood Night Monkey.
OK, let’s cut to the chase. I loved it. What did you think?
Joshua: I had a great time, but it kind of bummed me out a little bit. Before we get to that though, let’s start at the top: How did you like the Spidey EuroTrip setup?
Paul: I think that’s kind of what I appreciated most about Far From Home. It sets up a pretty dumb excuse to get Peter out of New York, and like most first-time-out-of-the-country trips for a lot of people, lets him do a lot of growing up. I mean, minus the falling ferris wheels and drone strikes. It felt like a wacky cartoon special, which is something I’ve been missing from these MCU movies. It reminded me of Thor: Ragnarok or even DC’s latest Shazam! What about you?
Joshua: Yeah, I loved everything about the kids-on-a-field-trip vibe, especially because the movie really takes all those big teen feelings the first movie nailed so well and uses the new setting to amp them up in fun ways. You’re out of the country! Your crush is there! But so is your bully! It is both the most thrilling thing you can imagine at 16 but also full of potential mishaps that will make you want to fake your death and never come back.
Paul: It reminded me of those orchestra trips out of state or the first time building up the nerve to talk to your crush. The way the movie nails Peter’s life both behind the mask and when he’s trying to plan the perfect way to reveal his feelings to MJ is so heartwarming. It’s a coming-of-age flick about a kid trying to deal with the responsibility of being Spider-Man but also wanting a regular teenage life. It’s everything I love about that character. And this movie does a good job of grappling with the consequences of Endgame, but lets him be free to do his own thing.
Joshua: This is the thing that bummed me out most about this movie. It’s so good at the coming-of-age stuff that I really, really resent how much MCU is in it. Some of it is fine: Tony Stark meant a lot to Peter, so it makes sense that he’d be really feeling that loss and a bit adrift as a superhero. But there are loads of other ties to the wider MCU here, and while some are kind of genius, others just really started to add up and drag for me. Let’s start with one that I liked: What did you think of Mysterio? Did you know his deal from comic books?
Paul: I get why Peter would be devastated after the events of Endgame, but I’m so over that phase of the MCU that I want to move on already. I do appreciate how they leapfrog over things by conveniently giving him the keys to the kingdom and even that post-credits scene, but yeah I didn’t need Mysterio to be connected to Stark Industries. I’m not as familiar with the comics though, so if that’s canon or whatever, then sure. But it is a little too convenient, even for my Fast & Furious-loving level of suspension of disbelief.
I’m sure they could have given Mysterio a bit of an original origin that didn’t involve clever cut-aways or d-level characters that they call back to. Remember that one dude Jeff Bridges yelled at? HE’S BACK, BABY.
Joshua: Yeah, that was a little too cute, even as someone who also loves all things Fast & Furious.
Comic book Mysterio is a disgruntled special effects guru who worked in movies and also has a story where he uses his mastery of illusion to paint himself as a hero, before he’s outed as a fraud by Spider-Man. Making him a Stark guy is a smart rework, but the movie makes everything about him waaaayyy too complicated. Lying about alternate Earths? Making up entire mythological creatures? Staging giant fights using an army of drone projectors? Too much!
Jakey G, though? He’s perfect.
Paul: Jake smashed it. I thought he did a great job of being that doofy friend but also maniac tech bro. It’s very much his lane.
What did you think of the action?
Joshua: It’s way better this time around! Every sequence was fun as hell, although it’s a little bit of a bummer that the last fight is just “drones.” But we should talk about that big illusion fight in the middle of the movie.
Paul: I didn’t think a Spider-Man movie could deliver after the absolute delicious spectacle that was Into the Spider-Verse, but that gave me hope again. Those Stranger Things-style voids where Peter has to overcome his own inner demons and self doubt by using that good old Peter Tingle™. My eyes were tearing up from the pure joy of seeing it all or because I straight up didn’t blink for that entire scene.
Joshua: It was perfect. Genuinely creepy and colorful comic book stuff that you can’t look away from, but also deeply rooted in Peter’s feelings. I wanted to see Peter dealing with this kind of stuff throughout the movie, but unfortunately all those MCU ties kept getting in the way.
One more thing before we jump to talking about the end: I hate those damn glasses. Like not how they look (they’re ridiculous) but everything else about them. Why are they there? Why did Tony Stark give the keys to the Death Star to a kid? Why does Tony Stark HAVE a Death Star??
Paul: We’re just going to gloss over the fact that Tony Stark created the WILD invasion of privacy Death Star. That just can’t be legal, fam. But yeah, it was a real silly way to embody the idea of Peter’s need to find a new mentor. Also, he could just rock them again and say “Ok, I’m back”??? What kind of security is this, Stark?
Joshua: That was way too easy! But the movie makes up for it with this wild, ridiculously fun ending that...doesn’t actually happen until mid-credits! I get it, this is how these movies work, but really it’s kind of insane they just have J.K. Simmons return as J. Jonah Jameson and completely out Peter as Spider-Man after some credits.
Paul: I love that J.K. Simmons is back reprising that role. Again, I just love how they seem to be zooming through story arcs here. Like yup, MJ knows, now everybody knows. Let’s get on with it. This injected new life into my interest in these movies, and I honestly didn’t see that coming, which is why Spider-Man is the perfect character to ground the new “phase” around, in my opinion.
We have that earned father-figure loss this time around, but we also have this newfound confidence of a teenager securing his footing and still finding huge battles ahead. It’s great.
Joshua: Definitely. It’s a hell of a mic drop that throws Peter’s world upside down just as soon as he’s starting to figure out his place in it, one that’s bound to be extremely entertaining (and different!) given how good and fun his supporting cast is. Ned and Betty! Flash and MJ! Aunt May and....Happy, I guess. He’s fine. Oh! And Martin Starr and JB Smoove! Heroes, each of them.
Man, I’m so jazzed for another Spidey movie.
Paul: It’s nice to finally see Spidey in a new and exciting light. Not that excited to start another 80-movie phase though, but if Spidey’s in it, I’m contractually obligated as a fellow Queens native.
Also, I can’t wait for Miles in the MCU. In due time.
Joshua: Let’s hear it for Queens!