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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Spider-Man: Far From Home

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  You know how this goes.  I watch a movie and then I blog about it.  Simple as that.  This time out, I'm doing Spider-Man: Far From Home.  This is originally in my notes at October 6, 2019.

When I first discovered the Internet some 20  years ago, the first words I typed into Lycos (because Google didn't exist yet) were "Spider-Man Movie," as I'd heard whispers on the playground for years.  And that's when I discovered that the movie rights to Spider-Man were tied up in a legal quagmire with no hopes of resolution.  It looked as though a Spider-Man movie would never be made.  But then, at the dawn of the new millennium, a resolution was finally attained, and Spider-Man was to hit theatres in the summer of 2002. 

20 years later, there's now been a total of eight Spider-Man movies (including one animated one) and three films were Spider-Man teams up with the Avengers.  Surely, the mind of Mark of 20 years ago would be blown at this future.  And tonight, I sit down to watch the eighth film, Spider-Man: Far From Home

When last we left our intrepid hero, he'd just been brought back from the dead and helped out in the massive battle against Thanos, where his mentor Tony Stark made the ultimate sacrifice.  After that, it's been a weird year.  As they say in our opening exposition, even though the Blip (what we refer to as "the Snap") happened after everyone had written their finals, they were still forced to take the school year over again.  Not only that, since five years passed, people who weren't blipped are now five years older, leading to some weird age differences.  On top of all that, Spider-Man keeps getting questioned as to whether he'll be "the next Iron Man."  It makes mourning for his fallen mentor that much harder.  But, the class trip to Europe is coming up, and Peter is hoping that this will be a much needed vacation, where he'll finally confess his feelings to MJ. 

But adventure soon comes a callin', as Nick Fury tracks him down at his hotel in Venice.  Turns out the Snap tore open holes in reality, and threats from another dimension have started coming in.  But also, a hero: Quentin Beck, whom the media soon dubs Mysterio.  Nick Fury is enlisting Spidey and Mysterio to battle these other-worldly invaders, whom Back calls "the Elementals."

Not gonna lie...they had me.  I mean, from day one, I was like, "No no no, obviously the Elementals are holographic projects created by Mysterio, and Mysterio is faking this.  I mean, that's his whole schtick in the comics."  But they were selling it so hard in the ad campaign and in the first half of the movie that Mysterio was a hero, that I was falling for it.  But, halfway though the movie, when the charade falls and Mysterio exposits his plan, I thought it was a brilliant way to update the character. 

Turns out Quentin Beck is leading a team of disgruntled Stark employees.  They were the power behind the throne.  Now, with Tony Stark gone and people wondering who the new defenders of the Earth will be, they believe they are the rightful heirs.  So with Mysterio as their public face, they're attempting to set themselves up as Earth's new guardians.  Now, earlier in the film, as a final gift to Peter, Tony gave Peter the controls to EDITH, a global defense system.  This whole scam in the first half of the movie was to get Peter to turn control of EDITH over to Beck.  When the movie it told from Mysterio's point of view, it's The Sting

But, turns out that Beck was fired from Stark Industries when Tony said he was "dangerously unstable."  We see that to be true, as the final step in Beck's plan is to pretty much blow up London to cement his status as a hero. 

Spider-Man eventually catches wind of Beck's true plot, though, when he accidentally hits one of the holographic projectors during a battle with the Elementals.  Spidey goes to tell Nick Fury, but, in one of the film's most truly brilliant and comic-accurate sequences, Mysterio unleashes the full power of his illusions to fully and truly mess with Spidey.  I just love this sequence.  It ends with Mysterio believing he's killed Spider-Man, but Spidey just manages to escape. 

Spidey wakes up in the Netherlands, unsure of what's real and who he can trust.  So he reaches out to Happy Hogan, and with a pep talk from Happy, and some Stark tech to build himself a new suit, Spidey's back in the fight, leading to our final epic brawl on the Tower Bridge. 

This is just a great Spider-Man film.  Tom Holland once again plays it pitch-perfect, as Spidey is still new to the world of superheroes and still approaches everything with an awe-struck wonder.  and Jake Gyllenhall is great as Mysterio, where, once the charade drops, we see him more to be a temperamental director than Earth's mightiest hero. 

And that wonderful, beautiful cameo at the end.  The one thing everyone agreed was pitch-perfect about the early Spider-Man films was J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson.  And bringing him back was just...the most welcome surprise.  And updating the Daily Bugle to be one of these alternative news sites that keep cropping up these days was just a perfect way to bring things into the modern age, and make Jameson's bluster and outrage all the more believable. 

Spider-Man: Far From Home was just a great Spider-Man movie.  It looked for a while there as though Spider-Man would go back into another legal quagmire, as Sony and Marvel couldn't hash out a deal for Marvel to make more Spider-Man films.  But as I write this, a new deal has been hammed out, so we'll get at least one more movie to bring the "something something Home" trilogy to an end.  And I can hardly wait.

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