Written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers
Directed by Jon Watts
Starring Tom Holland, Zendaya and Jon Favreau
MPAA rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments
Running time: 2 hours and 9 minutes
by Rosalie Kicks, Old Sport and Benjamin Leonard, Best Boy
“Does anyone have any neighborhood questions?” - Spider-Man
Best Boy (BB): As a general rule, I’ve never really been a fan of the Spider-Men (Into the Spider-Verse excluded). For the most part, they’ve been portrayed as whiney, mopey teens that I just couldn’t get behind. To quote Rocket, “I don’t care if it’s mean, everyone’s got dead people!” And I never got into the Avengers as comics OR movies. So when I was at my peak of traveling for work, I gave a chance to a lot of movie I wouldn’t normally have bothered with. One of those was Spider-Man: Homecoming and I ended up really enjoying it. This Holland kid was great at playing up his awe of working with the Avengers and leaning into the awkward teen angle rather than the mopey side. I liked it so much that I bought it right when it came out and forced Kicks to watch it shortly thereafter.
Old Sport (OS): Similarly to BB, a fan of Spider-Man I was not. I completely skipped over the Garfield years after having my time wasted with the Maguire renditions. Sorry (not sorry as the kids say), they are bad. Hey! We all have our guilty pleasures, but those Maguire flicks ain’t mine. Remember this? Yea, life can be really bad sometimes.
I had nothing but eyerolls when I saw the Holland kid’s trailer before one of the other Marvel movies I was watching. It had Ironman in it too, which completely sealed the deal… NO - I was not seeing this. Ironman evokes so many audible sighs from me. This dude reminds me of our great companies here in the US of A- arrogant, egotistical, pompous, rude, basically a narcissistic a-hole. Anddddddddd for some reason, people worship this dude and find him entertaining. Nah. (sidenote/RANT: I still have many issues with this guy saving the world in Endgame. Captain Marvel could have easily put that glove on and not died - butttt Ironman would rather die than see a woman succeed. AWESOME!)
So. BB was singing the praises of Spider-Man: Homecoming for weeks prior to it making its way into the Leonard Film Library. I’ll admit, I was resistant. Too many scars from those previous viewings and I was fearful of being caught in the web once more. Then it happened. I fell under Tommy Holland’s spell.
Picture it! After a rough week at the office, BB and I snuggle up on the couch pining for something to view, but are way too lazy to go to the basement where over a thousand plus movies are. Sooooo lo and behold we end up scanning our VUDU account (sidenote/RANT: VUDU is extremely evil and steals your movies. They take from you while you sleep. One day you have the movie, the next day *poof* it’s gone. They will deny knowledge. Trust no one. BUY PHYSICAL MEDIA). Before I could fill the room with excuses and enter a discussion with BB regarding my utter hatred of the Maguires and lack of care for the Garfields, he clicked the Spidey Homecoming poster and guess what… I fell head over heels for that spidey kid.
I. Loved. This. Flick.
BB: Since Homecoming, I’ve watched the last two Avengers films and I’ve gotten a better feel for “The Universe” but, really, I still only care about Thor, the Guardians, Black Panther and, now, Spider-Man. But Spidey’s place in my heart was tennous. Was I going to like Far from Home as much as Homecoming? The short answer is no. Not that I didn’t enjoy FfH, but it just didn’t have the same amount of goofy fun as the previous film. This one just got down to the business of being a superhero movie a bit quicker and less time being about a goofy, awkward kid.
OS: I completely agree with BB here. I too love the same gang of characters he mentioned above. I wanted to love Captain Marvel, and wellll, I didn’t hate her but she didn’t leave me wanting more. I don’t blame Brie.
However, when it comes to sequels… sequels often will become slugs. Especially when you come off a killer first flick - the second installment often will slow everything down. The cast has already caught us in the web and they don’t need to impress us like they did when we first met. As BB said, in this new rendition of Spidey, the awkward kooky kid may not be as present, but he is still there in some regard. He’s different though. Now he is someone who has had to deal with, life stuff: depression, grief, loss and ya know teen stuff.
There are many moments during the European field trip, that Peter Parker, is facing the realization that his childhood is slipping away. He is conflicted and wants a vacation. As much as he enjoys being the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, he doesn’t want this to be a traveling road show. He would rather experience the simpler things, like taking his crush MJ for a milkshake. He is having a battle with himself and suffering from the pressures of the job. Some of this plays out for longer than needed, but in the end I still found myself having a great time at the movies.
Spidey (or as he is known on the streets of Prague, “Night Monkey”) is an extremely charismatic dude that is reminiscent of everyone’s favorite time traveller, Marty McFly. This kid has moxie and no matter who he is on screen with, everyone shines… he has that “IT” factor. Spider-Man Homecoming accomplished what it was meant to do: get audiences to give a damn about Spidey again and this was masterfully done by Holland. In Far From Home he already knows we are hooked and he may not be trying as hard, but here’s the thing… he is still terrific!
BB: The returning cast all turned in good performances (except maybe Martin Starr, who was just kinda ho-hum this time around) and had nice additions from J.B. Smoove and Jake Gyllenhall with Betty’s role being expanded a bit more which allowed for some fun interplay between Angourie Rice and Jacob Batalon (Ned). Gyllenhall played the role excellently, charismatic and engaging without stepping on the toes of the stars of the series. Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury balanced the ferocity with the funny.
OS: Jake definitely seemed to be toned down, which in my opinion was fine. I enjoy seeing him getting all madcap, like his performance in Okja, but I really don’t need that every time. Wild people need to be tamed after all and the director, Jon Watts seems to know how to point in just right the way to keep those actors in line. Jake’s version of Mysterio could have easily ended up over the top and insufferable, but instead lands with just the right amount of brashness. This is a villain that you end up feeling for. What I love about the Spidey world, is that the villains are REAL people, people that have been harmed by the corporate egomaniac overlords and now want to stick it to the man… the man, being represented here by Tony Stark. This was a similar motivation for Vulture (Michael Keaton) in Spider-Man Homecoming and is probably something many of us can relate to.
Listen, I know Spidey has a fondness for this Stark chap, but I think these villains are onto something- they got me pondering who the actual villains in the Marvel Universe are? Not all of Thanos’ ideas were bad… think about it.
Regardless of Spidey’s Stark admiration, there are so many things that I like about these movies, that I am seriously questioning whether or not my body has not been taken over by an alien creature. Until the Guardians walked into my life, I really did not have much concern for superheroes. Then Thor: Ragnarok knocked at my door and I was like OK, you can come in too, if you are bringing that Korg fellow with you and now Spidey. With Spidey though, it truly is the cast that makes everything, wellll... stick together. I knew the movie was doing something right, when it had me finding Happy (Jon Favreau) charming. And I’d put money down, that Jon Watts is a fan of one of my favorite dead guys, Buster Keaton by the look of some of those action sequences (i.e. when Peter keeps hitting his head on the bell… you’ll find out).
One of the biggest surprises for me though is actually giving a damn about whether MJ and Peter would end up together. Next to Peter though, MJ is probably my favorite character. She’s smart, loves true crime, has a hip style and a dry sense of humor which I can appreciate. OK. Maybe, I have a crush on these kids, and maybe that is weird… but it is more like a fondness that a proud Aunt would have. I can’t wait to see what these kids are gonna accomplish!
Alright, so maybe BB and I didn’t give ya enough scoop on the latest rendition or maybe we did. Either way, with lines like “Let me help - I am really sticky!” and “Is it the Peter Tingle?”, nobody is taking themselves seriously and this makes for an entertaining flick. Now excuse me, I have to go add this movie to my letterboxd list: Carnivals, Amusement Parks and Cotton Candy