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Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Streaming Superheroes: Spider-Man - Far from Home (2019)


Released on Sky Cinema this past weekend, Spider-Man: Far From Home sees Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his classmates coping with the new normal, in the wake of The Thanos Snap (from Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame) - now referred to as The Blip.

Conveniently, all of Peter's supporting cast (from Homecoming) got blipped and so are still all the same age and able to convincingly continue their escapades in the shadow of Spider-Man.

On a school trip to Europe, Peter's class encounters an elemental water monster in Venice, and Peter finds the trip hijacked by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) so Spider-Man can join his team fighting these creatures from another dimension.

Also on the team is Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) aka Mysterio, who claims to be a warrior from the same alternate Earth that was the birthplace of these elemental monsters.

Beck takes Parker under his wing, and the two then fight another monster in Prague.

However, in the wake of this clash, Peter begins to get suspicious of his new superpowered friend.

Spider-Man: Far From Home does a decent job of "explaining" the state of the world post-Blip, but this massive, reality-altering event still doesn't sit comfortably with me, as I can't help but be reminded of the existential dread depicted in The Leftovers and wonder how the people of Marvel-Earth (aka Earth 616) seem to be handling it so well.

Then it moves on to the fun part of the story. This is very much an epilogue to the vast, first story arc of Marvel Cinematic Universe canon, addressing the end of an era and the legacy of those left to pick up the gauntlet.

As befits a Spider-Man story, romantic sub-plots play a big role in Far From Home, with Ned (Jacob Batalon) and Betty's (Angourie Rice) holiday romance providing a comedic counterpoint to Peter's awkward attempts to tell MJ (Zendaya) how he feels about her.

The cinematic depiction of MJ, as a geeky goth, is a vivid reminder of how different the lives of these characters are to those shown in the source material, and while I initially baulked at this iteration of MJ, Zendaya's charm is irresistible and she won me round in Far From Home.

There's also an unavoidable political subtext about the whole idea of fake news in this story, which ties in directly to an important development at the end of the film.

As is often the case with Marvel movies, it turns out that the real pivotal scenes are those contained within the credits.

The mid-credit sequence totally upends Peter Parker's status quo - again - and introduces us to J.K. Simmons returning as J. Jonah Jameson (now hosting an online news site, TheDailyBugle.Net), while the post-credit scene manages to rewrite much of what we've just watched while laying the groundwork for the next possible major story arc.

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