In 2002, Sam Raimi brought everyone’s favorite superhero to the big screen for the first time, with Tobey Maguire playing the titular role in the film “Spider-Man.” Raimi would make two more movies to complete his trilogy in 2007, and many fans thought that Tobey Maguire’s portrayal of Peter Parker could never be outdone. Fast forward 5 years and Marc Webb had the helm of the Spider-Man onscreen power, adding two more movies to the hero’s filmography with Andrew Garfield playing Peter. It was with these two installments that fans began to debate which actor portrayed the role better: Maguire or Garfield. But with the recent rise of the MCU, the role has been newly claimed by Tom Holland, who was first introduced in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War.” Holland received his first solo film only a year later with “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which added his name into the mix of the ongoing debate regarding who the best live-action Spider-Man is. After watching 2019’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” I can confidently say who my personal favorite Spider-Man is.
“Spider-Man: Far From Home” takes place 8 months after the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” and gives audiences a first glimpse into the aftermath of half of all life being brought back. This is referred to as “The Blip,” which is the name given for the 5-year absence of half of all living things, who were originally snapped away by Thanos and later snapped back to life by the Avengers. As the world adjusts to the reappearance of half of humanity, Peter Parker adjusts to a world without his role model, Tony Stark. With a void left by the death of Iron Man, people now look to Spider-Man to step up and fill his shoes. Peter instead looks forward to the opportunity of taking a break from his superhero duties when he and some of his classmates take a summer trip to Europe. He hopes that in Europe he can finally confess his love for MJ and try to live a normal teenage life for the first time. However, his plans for an ordinary vacation are derailed when Nick Fury tries to recruit him to help a new character, Mysterio, defeat a group of monstrous creatures known as the Elementals. Facing the challenges of juggling his romantic life with his hidden superhero responsibilities, Peter must figure out which he has to prioritize and at what cost.
“Spider-Man: Far From Home” premiered July 2nd and became the largest Tuesday night opening for a film in history, for good reason. Simply put I really liked this movie. It shows that the MCU is not slowing down, as so many people thought it would after “Avengers: Endgame.” Instead, this movie eludes to a bright future for a new generation of heroes and stories in the years to come. What I enjoyed so much about this film was its unique blend of so many different genres. “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is part comedy, part adventure, part superhero movie, part teen-romance. This movie really has it all and doesn’t disappoint on any level; it so perfectly balances both sides of the character, allowing for the movie to give a great mix of the everyday teenage angst of Peter Parker, which is contrasted by the high stakes obligations of Spider-Man. Set against the backdrop of Europe, this movie also provides fresh locations which allow for new ground to be broken in fun and exciting settings.
Tom Holland reprises his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and once again flawlessly captures the essence of both sides of the character. Zendaya plays MJ, Peter’s classmate and crush, and her character has a much bigger role than in the first film. Zendaya’s charmingly awkward performance complements Tom Holland’s, which provides really sweet on-screen chemistry between the two. Jake Gyllenhaal plays the film’s new character Quentin Beck/Mysterio, and his acting range is showcased in full-effect here. In my opinion, this very well might be one of the greatest new characters the MCU has ever introduced. The supporting cast is rounded out by Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jacob Batalon. Batalon as Ned, Peter’s best friend, was easily the biggest scene-stealer in the movie, as almost every time he was involved in a scene, laughs were sure to follow.
In regards to my favorite portrayal of Spider-Man: after watching “Spider-Man: Far From Home” I can now easily say that it is Tom Holland. Holland has made appearances in 5 MCU movies as Spider-Man, and in each he has proven he can encapsulate the nerdy/teenage side of Peter while also his ability to play the hero trying his best to fulfill the role as a protector of the people. The scripts, the direction, and his co-stars definitely help to make his portrayal even better; the environment the MCU has provided for him has let him rise to the occasion of the role of Spider-Man time and time again. Holland reminds us what Spider-Man is really supposed to be, just a regular kid from Queens who happens to have extraordinary abilities.
In what has been a surprisingly slow start to the summer movie season, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” really picks up the slack and provides the fun-seasonal story that has been needed to fill movie theater seats. For fans of the MCU and Spider-Man specifically, you are in for a treat. From the introduction of new Spidey suits to new villains, there is so much fresh material. The entire plot was a ride of enjoyment, and the end-credit scenes left me and the rest of the audience with our jaws dropped. This movie also has incredible visuals, particularly a 5-minute Hitchcockian-esque dreamlike sequence that helps to further distinguish it from so many other superhero flicks. Throughout the entire movie a smile did not leave my face; all the jokes landed, the action was fantastic and easy to follow, and the twists were shocking. This movie really is a great time and is a fun way to spend a day at your local cinema with friends or family. Be sure to catch your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man in theaters, because this one you won’t want to miss!
Cover Photo: IMDB