By Dan Pavelich
I’ll just start this by admitting that I’m a big fan of the Marvel Universe. Marvel gets so many things right that D.C. keeps getting wrong.
Marvel superheroes are mostly played by actors that you like even before they step into costume. With the exception of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, D.C. has missed the mark in casting actors you’re rooting for from the get-go. Cavill has been wooden as Superman, and Bale and Affleck have occupied Batman’s cowl with both gruffness and disinterest, respectively.
The Marvel movies have always been impeccable at transferring the bright colorfulness of the physical comics to the big screen. They are always, without fail, beautiful and impressive to take in. D.C. on the other hand, seems to be intent on having their heroes inhabit a world so dark and murky that you couldn’t be faulted for yelling “Contrast!” to the projectionist.
Tom Holland’s Spider-Man lives in a world full of color, and his latest outing as the webbed crime fighter is his finest. Marvel has always strived to make each movie able to stand on its own, and “Far From Home” does not deviate from that. It’s a pleasantly well-written teen comedy, in which the girls are together and brilliant, and the boys are a mess. It’s also as action-packed as any of the previous films, but with the plot line given more ample room to breathe and develop, without being over-crowded by Avengers.
While on a European vacation with his class and two inept teachers, Peter Parker and his friends undertake a trip that many of us have taken. Whether to Europe or a state capital, most of us have been on that outing where a world of possibilities leaves our young minds racing. Parker and his pals are not overly-good-looking teen idols, they’re just average kids, like most of us were, and that’s a big part of why we like them and buy into this new adventure.
During the trip, Tony Stark’s assistant Happy shows up to inquire as to why Peter isn’t answering the phone when Nick Fury repeatedly calls. While Peter is torn between wanting to get closer to M.J. and being Spider-Man, elemental giants from an alternate reality begin attacking the Earth. A new hero, Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), appears to offer aid, and he and Peter set about saving the world, first, by saving the European cities on Peter’s class trip.
There are a couple of plot twists that I wasn’t expecting, and I appreciated a somewhat slower-paced movie, after “Infinity War” and “Endgame.” Holland has a lot more humanity than his Spidey predecessors, And the rest of the cast is rounded out to near perfection. J.B. Smooth, in particular, is hilarious as the trip chaperone who chalks every strange happening up to a world-wide resurgence in witchcraft. There are also a few small clues as to the future of Spider-Man and the rest of the Avengers.
Although I’ve been entertained by every Marvel Universe film, I haven’t gotten caught up in the fun of one this much since “Captain America.” “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is a real winner, as far as summer blockbusters go. Pass the popcorn, let’s watch it again.