MOVIE BUFF-ET: Latest Spidey film perfectly captures essence of the character

Sony Pictures

One thing Marvel Studios gets better than any other studio that adapts intellectual properties into motion pictures is the essence of the those characters.

Nowhere is this more clear than in Marvel’s most recent film starring everyone’s favorite wall-crawler. Though “Spider-Man: Far From Home” doesn’t outright adapt any one comic-book story, the film certainly does capture the heart and soul of Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man. If Tom Holland (Parker/Spider-Man) hadn’t already convinced film-goers that his portrayal of Spidey is the best ever captured on film, this movie might just do it.

Spider-Man, of course, is the super-hero everyman, created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko as the hero with truly spectacular powers that just can’t catch a break. He’s the guy being pulled in three different directions at once who possesses the heart and conscious that won’t let him make a selfish move. When he does do something for himself, it usually blows up in his face, only making matters worse.

That’s the Spider-Man director Jon Watts capably delivers in the 23rd film of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU). The movie does a fine job of explaining the convoluted background between this and the last Spidey film “Homecoming” from 2017, but it will certainly help viewers if they have seen “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers Endgame” before this film, which acts as a coda to them.

“Far From Home” details how Spidey is called upon to deal with the ramifications of sacrifices made in those films as well as help with the Avengers-level threats of gigantic elemental monsters plaguing cities around the world when all Peter wants to do is spend some vacation time with his crush MJ (Zendaya) on a school trip to Europe.

Pulled into battle with those elemental monsters by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Spider-Man meets Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) a mysterious super-hero with fantastic powers, who claims to hail from the same dimension the giant elementals are from. They destroyed his world, but with the help of Spider-Man, he hopes to stop them from doing the same to the Web-swinger’s Earth.

The film does an exceptional job of balancing the mundane with the fantastic as well as the push and pull both have on Parker and his alter-ego. Holland is great in the role, and gets excellent support from Zendaya and Jacob Batalon as his best buddy Ned.

Jones can play Fury in his sleep by now, and Gyllenhaal shines as the hero who is both more and less than what he seems.

The special effects are fantastic, particularly when depicting the deadly illusions cast by the villains that throw Spider-Man and the audience for a loop.

My greatest criticism of the movie is that sometimes it tries a bit too hard to be funny instead of just relying on the natural humor that plays out organically with the characters. Overall the film is another fun and impressive effort by Marvel and Sony studios.

The movie has a mid-credit and an end-credit scene that stand to be important for the MCU as it moves forward. The mid-credit scene actually is the true ending of the film, and it perfectly captures the flavor of Spider-Man comics at their best. The end-credit scene might just be a fun goof, or it could be a plot point that will pay off in future movies.

(PG-13) 2 hr. 10 min.
Grade: B

New In Local Movie Theaters

  • Spider-Man: Far From Home(PG-13) 2 hr. 10 min. (watch trailer)
  • Playing at: AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Springdale, Malco Rogers Towne, Malco Pinnacle Hills, Bentonville Skylight

  • Midsommar(R) 2 hr. 27 min. (watch trailer)
  • Playing at: AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle Hills

  • Pavarotti(PG-13) 1 hr. 54 min. (watch trailer)
  • Playing at: Malco Razorback