I’ve Got A “Peter Tingle” About This Movie

Note: at TFCon, the booth beside us was selling movie posters.  When he covered everything at the end of the day, we looked over and saw Spider-Man peeking out at us from behind the blanket.  It was just too hilarious and I had to get a pic 😛

My feelings about Spider-Man are mixed.  I’ve never really been a fan of the comics, I’ve loosely enjoyed some of the tv shows and video games, and I mostly enjoy the movies.  I know that I have always loved the villains in Spider-Man, and as I realized when I saw Into The Spider-Verse that although I’m not a huge fan of Peter Parker, I do kind of like the other Spider-Mans.  So I’ve never really felt the burning desire to see any Spider-Man films immediately when they come to theatres.  I saw all of the Toby Maguire films in theatres simply because when they came out, superhero films were not as common then; so it was a more unique movie-going experience.  I skipped the Andrew Garfield films entirely when they came out because I realized that I did not like Spider-Man, but I have since watched them on Netflix.  Homecoming was also a Netflix watch for me because, although I enjoyed Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in Civil War, I’m still not a fan of Spider-Man. But between enjoying Into to the Spider-Verse in theatres, and mostly enjoying the Spider-Man films I watched on Netflix, I figured I would probably enjoy Far From Home if I went and saw it in theatres. Warning: there may be spoilers ahead.

Compared to the other cinematic incarnations of Spider-Man, Tom Holland’s take on Peter Parker is much more enjoyable for a number of reasons. Most importantly, he delivers a much more upbeat Peter Parker; he doesn’t mope around quite like the others before him.  His attitude is much more youthful and positive, and it just makes the character that much more enjoyable to watch.  The only downside to this is that, like some previous MCU films, there is a bit too much silliness and bathos distracting from some of the serious moments.  He is also easier to get interested in because there is no screen-time wasted on his origin story.  Back before mainstream media was this over-saturated with superhero movies, an origin story would have been an easy way to introduce comic fans and non-comic fans to the situations and characters on screen.  But now, origin stories are overdone, and we all know how Spider-Man got his powers.  I find that the lack of a cinematic origin story for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man helps to keep things fresh.

But there were other elements of this film that really made it stand apart from the other Spider-Man films to come before it.  This is largely because of Endgame.  Far From Home is the first MCU film to occur after Endgame, so this film comes across as more of an Avengers-style movie rather than a Spider-Man movie.  This new film has to address what we’ve just experienced in the previous MCU film, while still sharing Spider-Man’s story.  The plot essentially revolves around Peter Parker walking the line between staying a “Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man” and becoming an Avenger.  Because of this, the action takes place on a grander scale as the “neighbourhood” is no longer enough to contain a story about Spider-Man.  As Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) realizes, after the “blip” of Endgame, people will only take a superhero seriously if he faces an Avengers-level threat.  The same applies to Spider-Man. After watching him in Infinity War and Endgame would we really be able to accept it if he simply went back to fighting local crime in New York?

And since Spider-Man is essentially a stand-in for the Avengers in this movie – especially given the fact he is being set up as Iron Man’s potential replacement – there seems to have been a lot of effort to make Spider-Man less like Spider-Man.  Visually, Peter Parker was made to look like a young Tony Stark in some scenes (and the use of AC/DC’s “Back in Black” helped call to mind audiences’ first introduction to Iron Man).  And the constant costume changes and “Night Monkey” suit kept us from seeing the “real” Spider-Man.  Peter Parker spends the whole movie unsure of who he is and what he should do; is he an Avenger, or a Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man?  We are only able to see what kind of Spider-Man he will be when he designs his own suit and then gets his Spider Senses/Peter Tingle back; he discovers who he is in this post-Endgame world, which is what gives him the strength to defeat Mysterio.  Even the music leaves us guessing about whether he will end up being more “Spider-Man” or more “Avenger”.  Although some of the notes used definitely called to mind the classic Spider-Man theme, it was the Avengers theme music that was predominantly incorporated into the film score.

Since Spider-Man needs to face an Avengers-level threat, the villain was also very different from the previous Spider-Man films.  Given that the action in the previous films happens on a “smaller” scale in New York city, the villain is always portrayed as more of a “common man”.  It has almost always been someone that Peter Parker knows, someone from his “neighbourhood”, so it becomes more personal.  And the creation of the villains always seems to involve two main components: loss and lab accidents.  After the potential villain experiences a personal/traumatic loss of some kind, they become involved in a lab accident.  They don’t even become the villain right away. Typically, it is the physical change brought on by the lab accident that skews their perception of their loss; this causes them to turn towards evil as a way to correct what they perceive is wrong with the world.  Mysterio is very different from these previous villains as his loss is mainly humiliation, which causes him to want to seek revenge.  And he does not care who gets hurt along the way.  He is, essentially, evil right from the start.  Although he is an outsider, someone who Peter does not know from his “neighbourhood”, he does make an effort to get close to Peter before his intentions are revealed.  So there is, at least, an attempt to create that more personal relationship between Spider-Man and his adversary; it is simply done on an Avengers-level scale.

Spoilers Ahead – My thoughts on the post-credit scenes:

Post credits scene one: I am dead serious, but about two thirds of the way through the movie I was actually starting to wonder if we would ever see J. Jonah Jameson return to a Spider-Man film.  And I wondered who Marvel would possibly cast, or if they would ever consider getting J. K. Simmons to reprise the role.  So imagine my delight when I saw that first post credits scene.  This actually excited me more than when Mysterio revealed Spider-Man’s true identity.  Although I am curious to see how this revelation will influence future MCU films.

Post credits scene two: I absolutely love the Skrull and I thought their addition into the film was just pure fun.  And I caught at least one hint about their presence during the film, so I am interested in watching the movie again to see if there are even more hints.  And does this mean we will be seeing more Skrull in future MCU films?


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