Yes, it’s another film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe come to entice us to drop our money at the box office. Thankfully, audiences get a break from the darkness the last two Avengers films have doled out. “Spider-Man: Far From Home” delivers more light-hearted fare as Peter Parker, a.k.a., Spider-Man (Tom Holland) takes a break from ‘superheroing’ to go on a class trip to Europe with his friends.
Anyone who dissolved with the snap of Thanos’s fingers in “Infinity War” came back the same age while those who didn’t aged five years. Well, Peter’s back and still grieving the loss of his mentor, Tony Stark/Iron Man. Right now, all Peter wants is to reconnect with MJ (Zendaya). His plan is to tell her how he feels while they’re in Europe.
Scenes on the flight conjure up lots of smiles as Peter tries to manipulate the seat assignments so he can travel next to MJ but Brad (Remy Hii), who has aged into a dashing young adult during The Blip foils him at every turn.
Enter Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) who hijack Peter’s vacation enlisting Spider-Man’s (in a black suit this time so he doesn’t give up his identity to his peers) help to stop the Elementals – weird fire, water, and air creatures who are beginning to wreak havoc on unsuspecting cities. When the water Elemental attacks Venice while Peter and his classmates are there, Spider-Man does his best to defeat it but only with the help of a new hero, Quentin Beck, a.k.a. “Mysterio,” (Jake Gyllenhaal) is the Elemental taken down.
This is only the beginning of Peter’s troubles, however. Tony has left Peter a pair of his signature spectacles containing Edith, an AI with access to all Tony’s technology. When Peter doesn’t feel like he’s ready to take on what he thinks Tony would want, he decides to put his Spidey efforts on hiatus so he can just be a normal teenager. I bet you can just imagine how long that lasts, right?
Tom Holland, once again excels as Peter Parker/Spider Man. He manages to bring just the right mixture of innocence, charm, and uncertainty to the character of Spider-Man. Peter’s best bud, Ned (Jacob Batalon) and his airplane romance supplies much of the film’s humor. Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio joins the MCU as a worthy villain.
The Spidey that inhabits “Far From Home” is one that many young people (or not-so-young people) today can identify with. So many times other people see potential in us that we can’t see in ourselves. Too often it’s too easy to see only our weaknesses to the point of not being able to acknowledge our talents and strengths. Low self-esteem or a sense of unworthiness can plague us and keep us from developing the light that lives within us but when we can draw on our potential in humility and service to others, as Peter Parker learns, great things can happen.
About the Author
Sister Hosea Rupprecht is a member of the Daughters of St. Paul, a religious community dedicated to evangelization with the media. She holds a Master of Theological Studies degree from the University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto and an MA in Media Literacy from Webster University in St. Louis.
Sr. Hosea is director of the East Coast office of the Pauline Center for Media Studies, based in Staten Island, NY, and speaks on media literacy and faith to catechists, parents, youth, and young adults. Together with Father Chip Hines, she is the co-host of Searchlight, a Catholic movie review show on Catholic TV. Sr. Hosea is the author of How to Watch Movies with Kids: A Values-Based Strategy, released by Pauline Books & Media.
For the past 15 years, she has facilitated various film dialogues for both children and adults, as well as given presentations on integrating culture, faith and media.