Tom Holland is in my estimation a great Spiderman, he has a boyish charm that lends the character much sympathy. It is easy to connect with him and understand the problems of being a superhero at such a young age. These is not something that is really addressed in original Peter Parker story telling. This stems from the latest Marvel offerings placing Peter as a high school kid which is a fun way to explore the character even if Tom Holland is 23 years old and obviously a mature grown up physically, this perhaps the one thing that detracts, he is believable as a 18-20 year old but 16 is a push.
Spiderman’s latest film, Far from Home is what we would expect from a Marvel film. It is clean and slick, it balances pathos, drama, and humour, deftly producing a very enjoyable and watchable film. The cast work well together Jake Gyllenhaal, an actor I find usually so-so was strong and bounced well of Tom Holland.
The film helped ease us over the post Avengers crisis and took us along with Peter as he struggled to continue with out Tony Stark. It jumped feet first into the conundrum of when should a superhero graduate to the big stage. Jon Faverau’s ‘Happy’ is always a joy to see and it great to see more character development from him.
On the downside Nick Fury and Hill were underused ending the film as little more than plot bait. I would have liked to see them doing more, perhaps finding and catching the rest of Mysterios crew once he was revealed. Another plot hole for me was the absence of the rest of Agents of Shield. The film made it quite clear that there was no one available to help. I have never understood why the Marvel series and the films do not tie together more.
The action scenes were awe inspiring although some of the illusion sequences were a bit dizzying and it was hard to believe all that damage was being done by projectors and cloaked drones, but the principle was interesting. Humour was handled well both overtly and subtly with generous nods to teen movie clichés. MJ stood out as a strong lead and despite her dark personality it never felt out of place. Ned is a solid wingman for Peter and more than just a foil for him, he genuinely cares for his friend and will do whatever he can to help.
One of the best scenes was in the bar with Mysterio and Spiderman, Jake and Tom seemed so at ease with each other and it was touching to see the fake respect Mysterio held for him. It felt that here was someone who wouldn’t talk down to Peter like Stark did, someone who empathised with him about the balance between youth and responsibility. Is it right for a superhero ever to just want a normal life? Sadly this connection is all part of the plot and Tom is left out in the cold again. He has the help of Happy, yes and Nick Fury has him on his radar but neither are the role model Tom needs, the support he need, perhaps this is where MJ comes in.
With all the furore over future Spiderman films it is clear that there is still mileage in this Spiderman and this actor portraying him. A third film would make a nice trilogy, we could perhaps skip a few years down the line to college and really see Peter Parker as a part time photo journalist and struggling with that moment when child becomes man and he must ultimately decide whether Spiderman is truly the direction he wants for himself.