Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: SPIDER-MAN FAR FROM HOME (minor spoiler paragraph on Mysterio)

SPIDER-MAN FAR FROM HOME is the great, fantastic, fun refreshing breather of a Phase 3 epilogue we needed after that really long emotional climax that was Endgame. We are now also 6 for 8 on pretty decent Spider-Man films, 5 of them even being great. This movie was basically a super hero road trip rom-com, and it worked every step of the way. The film does have just a couple of pacing issues at the beginning, but once you hit the mid way point (and you will definitely know when the mid way point hits), it all leads to a fantastic conclusion, one of the most memorable of all the Spider-Man films. Tom Holland is easily the best Peter Parker AND Spider-Man and I hope he keeps the role for years and years to come. I mean, he looks like one of those baby faces like Leo that won’t really show it until he’s in his 40s, am I right? By the way, the minor spoiler paragraph on Mysterio that I mentioned in the title, I will warn you so you can skip that paragraph to be completely spoiler free.

And if you scroll down and look at all my Spider-Man rankings, you might be surprised to see that Spider-Man 2 still ranks at the very top of my list, even though I just said that Tom Holland is the best Spider-Man. He very much is, but Spider-Man 2 is the best and spider-ery(?) Spider-Man film. See, until Tom Holland came along, none of the Spider-Man iterations really got ALL of Spider-Man right. Tobey Maguire I thought was a great Peter Parker, but a very mediocre Spider-Man when the mask was on. Flip that for Andrew Garfield, while he was a great Spider-Man, he wasn’t really that great of a Peter Parker. Tom Holland has both perfectly. He portray’s Peter Parker’s persona and innocence down to a science, and his quips behind the mask are laughter belly ache inducing. I knew it from the moment he showed up in Civil War that his Spider-Man was going to be one for the ages. I just hope that in his third solo outing, they don’t try a pull a Raimi 3.

Because that is what I respect the most out of these new MCU Spider-Man films. Is that they are trying to do something different. We don’t see Peter’s origin story here, MJ is not Mary Jane but an entirely new interesting character who just happens to be named Michelle Johnson. We haven’t had any repeat villains from the old films yet, we are getting brand new ones with more depth than any of Raimi or Webb villains, each having their own little arcs that make the story more well rounded. And a lot of the setting are pretty different. Even though Spider-Man is from Queens/New York, most of the first film takes place more around it than actually in it, not to mention the in the air plane finale. This film takes place is multiple other side of the world locations, hence the Far From Home title. I would like to see a third film where the plot actually stays between the sky scrapers of New York, as seeing him swinging through the buildings were part of the Sam Raimi films’ charm. (you do get to see a very small amount of skyscraper slinging though in this, just not enough for my taste).

Uh, should I even talk about story? It’s kind of hard to seeing as though I have to mention spoilers from Endgame, but you know what? Fuck you if you haven’t seen Endgame and are reading this review. You’ve had plenty of time to see it. Sorry, but in this day and age, it is either release date way or the highway. Anyway, this takes place a very small amount of time after Endgame and Tony Stark’s funeral. Everyone is dealing with the aftermath of everyone on Earth just instantly showing back up again 5 years after they were snapped (although this film has a new term for it, ‘blipped’) out of existence. Those that were part of the blip, even though it is five years later, are still the same age. The filmmakers explain adjusting to the cataclysmic re appearance quite fast, with both sorrow and humor. Just like the beginning of Homecoming, which kind of retold the events of Civil War through Spidey’s eyes/homemade video, we get kind of a recap/update with another video that is both touching and at the same time provides a few laughs.

Anyway, still dealing with losing Tony Stark, he and his classmates go on a school summer vacation through Europe, when Nick Fury hijacks it. Turns out, there are several dangerous Elemental threats to the Earth, with a mysterious new hero named…well, Mysterio (Quentin Beck, played by Jake Gyllenhaul), and they need Spidey to step up and help since a lot of the other Avengers are currently unavailable. Mysterio reveals that he and the big destructive Elementals are from a different dimension, and that there is a multi-verse now because of Hulk’s snap bringing everyone back in Endgame. Peter Parker not only has to deal with this, but he wants to tell MJ that he really likes her and wants to date her on this trip, while also grasping with the fact that the world is kind of looking up to him to possibly be the new leader (new Iron Man per say) of the Avengers.

Far From Home is light, entertaining, and filled with a lot of great humor, so if you are going into this expecting another epic drama like Infinity War or Endgame, you’ve definitely come to the wrong show. This is the dessert after having time to digest all the shit you ate during Endgame, and it’s exactly how it is supposed (and needs) to be. Tom Holland is of course the perfect Spider-Man, Jon Favereau gets the most screen time he’s ever gotten in an MCU film, and Zendaya has a lot more to do as MJ this time around, and her and Tom Holland have fantastic on screen chemistry. Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders reprise Nick Fury and Maria Hill as well, but if you think something might be off about their performances, just wait until the entire thing is finished before you start going off on how they don’t seem like their characters. Now, coming up really quick is the quick spoiler paragraph on Mysterio, because I want to talk about Jake Gyllenhaul’s excellent performance.:

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It seems kind of odd to me that the movie relies on most of its audience not knowing who Mysterio is in the Spider-Man world. Everyone that even half way decently knows Spider-Man and his comic book world should know that Mysterio is one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes. So the marketing to me, trying to portray him as a hero, didn’t elicit too much excitement, because I knew what was probably going on months before release day. So reveal of him being the main bad guy in the film is meant to be a shocking and huge revelation, but since I knew it was coming, you would think the reveal would invoke some boredom out of me, right? Far from it. And it is because of Jake Gyllenhaul’s performance. Before the reveal that not everything is as it seems, his performance was teetering on “phoning it in” for me, but once everything comes to light, it turns out that decision was more of a blessing in disguise. One it is revealed that Mysterio is the main villain, Jake Gyllenhaul goes full Jake Gyllenhaul, and delivers one of the best villain performances in the MCU outside of Thanos, Killmonger, Loki, and Vulture. He absolutely crushed it.

******************end spoiler paragraph*****************************************

Wow, this review has gone on long enough, so let me wrap it up. Aside from a couple of 1st act pacing issues, and the action not being all that memorable (along with the musical score) except for the climax, Far From Home is another home run for not just the MCU, but the Spider-Man films in general. And for most of the action scenes not being that memorable, I don’t blame director Jon Watts, because he proved with the first film he knows how to develop and stage an action scene, might’ve just been script or location issues. But all of that is forgiven because the rest of the film is excellent and hugely entertaining. I definitely laughed every other minute, it was a very funny film. Oh and uh….STAY THRU ALL OF THE CREDITS. Both of Far From Home’s after credits scenes are extremely important, probably the most important after credit scenes we have gotten from the MCU in quite a long time. The mid credit scene, good God I wish I could just spoil and talk about it. But for long time Spider-Man fans, the mid credit scenes will make prematurely shoot a bunch of webs out of your web shooter. It is THAT GREAT.

My Ranking of all the Spider-Man films (you will disagree, to each his own):

  1. Spider-Man 2
  2. Spider-Man Homecoming
  3. Spider-Man Into The Spider-Verse
  4. Spider-Man Far From Home
  5. Spider-Man
  6. Amazing Spider-Man
  7. Spider-Man 3
  8. Amazing Spider-Man 2
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Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: KING ARTHUR LEGEND OF THE SWORD (Early Review!!! Comes out May 12th)

Imagine that the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies and Zack Snyder’s 300 fucked and had a baby. That baby would be KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD. ┬áNow depending if you liked either of those films or not is going to tell whether you like this movie or not. If you hated both of them, stay away. If you liked one of them, you might enjoy this. If you thought both were pretty cool, then you’ll think this is cool too. As for my opinion? I’m option three. I really like the first 300 and both Sherlock Holmes movies (prefer the underrated superior second film) and so I really liked this.

Granted, this is no masterpiece and this won’t win any awards, but damn it if I didn’t really enjoy myself. And all of it is probably due to director Guy Ritchie. Guy Ritchie could’ve just shot this straight, making something akin to the horrible Snow White and the Huntsman films. Those films are just journey’s that go from beginning to end with no stylistic presence, straightly told, often boring, waiting for the next action scene to happen. Well in this film, Guy Ritchie puts all that shit, throws it in a blender, adds his own ingredients, takes it out, bakes it, chops it up some more, fries it, and then serves it on a platter to his audience.

If you still don’t get it, let me give you an example. Even the fucking scenes with dialogue and explanations are editing and cut fast and furiously, with Ritchie’s stylistic taste for rapid succeeding shots and dialogue to make something that would ultimately be pointless and boring, into something light, funny, entertaining, yet dazzle your eyes with it’s complexity. We get an awesome montage at the beginning of the film showing Arthur growing up, with cool music and fast beats that any other director would shoot slow, steady, and ultimately end up as a snore fest of 10 to 15 minutes. The montage scene is about 3 minutes, frantic, and shows the audience everything they need to know while keeping them intrigued.

The actions scenes where Arthur has to go out and prove himself/do something to further his journey are insane too. Instead of giving explanations of what he must do and then do it, (which would take almost half the movies run time), he splices the explanation with Arthur already doing what he needs to do, at an energetic pace to keep the plot and run time moving instead of slowing anything down. Because this movie does not slow down, at all. It is in your face and gives audience what they deserve: a very decent, yet another retelling of the Arthur and Excalibur legend.

Remember that boring shit one with Clive Owen and Keira Knightly? Yeah, we don’t get that here. That movie was too down to earth. Here we get giant city flattening elephants, mage’s with wicked powers, 300 slo-mo sword fights and bad-assery, cool chase scenes and half way decent special effects. Any director would take forever with Arthur pulling the sword out of the stone (probably would be at the halfway mark in a movie if anyone else did it), but Ritchie gets that shit out of the way 20 minutes in. I think he even winks at the audience as Arthur is waiting in line to pull the sword, gets tired of waiting, and cuts everyone else in line just to get it over with.

And remember by earlier review for Charlie Hunnam’s The Lost City of Z and how fantastic of an actor he was in that? Well he is awesome in this too and wishes he does stuff like this more often. Jude Law is a pretty decent bad guy but I wish I got a little bit more of him in this. The supporting cast is good too even though they are limited in what they have story wise.

But yes, this is the best King Arthur adaptation since Disney’s The Sword and the Stone. No doubt in my opinionated mind. For two hours I was up in my seat, eyes glued to the screen, not expecting to get a cool frantic tale like this…was really expecting something slow and boring. But this, this is anything but boring. Guy Ritchie knows how to make an entertaining film. He knows that the audience can go to sleep at the snap of the fingers, but he knows to be right in front of you with a bullhorn the entire runtime, just to make sure you are paying attention.