The friendly neighborhood Spider-Man takes on Europe

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Photo Courtesy IMDb Tom Holland in "Spider-Man: Far From Home" (2019)

Sony’s latest blockbuster, “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” swung into theaters on July 2. By its second weekend, the film grossed more than $840 million, according to IMDB. The film sees Tom Holland, Zendaya and Samuel L. Jackson returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and welcomes an MCU newcomer, Jake Gyllenhaal.

Set in a post-“Avengers: Endgame” world, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” follows Peter Parker (Holland), the boy behind the Spider-Man mask, as he embarks on a much-needed vacation to Europe with his classmates. While in Europe, Parker has big plans to woo his crush MJ (Zendaya), but those plans are quickly thwarted by a surprise visit from Nick Fury (Jackson) and the possibility of the world ending — again.

It is revealed that the infamous snaps of “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” created a tear in Earth’s dimension, bringing a new and dangerous breed of villains called Elementals from a different Earth — Earth-616. Following the Elementals from Earth-616 is Quentin Beck, also known as Mysterio (Gyllenhaal), a soldier whose only goal is stop the Elementals from destroying Peter’s planet like they did his.

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Spoiler Alert: When it is revealed that Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio is actually an unhinged evil-mastermind, the tone of the movie shifts drastically. The realization that Mysterio had taken advantage of not only Peter’s trust in him, but his grief over losing mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) in “Avengers: Endgame” and his insecurities over being such a young and inexperienced superhero as well, felt as if Peter wasn’t the only one being betrayed; as an audience member, Mysterio’s betrayal is felt deeply.

Holland’s portrayal of a vulnerable and broken Peter Parker is a shining light of “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” This is a side of Peter that hasn’t been seen quite like this in other MCU films he’s been in. Peter’s pain is palpable to an audience member, and when he steels himself to fight back against Mysterio, his shift from a meek Peter Parker to a determined Spider-Man is brilliant.

Gyllenhaal’s ability to keep Mysterio charming and a bit likable even after his true intentions are revealed is another touch of brilliance. Mysterio as a villain is reminiscent of the “Captain America: Civil War” antagonist Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl): a regular person who takes the world’s biggest heroes head-on with little more than his own intelligence. 

Because of this, Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio is one of the MCU’s best villains yet.


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