Ian Thomas Malone

A Connecticut Yogi in King Joffrey's Court

Movie Reviews Archive

Sunday

11

August 2019

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Mike Wallace Is Here Presents a Compelling Portrait of a Legendary Figure in Television News

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Television transformed the role of the free press in countless ways. Newsmagazine programs blended the idea of information with entertainment, with forceful presenters such as Mike Wallace developing a keen sense of interview style that provided much enjoyment for an audience, if not the subject. Mike Wallace Is Here chronicles the life and legacy of one of America’s most consequential journalists.

The film covers a wide scope of Wallace’s long career, from his early days in showbusiness through the end of his time on 60 Minutes. Wallace wore many hats in his career, acting as a radio presenter and on-camera pitchman among others, providing some fascinating insight into how television developed in its infancy. Wallace’s Night Beat set the tempo for his adversarial interviewing style, asking tough questions that translated well to an audience watching at home.

Presented entirely through archival footage, without any narration or contemporary interviews, the film largely lets its subject, who died in 2012, speak for himself. The use of footage of Wallace being interviewed, particularly by fellow 60 Minutes pioneer Morley Safer, allows director Avi Belkin to dive into territory he would otherwise be unable to explore. Wallace feels alive and well throughout the documentary, aided by Belkin’s soft-handed approach.

The use of archival footage also allows the film to thoroughly assess Wallace’s legacy without any of the over the top platitudes that are often showered upon the deceased. Wallace was an immensely important figure in television journalism, whose impact is still being felt to this day. The film explores the ways he shaped his field without drawing unnecessary lines to the present. It’s easy to see Wallace’s approach alive and well in the way that President Trump paints the media as his enemy, but this film isn’t about the present.

Belkin doesn’t shy away from the critical lens. Wallace was a flawed man who often went too hard on his interviewees and was often an absentee father. Oftentimes, he struggled when asked the kinds of questions he favored in practically every interview. The film handles his struggles with depression with grace. Belkin presents his subject as thoroughly human, while never losing sight of the immense legacy he left behind.

Mike Wallace Is Here is a timely film, exploring the past to offer plenty of commentary on the present. Wallace changed the way people engage with the news. The film manages to be a touching tribute that honors both Wallace and his signature adversarial approach.

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Tuesday

6

August 2019

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Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Is Entertaining Summer Fun

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If you removed the “Fast & Furious Presents” label from Hobbs & Shaw before showing the film to a person who had only seen 2001’s The Fast and the Furious, there’s a good chance they would never suspect the two were connected. The original entry in the long-running franchise focused primarily on car racing, with actual crime serving as more of a vehicle to drive the plot than anything else. Nowadays it would seem odd if the narrative didn’t include saving the world.

As its title suggests, Hobbs & Shaw focuses on Luke Hobbs & Deckard Shaw, who originally entered the series as the villains for the fifth and seventh entries, respectively. After both enjoyed turns on the good side, the two find themselves working together to stop a super virus from wiping out humanity. Neither character particularly likes the other, creating an interesting buddy cop-esque dynamic throughout the film.

Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham are two of the most well-known action stars currently performing. The two have a natural chemistry that works well for the humor-laced narrative. Vanessa Kirby balances out the dynamic as Deckard’s sister Hattie, an MI6 agent infected with the virus. The plot follows the three of them for most of the film, as they try to figure out how to get the virus out of Hattie before it falls into the hands of Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), a cyber-enhanced super soldier hell-bent on destroying the world.

The film continues the celebration of excess that has defined the Fast & Furious franchise since its fifth entry. There are countless explosions and reality-defying stunts. Elba essentially plays a riff on The Terminator, a notion not lost on the film. The plot calls for a heavy helping of suspension of disbelief, the kind of narrative where it’s best not to overthink anything, or everything.

Hobbs & Shaw never loses sight of the escapism it exists to provide. The characters have fun the whole time, keeping with the series’ emphasis on family. Deckard and Luke aren’t really there to be friends, but they manage to work together without anything feeling artificial.

The film’s biggest detriment is its runtime. Clocking in at a little over two hours, the narrative is stretched about as far as it could go. Part of this issue stems from the fact that the narrative blatantly goes out of its way to give The Rock and Statham equal time for just about every scene where they don’t appear together. Such a balance was probably not necessary for a franchise that usually needs to juggle several other leads, as a result feeling a bit more relaxed from the get-go.

Few films have felt more at home in the month of August, where the dog days of summer welcome the kind of excess Hobbs & Shaw offers in abundance. This franchise has come a long way from its street racing roots. One does naturally wonder how many more times this team can save the world. For a series that’s owned excess with such grace, that question sure doesn’t provide itself with an easy answer.

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Saturday

27

July 2019

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Is an Entertaining, Overstuffed Tribute to Showbiz

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Hollywood has a certain affection for films about its own lore. As a city that welcomes so many, myself included, Los Angeles is an easy city to dream about. The very notion of living here is itself a part of the fantasy, opportunities seemingly lurking around every corner.

This city has been very good to Quentin Tarantino, one of the few bonafide superstar directors capable of drawing crowds to the theatre just with his own name. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is his love letter to Los Angeles, a film so occupied with its location that it barely felt the need for much of a narrative. Tarantino is too busy soaking in the nostalgia of an era gone by to concern his script with the notion of a plot.

Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a washed-up Western actor who failed to make the transition from TV to film, back in a day when that distinction mattered. He can’t get his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) much work, instead keeping him employed as his personal assistant. The two are a good fit for each other, mostly getting by on the laurels of their glory days.

Dalton and Booth’s occasionally separate narratives make up two-thirds of the narrative, mostly leaving Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) with the remainder. Tate isn’t given much to work with, a seemingly intentional calculation. Robbie plays the young starlet with a kind of energy that makes her role in the film clear without a ton of dialogue.

The film blends fact and fiction quite effectively, constantly challenging the audience’s perception of reality. Dalton appears to largely be a composite of Steve McQueen and Burt Reynolds, with some nodes of Clint Eastwood. Tate, a real-life victim of the Manson family’s killing spree, is also very much a figure of Tarantino’s fantasy. This isn’t a biopic, even though plenty of Hollywood icons show up throughout the film.

Tarantino soaks in each scene in his film with a runtime of two hours and forty minutes. There are plenty of sequences that don’t really play any larger narrative purpose, contemplative moments that are perhaps a bit too self-indulgent. The cinematography is beautiful, showcasing the beautiful sets that faithfully recreate the era.

Perpetually present is the sense that Dalton serves as a commentary on the current state of Hollywood. Tarantino, DiCaprio, and Pitt are in many ways A-list stars of a different era, before superheroes and franchises took over the box office. To his credit, Tarantino doesn’t write Dalton as particularly sympathetic, a man too consumed with his own fading stardom to see the immense fortunes he’s been afforded.

Putting aside the notion that this film is little more than an aging director’s nostalgia-powered vanity project, it’s a lot of fun to watch. Tarantino is clearly having a blast, as are most of its star-studded cast. At many points, the film feels like watching a rich man perform karaoke at his fiftieth birthday party, prolonging a fun event with unnecessary interludes. It is a well-crafted movie that is too long for its own good, the kind of narrative that doesn’t seem poised to stand up to repeat viewing. Tarantino showcases the skills he’s refined over the years, along with a lack of restraint that longevity often affords.

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Friday

26

July 2019

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The Cure – Anniversary 1978-2018 Live in Hyde Park Celebrates Forty Years of Gothic Rock Excellence

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The timeless angst that The Cure has expressed in their music over the years can make it easy to forget just how long this band has been around. Few groups last long enough to put on a fortieth anniversary concert, let alone an extravagant production in front of tens of thousands of fans. The Cure – Anniversary 1978-2018 Live in Hyde Park London captures the magic for those who didn’t get a chance to be there in person.

The film showcases the immense energy that Robert Smith still brings to the stage after all these years. His voice hasn’t lost any of its range, remarkable for a performer who’s been at it for decades. While he often lets Reeves Gabrels perform most of the guitar work while he’s singing, Smith still showcases his skills, perhaps most memorably on the intro “Pictures of You.”

A highlight of the film is the way the band takes on plenty of hits from their early years. The lightning-fast pace of songs like “Play For Today,” Boys Don’t Cry,” and “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” is a bit slowed down, but the band brings plenty of energy to these renditions. Time has softened a bit of the melancholy from more downbeat albums such as Disintegration, which is featured extensively throughout the set.

The Cure is undoubtedly a different band than the one that excited audiences in the early 80s, but the two-hour-plus performance demonstrates their commitment to playing their hearts out. Plenty of other older groups are perfectly content to go out on stage and play a muted greatest hits set aiming to evoke nostalgia from its audience. The Cure plays like a band ready to excite the crowd for the present with plenty left in the tank.

As a film, Live in Hyde Park London does leave a bit to be desired. Director Tim Pope, whose work with The Cure spans almost their entire career, does an excellent job making a massive larger than life event feel intimate. The film captures the extent of the crowd, but the audio and camera angles create the sense that the group is performing exclusively for the audience in their living room.

As the film’s name suggests, the fortieth anniversary is a big deal. Being just a concert film that solely presents the music, Live in Hyde Park London falls a bit sort in conveying the magnitude of the event. There’s no interviews or backstage clips from Smith reflecting on such an achievement. The music may speak for itself, but it’s certainly not the only voice the audience would want to hear.

The great achievement of Live in Hyde Park London is how little it makes you wonder about the future of the band. A fortieth anniversary celebration naturally draws one’s attention to the simple fact that there won’t be many more of these momentous milestones left to celebrate. The way The Cure plays suggests differently. The band is still at the top of its game, a group still able to evoke wonder and awe, not simply memories of better days. These days are pretty great.

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Sunday

21

July 2019

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John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum Ups The Ante Without Getting Lost in Its Own Lore

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The John Wick franchise is seemingly built to last forever, with a consistently bankable lead and a premise that carries a ton of replay value. It’s hard to go wrong watching a seemingly ageless Keanu Reeves perform well-choreographed fight scene after fight scene. Perhaps the only potential downside would be for the series to lean in too much to its own mythology.

John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum expands on the mythology of the High Table, a minor element of the first installment that saw its role expand in the second film. Parabellum starts off almost immediately after the events of the first, with Wick on the run after being declared “excommunicato” for committing murder on consecrated grounds. For those who loved the simplicity of the original film’s premise, the heightened importance of the High Table might prove to be unnecessary, but Parabellum integrates the lore into its established premise fairly well.

The fight scenes remain the series’ bread and butter. Reeves is spectacular, almost looking like a ballet dancer as he moves with such grace, raining blows down upon his enemies. There are a few sequences that require a heavy helping of suspension of disbelief, but the film doesn’t try to top itself to the point of self-parody. Over the top is a fine line to walk, but Parabellum keeps its balance.

The supporting cast is perhaps a bit too bloated for the series’ own good. The “senior mentor” lane once occupied by Ian McShane and to a lesser extent, Lance Reddick now includes the returning Laurence Fishburne and newcomer Anjelica Huston, all vying for screen time in a series that works best when its characters are fighting, not talking. A detour to Morocco gives Halle Berry the chance to shine as Sofia, a close friend of Wick who shows off plenty of her assassin skills.

Parabellum is similarly split on its villain front. Asia Kate Dillon serves as the primary antagonist in the role of the Adjudicator, tasked with restoring order after Wick rattled the High Table. Jerome Flynn and Mark Dacascos also serve as hindrances to Wick as he tries to stay alive while trying to clean up his mess. The film likely more characters than it needs, struggling at times to justify its somewhat frantic pacing.

The bloated cast isn’t necessarily a detriment, but there is the sense that John Wick’s broader lore is reaching its saturation point. With a runtime of just over two hours, about thirty minutes longer than the original, Parabellum squeezes a lot in as it tries to serve a narrative that’s bigger than one single film. After two straight films that build on the mythology of the High Table, you’re not exactly left with much of a desire to see that trend continue.

Parabellum ups the ante in a good way, an action-packed adventure bolstered by Reeves’ dedication to his craft. The film builds on the foundation of the first films while keeping the formula as fresh as you could expect the third time around. There may come a day when the John Wick franchises becomes too much of a good thing. We’re not there yet.

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Friday

19

July 2019

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The Lion King Is a Disappointing Remake Stuck In the Shadows Of Its Predecessor

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Necessity is a problematic concept with regard to filmmaking. The very idea of asking if a film “needs” to be made opens up a can of worms that can be applied to countless new movies made each year. It’s not as if there has to be an answer either. If a property is valuable, studios look to capitalize on their assets, whether it be in the form of a sequel, reboot, or this latest trend of making live-action adaptations of beloved animated classics.

The original version of The Lion King may have been the best film of the Disney Renaissance. The animation was stunning, the cast was top-notch, and the film was a joy to watch from start to finish. By evoking nodes of Hamlet, the plot added a layer of complexity that plenty of children’s films avoid, instead sticking to more conventional storytelling, the kind of stuff you find in fairytales. Its release in 1994 felt like an important achievement in filmmaking, a high in traditional animation that likely hasn’t been topped to this day.

With that impressive legacy in mind, it’s hard to see what 2019’s The Lion King was trying to achieve. Jon Favreau’s live-action remake is more of less completely tethered to its 1994 source material, though the film itself is about thirty minutes longer. The script hits many of the same notes, with only a few noteworthy deviations.

The photorealistic animation does the script no favors. Unsurprisingly, these animals are far less expressive than their traditionally animated counterparts. The audience is left watching characters deliver lines that everyone knows are coming in a way that lets all the air out. Obviously, these computer images aren’t actual actors, but they still look kind of bored to be there.

Part of what made the 1994 version of The Lion King feel larger than life was the way the musical sequences felt married to the colorful imagery on the screen. The characters performed in grandiose sequences, with the overpowering orchestral numbers daring to overload the senses. Everything felt larger than life.

For the 2019 version of The Lion King, too many of the sequences came across as joyless, almost obligatory in nature. The sound editing does the music no favors, at times feeling more like background music than anything else. It doesn’t help that actors like John Oliver aren’t particularly good singers, and the film doesn’t follow its predecessor’s lead in bringing on additional actors to help with the singing.

The voice acting isn’t really the film’s biggest problem, but The Lion King as a story isn’t particularly conducive to maximizing the talents of an all-star cast. Donald Glover and Beyoncé are fun to watch as the adult Simba and Nala, but that doesn’t change the fact that they don’t appear until the third act. The film does its best to capitalize on the amusing banter between Billy Eichner’s Timon and Seth Rogen’s Pumbaa, but the narrative is too much of a shot-for-shot remake up to that point that it’s hard to see their efforts as anything other than a welcome distraction.

The Lion King overhunts the terrain of its predecessor, a lifeless remake that inhabits the shadowlands of nostalgia. Director Jon Favreau brought something new to the table with his 2016 remake of The Jungle Book. Here, there’s nothing but the memory of one of Disney’s crowning achievements. Films shouldn’t need mandates to exist, but The Lion King never tries to be more than a shell of its predecessor.

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Friday

12

July 2019

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Wonder Explores the Unique Challenges Presented to Gender Diverse Youth

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Being a gender diverse kid is often a lonely experience. One’s inner sense of self constantly clashes with an outside world that reinforces the idea that there’s something wrong with being different. The changing times can hopefully alleviate some of that rather needless turmoil that too many of us have lived through, but Javier Molina’s new short-film Wonder reminds us of the challenges that too many children still have to face.

Sammy (Benji Siegel) is a young boy growing up in the hood, surrounded by the rigid gender structure that has little place for anything other than strict adherence to traditional masculinity. Sammy wants to be Wonder Woman for Halloween, but his interactions with his peers demonstrate that such a path is perilous to walk.

His father Frank (Gabriel Furman) is a typical blue-collar “man’s man,” able to talk sports and the needs of boys entering puberty, but not necessarily the nuances of gender identity. Like Sammy, Frank lives in a world that doesn’t give that subject much thought beyond thinking that anyone who would buck gender norms must be sick in the head. It’s not so much prejudice as it is a more viscerally charged form of indifference.

In many ways, Wonder is a film crafted more for people like Frank than Sammy, parents who never in a million years expected to be presented with a gender diverse child. Parents don’t always get it right on the first try. Without dismissing the angst that rejection, even of the reflexive variety, can cause, life isn’t a one and done game. What matters is the long term sense of acceptance for a child who is just as scared as their parents.

The triumph of Wonder comes from the way it handles a complex subject with a sixteen-minute runtime. This isn’t a portrait of Sammy’s life, but a snapshot of a pivotal moment. It does so with immense grace, though its continued use of homophobic slurs perhaps steps on its broader message late in its narrative. Acceptance is hardly universal, but a parent’s love can make the cold world a little less daunting.

 

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Sunday

7

July 2019

0

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The Art of Self-Defense Is a Timely Commentary on Toxic Masculinity

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The past few years have shined a light on the notion of toxic masculinity, which has played a role in the formation of humanity since before recorded time. Countless think pieces have been written on “incels” and members of the alt-right in an attempt to get to the bottom of what it is that many men seem to fear in this changing world. As a period piece set in the 90s, The Art of Self-Defense isn’t really about the Trump era, but the present looms heavily over the narrative.

After a horrific mugging leaves him hospital bound, Casey Davies takes up karate in an effort to better protect himself against a world that doesn’t seem to have much of a place for him. He finds community in his local dojo that was absent from his workplace, where he struggled to fit in as an accountant. The real world has its unwritten codes, but the dojo offers a firm sense of structure through its list of rules up on the wall, a code for a soul in need of order.

At first glance, it’s hard not to do an eye-roll at the notion of Jesse Eisenberg playing yet another nervously awkward character. On the surface level, Casey isn’t much different from many of the roles he’s played over the years, but he works exceptionally well for what the narrative calls for. There are plenty of men out there like Casey expecting to be something they’re not, alpha men.

The Art of Self-Defense has an uncanny grasp on comedic timing, a film that makes you laugh out loud when you least expect a joke to come. Eisenberg works exceptionally well opposite Alessandro Nivola, who plays his sensei. The film uses its period setting to craft a kind of parallel reality that’s about as believable as it needs to be.

The film is a timely commentary on masculinity while existing completely outside the present. Director/screenwriter Riley Stearns crafted a narrative that could’ve been written twenty years ago, presenting issues not necessarily in a quest for answers, but to shed light on the destructive habits that society imposes on people who aren’t quite cut out to be macho. Men have been grappling with this dilemma for longer than anyone cares to admit and will likely continue to for the foreseeable future.

While the film excels at its commentary on masculinity, it often seems lost with what to do with Imogen Poots’ Anna, the most skilled student at the dojo. Anna thrives in the male-dominated environment, but the narrative doesn’t have much of a place for her, often squandering a fairly compelling character. The relationship between Casey and sensei makes up the bulk of the film, but it might have benefited from a broader approach to its supporting characters.

The Art of Self-Defense is a wild ride that constantly challenges any expectation one might have going into the film. Stearns crafted a singular world that’s a lot of fun to inhabit, never afraid to inject humor into unsettling themes. The film presents a fresh take on the kind of toxic masculinity that’s been around since the dawn of man, a feat that makes for a delightful summer cinematic experience.

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Saturday

6

July 2019

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Stunning Visuals and a Quiet Sense of Pacing Give Ari Aster Another Horror Gem in Midsommar

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Tragedy can often shine an unsavory light on a person’s true colors, a stress test for relationships that not everyone will rise to the occasion for. The process of picking up the pieces forces one to re-evaluate the remaining strands of a life through a whole new lens. Such is the backdrop for Midsommar, the second film from Ari Aster, who dazzled audiences last year with Hereditary.

Midsommar takes place in Sweden during a summer festival that only takes place every ninety years. For a group of grad students, the chance to tag along with a friend to witness his intimate commune celebrating a tradition little known to the rest of the world is an opportunity of a lifetime. For the outsiders, the secretive cult’s practices are a little more than they bargained for.

Aster’s vision for world building is utterly spectacular. The community he crafted in Midsommar possesses the kind of intricate detail that stays in the mind long after the credits roll. The sets are gorgeous, presented slowly throughout the film in a way that lets you take everything in. The color scheme is also quite beautiful, possessing a calming effect that contrasts well with the sense of horror that slowly unfolds.

The film possesses a strong grasp on the power of dialogue. The second half in particular has many long sequences where the characters don’t say anything at all, allowing the images to speak for themselves. Midsommar often feels like a mixture of a slasher and an art house film, with conventional subplots intertwined with a broader sense of purpose.

Florence Pugh gives a strong lead performance as Dani, a grief riddled young girl trying to figure out the next step in her life. From the start of the film, it’s clear she’s not meant to be with her boyfriend, Christian (Jack Reynor), who takes an interest in studying the culture of the commune, putting him at odds with his classmate Josh (William Jackson Harper). Dani is a bit of a distant protagonist, fitting for a film with a setting that functions as its own character.

With a runtime well over two hours, Midsommar is quite long for a horror movie. There is a purpose behind the slow burn, as Aster moves with a deliberate pace throughout the festival, meant to take place over a nine-day period. The audience is essentially on the same page as the outside students, watching the rituals unfold in a way that feels like real time.

It is perhaps a little too long for its own good, exacerbated by a few subplots that don’t seem to go anywhere and supporting characters who aren’t on screen long enough to make any kind of impact. Dani’s relationship with Christian is a little scattershot, never presented as particularly compelling. The pacing usually works to the film’s advantage, but it could definitely have benefited from a little tightening.

Midsommar is a mesmerizing experience, solidifying Aster as one of the most compelling directors currently making films. It’s the kind of film that’s completely welcoming to its scenery, only to exploit that sense of comfort at every turn. It is simultaneously beautiful and horrifying, one of the most delightful films of the summer.

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Wednesday

3

July 2019

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Spider-Man: Far From Home Is the Perfect End to Phase Three of the MCU

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One of the most impressive feats that the Marvel Cinematic Universe achieved in its third phase was the way it made the relationship between Tony Stark and Peter Parker feel so organic despite their relatively short amount of time on screen together. The mentor/protégé dynamic on display throughout Avengers: Infinity War and the closing moments of Endgame came about as a result of about twenty minutes of footage in Captain America: Civil War and fifteen in Spider-man: Homecoming. Iron Man’s own trilogy had wrapped up within the MCU before Andrew Garfield finished his run as the friendly neighborhood web-slinger.

As part of a giant interconnected universe, Far From Home certainly had obligations to explain the ramifications of Endgame’s earth-changing “blip,” as the film calls it. It can be easy to forget that this film is also the first solo effort in the franchise to have the bulk of its narrative set after the events of Infinity War, as both Ant-Man & the Wasp and Captain Marvel primarily took place chronologically before the massive team-up. The world is a different place since Thanos came to town.

To its credit, Far From Home handles the “blip” thoroughly without letting it become the major driving force of the narrative. Peter, Ned, and MJ, among others, are still in high school, but many of their once-younger peers aged in the five-year gap, creating some awkward classroom dynamics. Set during a European class trip after the school year, the film was able to recapture much of the high school energy that propelled Homecoming while not being bogged down in any of the inevitable post-Endgame weeds spread across New York.

Tony Stark’s presence looms heavily over the narrative. Not only does Peter miss his mentor, but his absence creates a void within the superhero hierarchy that needs to be filled. Nick Fury wants Parker to step up, alongside Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio, an enigmatic sorcerer who flies around with a cloudy dome on his head.

As always, Samuel L. Jackson steals the show in all of his scenes, dropping plenty of memorable one-liners as the battle-hardened elder statesman of the MCU. Far From Home allows itself to have a little fun at Fury’s expense, pitting him against the wise-cracking Parker for a dynamic we haven’t seen throughout his extensive appearances. Tom Holland’s chemistry with Gyllenhaal is another highlight of the film. Parker’s youth compared to all the other superheroes has left him without peers among the other Avengers, but Mysterio’s similar sense of otherness provides a suitable counterpart who can relate to his sense of feeling lost after the events of Endgame.

The action sequences are all well-crafted, though Far From Home excels when Parker isn’t wearing a mask. Peter is a grieving teenager lost in a world that’s demanded quite a lot from him in a short period of time. His efforts to reclaim his youth are easily relatable, with a quieter set of stakes that serve as a perfect counterbalance to the time traveling heist of Endgame. Saving the world is fun and all, but sometimes you just want to be allowed to have a moment with the person you love.

The film does a great job handling the elephant in the room, namely the absence of the other Avengers. While some are understandably unavailable, gallivanting off on other planets, Far From Home manages to address any lingering questions the audience might have for what everyone else is up to while the Elementals wreak havoc on Europe. Perhaps the one exception is Don Cheadle’s James Rhodes, who would have been an interesting addition given his close ties to Stark.

Far From Home closes out Phase Three of the MCU with a delightful story that embraces the human toll that saving the world has taken on the friendly neighborhood web-slinger. It’s perhaps a bit overstuffed at times, juggling Peter’s high school adventures with his obligations to Fury, but it’s a fast-paced narrative that delivers plenty of laughs. For those wondering what the future will hold for a world without Tony Stark or Steve Rogers, the film gives you plenty of reason to think this massive universe is going to be just fine.

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