Movie Review – Spider-Man: Far from Home – Fun, but a little underwhelming

 

Movie Review - Spider-Man: Far from HomeI liked Spider-Man: Far From Home. I liked it a lot. But I didn’t love it, and that surprised me.

I adore Tom Holland‘s version of Spider-Man, and think he’s the best Peter Parker ever done, no question. (Notice how this sidesteps Miles Morales‘ stunning Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse quite nicely.) And every appearance by MCU’s Spider-Man, from Civil War to Endgame, sparkled with wit and verve.

I rewatched Spider-Man: Homecoming to get ready for Spidey’s ‘European Vacation’. I was again taken with how absolutely lovely, charming, funny, and exciting Peter Parker’s first solo outing was. (With one of Marvel’s better villains, to boot.)

Far From Home was enjoyable, but not up to the level I expected. Some nits to pick (with spoilers for Avengers: Endgame):

– Ned wasn’t The Chair Guy this time. He was mostly sidelined. Ned had funny lines, but was no longer Spider-Man’s sidekick. Making him foolish — and a damsel in distress, even — didn’t sit right.

– Peter was too low-key. I get that he’s been through a lot, and mourns Iron-Man like a father, but EVERYONE in the post-post-post Snap world (yes, there were three Snaps, remember?) is suffering. His friends seemed fine. I would have written Spidey as his usual irrepressible self who’d get sad when reminders of Tony Stark hit him out of nowhere. Grief is like that: you’re grooving along until you get a gut-punch reminder.

– There wasn’t enough care and attention paid to how Earth is handling the new reality: billions of people returning to life five years later. Yes, it was alluded to a few times, but I expected more. And Europe seemed to truck on with no problems at all. Even seeing some of the homelessness and ruin in the background would have helped keep the sense of continuity alive. The MCU usually provides better world-building than that.

– I missed the fun rock and pop music that made Homecoming so fun. (We did get one rock hit underscoring a poignant/funny moment, but I won’t spoil it.)

– And another nit: Spider-Man is the only A-List hero left on Earth? After 23 movies packed with super beings, I can’t buy that.

So, Where Were the Other Avengers?

As said, in-movie:

Dead:

Not mentioned, but should be around for Fury to call upon:

  • Professor Hulk
  • War Machine (who’s basically an Iron Man already)
  • Ant-Man
  • Wasp
  • Scarlet Witch (who should be able to wipe the floor with anyone)
  • Valkyrie, Korg, and a whole city of Asgardians
  • Black Panther, Shuri, and a whole country of Wakandans
  • Falcon (AKA new Cap)
  • The Winter Soldier/White Wolf
  • Hawkeye (I presume he returned to retirement…)
  • Pepper Potts-Stark is at least name-dropped (apparently she doesn’t want to use her Iron Suit any more than Peter does, for the same reason)
  • Lots of minor heroes could also be asked to ‘step up’…this could be a whole article. Which I’ll probably write, if there’s interest.

Again, those are mostly nits. But there’s one big problem, and for that I have to give Spider-Man FFH a B grade. That’s hard to do, since I loved a lot of it. I am a huge MCU fan, a Tom Holland-as-Spidey fan…and I really do think this is the best genre movie out right now (not including the Endgame re-release). But since we at RunPee tend to grade the Marvel Cinematic Universe on a curve, I’d have to rank this as a “middle tier” movie. MAN, I hate saying this.

It might have been that all the major plot points of FFH were spoiled for me, but I normally love anything the MCU does, so that shouldn’t have mattered.

Where Spider-Man: Far From Home Faltered

The single biggest problem is the bad guys are kind of an underwhelming/overwhelming mess. They are huge; they are CGI; they have no personality or motivation whatsoever…or even facial expressions. How is that supposed to be fun to watch? It doesn’t matter that that part doesn’t matter (have to be vague), but it made every fight with The Elementals boring. They felt more like the worst kind of bad guys done in the DC Universe (on the level of Incubus or Steppenwolf, or all the other villains no one remembers).

MCU has the occasional villain problem, but nothing as bad as these guys.

The point is, it doesn’t matter that the Elementals are [redacted for spoilers]: they still got too much screen time. They brought the movie down. Watching European landmarks get destroyed isn’t entertaining by itself. Even Godzilla has a personality.

Notice I’m not mentioning Mysterio. Or the promised Multi-Verse. I can’t go into any of this without spoilers, and this review is already too long. Suffice to say if Iron Man had a love child with Dr. Strange, you’d kind of get Mysterio. The trippy, psychedelic stuff was the best part of the action. It’s too bad they couldn’t get Dr. Strange on the phone. I’ll stop there.

Overall, How’s Spider-Man: Far From Home?

I’m making a bigger deal out of the Villain Problem than I meant to. Far From Home is still a super fun film, with laughs, school trip shenanigans, great on-location scenery, emotional moments, and a fun class reunion with Peter Parker’s (conveniently) co-blipped pals. And Happy Hogan stole every scene from Peter, which I didn’t expect. Tony Stark’s absence was keenly felt, but his character still managed to permeate the story, and even drew one of the best laughs.

So, yeah, absolutely see the 23rd movie officially closing out the Infinity Saga. It’s the last MCU film we’re getting this year. (We don’t yet know when Phase 4 will begin.) Far From Home really has some great moments and a lot of heart, so go and enjoy yourselves, Elementals be damned. 🙂

PS: The extra scenes over the credits are AWESOME. The implication are pretty big (for one of them) and pretty cool (for the other).

PPS: Also, in the background at near the end of the movie, there’s a building mural Peter swings slowly by that reads: “We can’t wait to show you what happens next!” Clearly that’s a message about Phase 4 from the MCU. Nice nod.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: I have 3 good Peetimes, spaced out nicely through the movie.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Spider-Man: Far from Home. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Superhero, MCU

Life on Earth After Avengers: Endgame (Post-post Snap)

Movie Review – Spider-Man Homecoming

The entire MCU Movie Order – Several Options for your pre-Avengers Endgame Watch or Rewatch

Stan Lee – His Favorite Marvel Characters

Marvel Phase 4 Predictions – Some MCU Sure-Fire Guesses

 

Top Toy Story Adventures You May Have Missed

Toy Story 4 is finally here.  Everyone knows and loves Buzz and Woody.  But do you remember the time Buzz got lost in the ball pit at Poultry Palace?  Or the time Rex held a rave in the bath tub? Or the creepy hotel where the toys started disappearing?  If not, there are some adventures you may have missed. Buzz and the gang have appeared in more than just the three feature-length films most us know them from.  If you need to catch up, we’ve got your back. Here are the Toy Story adventures you may have missed and where to find them.

Toy Story Toons:  These three Pixar shorts all take place after Toy Story 3 and involve the toys adapting to their new life with Bonnie.  

Hawaiian Vacation

History:  This cartoon originally played before Cars 2.

Plot:  When Ken and Barbie miss out on Bonnie’s Hawaiian vacation, the other toys recreate Hawaii in Bonnie’s room for them.  

Where to find it:  Available as a bonus feature on the Cars 2 DVD and Blu-ray

Available on iTunes and Amazon as a digital purchase

Available on Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 2 (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

Available as a bonus feature with the other two Toy Story Toons on Toy Story of Terror! (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

 

Small Fry

History:  This cartoon originally played before The Muppets in 2011.

Plot:  Buzz is replaced by a miniature fast food toy version of himself in a case of mistaken identity.  

Where to find it:  Available on iTunes and Amazon as a digital purchase

Available on Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 2 (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

Available as a bonus feature with the other two Toy Story Toons on Toy Story of Terror! (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

 

Partysaurus Rex

History:  This cartoon originally played before the 3-D re-release of Finding Nemo in 2012.

 

Plot:  Rex learns to relax and have fun with the help of the bath time toys.  

Where to find it:  Available on iTunes, YouTube, and Amazon as a digital purchase

Available as a bonus feature on the 3D Blu-ray and updated Blu-ray of Monsters, Inc.

Available on Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 3 (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

Available as a bonus feature with the other two Toy Story Toons on Toy Story of Terror! (DVD, Blu-ray, digital)

TV Specials

These specials are also set after Toy Story 3 and the toys belong with Bonnie.

Toy Story of Terror!

History:  This 22-minute special originally aired in October of 2013.  

Plot:  The toys are on a road trip with Bonnie and her mother when the car gets a flat tire.  They have to stay at a motel for the night. One by one, toys start to go missing.

Where to find it:  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital (It comes with all three Toy Story Toons as a bonus feature.)  

 

Toy Story That Time Forgot

History:  This 22-minute special originally aired in December of 2014.  

Plot:  Buzz, Woody, Trixie, and Rex have a playdate with the Battlesaurs who are dangerously unaware that they are toys.   

Where to find it:  Available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital

 

If you’re a fan of the Toy Story Universe, these are definitely worth your time.  Even though they aren’t feature length, the same thought and care has been put into these shorter cartoons.  They even include the same celebrity voice cast. These make a great appetizer to whet your palette for Part 4, or as a dessert after seeing it.  Especially since Toy Story 4 will be the first Pixar movie to be shown without a short since the original Toy Story.

You know what else is worth your time?  Our amazing app that tells you when to pee during all the wide release movies and if there are scenes after the credits. Never miss an important movie moment again with the RunPee app.  Be sure to use it when you see Toy Story 4. Or any other kid flick this summer! We’ve already got Peetimes for Aladdin and The Secret Life of Pets 2.  And we’ll have Peetimes for The Lion King and Artemis Fowl, so you won’t miss a second of movie magic. You can also follow us on Twitter @RunPee for the latest movie news. 

Incredibles 2 & the Success of Animated Movie Sequels

Virgin Movie Review – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

First View Movie Review – Jumanji (1995)

All Modern Godzilla Movies, Ranked

I’m not a die-hard Godzilla fan, but I’ve gone on a bit of a giant lizard binge-watch lately. I’m happy to admit Godzilla: King of the Monsters is the best one yet.

Not only did the big beasties get plenty of screentime, but the people plots didn’t entirely suck.

People and entire cities can be megafauna fodder in disaster films, but there also has to be a thoughtful human element where you care — even by a small margin.  Modern audiences demand this, and rightfully, because otherwise you’re essentially watching a long, expensive video game. The previous Godzilla films in 1998 and 2014 plunged into that category — but worse — because boring human drama was shoehorned in to pretend those movies had plots. (Except for through-actor Ken Watanabe — more on him later).

Skipping right to said monstrous animals…

The Big Four Beasties of Godzilla: King of the Monsters

  1. Godzilla — With some new glowy skills and a few adjustments to his appearance, he looks great and is a pleasure to watch in action. Unlike in his 2014 Monsterverse premier, he’s onscreen early and often. Two paws up!
  2. Mothra — She’s my favorite critter.  And….she’s beautiful (think Lunar Moth). Mothra has some very unusual abilities, and isn’t as fragile as expected. I’d love to see her as a mount in some multiverse for Spider-Man. (“There’s a Ant Man, a Spider-Man, AND a Moth!?”)
  3. (King) Ghidorah — Very cool dragon/hydra rival to Godzilla, and even amusing (those heads scrap at each other!), but I’m not happy with his origin-story. That came out of freaking nowhere and felt like the writers couldn’t find a better hinge to hang their new ecosystem from. IDK. Maybe King Ghidorah actually is from [redactated for spoilers] in the legends.
  4. Rodan — The least interesting fellow. I felt bad for Ghidorah stealing his thunder. Rodan came off as a second-string player to give Mothra someone to fight. Someone give this guy something better to do some time.

2014 godzilla breathing fire

And the rest: There was an assortment of junior-grade creatures to fight (17 all together, including Kong on Skull Island), but we only catch them in random moments. One was like a spider; another was a sort-of mastodon. I’d like to see Part Four elevate these guys at the eventual “monster-off” on Skull Island.

The Big Four were great fun. Fab effects, with nice twists and turns in their near-sentient reactions to each other. If the carnage felt too far away and too meager in films before, we got lots and lots of satisfying spectacle this time around.

The People (AKA Happy Meals on Feet)

Lots of goofy one-liners and paper-thin human characterizations populate this over-run Titan world. The father/mother push and pull dynamics have been done and done and done in almost every disaster film. The soldiers do soldiering. Bad guys do ‘badding’. There’s a gratuitous cameo from the previous film. Next, please? 

Finally, we see a couple of grace notes: Ken Watanabe lends his wise gravitas for the sake of actual world-building, and teenage Madison (Millie Bobby Brown from Stranger Things) provides enough cleverness to make us want to see her live. (This girl can act with her eyes — her career might be worth following). Smart people living/dying tends to get us in the feels, and they carry the human story better than the other modern-era Godzilla people.

Ultimately Watanabe gets a long-awaited beautiful moment with ‘his God’ to show (not tell) that co-existence means salvation.

But it’s all rather small and can’t compete with the big battles above. I appreciated Watanabe’s arc and was just grateful the franchise went somewhere lovely with it.

Godzilla vs The Technobabble

The Orca is a MacGuffin: everyone wants it. The writers did a decent job making said Orca quasi-logical, but the tech is the weakest point of the story. Except for the cool larval Mothra intro, the Orca could have been canned  entirely for something better…for something only hinted at here and there, in terms of ecology, spirituality, and legends.

There were also the expected bombs, subs, planes, and faceless soldiers. Fortunately Gz 2 learned from Gz 1 to keep most of this in the background.

And the least said about the [redacted] Earth Theory, the better. I can buy that in a fantasy film. It felt out of place here.

Let’s try something new with Godzilla. Or old. Just do it well

I still can’t shake the feeling the entire Legendary Monsterverse is riding on the reptilian coat-tails of the Jurassic saga. I kind of wish they would make up their minds to go ALL IN with the coexistence theme (instead of referred to by newspaper clip credits, a storytelling device best used in WALL-E ), or go ahead — take that massive risk about Earth-cleansing and the starting anew theme and sprint with it. Planet of the Apes went there, so this isn’t unprecedented for sci-fi premises.

So, Is Kong in the next Godzilla movie?

Speaking of Apes, yes, Kong is name dropped many times, with a few quick visuals, a blink-and-you-miss it cave painting, and many Easter egg allusions to lead into 2020’s Monsterverse finale: Godzilla vs Kong. I don’t want them to fight though. Aren’t they both “good guys’? Fingers crossed this works out satisfactorily. (And stay through the end credits of King of the Monsters for a possible hint.)

I genuinely liked this Godzilla movie. I wanted more Mothra, but overall, can’t complain.

Grading the modern Godzilla and Monsterverse Flicks

Looking at RunPee’s scores for ‘modern-era’ Godzilla movies, and including Kong: Skull Island as part of this Monsterverse, movie grades have been heading up a steady incline (please click the links to read our reviews on RunPee.com):

1998 Godzilla : D

2014 Godzilla: C

Kong: Skull Island: B-

2019 Godzilla: King of the Monsters: B

This bodes well. Maybe the finale to the Godzilla/Kong quadrilogy will hit the A range. For a disaster film, that would be quite a feat. We’ll find out next year. Keep replaying Blue Oyster Cult’s Godzilla remix to stay excited.

Related, on RunPee:

Is Godzilla: King of the Monsters a Sequel to Kong: Skull Island?

Movie Review of Kong – Skull Island

Virgin Movie Review – Godzilla (2014) – Not as bad as the last one

Rewatch Review – Godzilla (1998) – More overthinking than this film deserves

How RunPee Began – A Retrospective on Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong

Life on Earth After Avengers: Endgame (Post-post Snap)

Thanos SnapNOTE: Spoilers start right away for Avengers: Endgame.

Although it’s a beautiful moment in Avengers: Endgame when Dr. Strange‘s portals opened and The Vanished step back into existence, the sudden return of all these people is very problematic.

Let’s assume for a  minute that Strange’s sorcerers planned ahead and saved all the people in planes from falling from the sky, teleporting them to safe landings. And so on for any Earthly or cosmically-based beings whose sudden reappearance would mean imminent death. I mean, if Strange can look into 14 million + lifetimes in the course of moments, I’ll buy that he planned ahead for these literal car-wrecks, and many other contingencies too.

Captain America returned the Time Stone to the Sorcerer Supreme’s custody at the end of Endgame, so The Ancient One and Strange have an infinite amount of time to make sure the Endgame strategy didn’t cause a brand new Decimation.

But what then? What happens after The Snap is Unsnapped?

When the Infinity War saga finally ends and people try to go home, where do they go? It’s been five years. That’s quite a bit of time. Most people won’t have homes to return to. What happens when you find your house/palace/apartment/shack occupied by other people? What are the legalities of this? What would Judge Judy do? We have no precedent to fall back on. It’s not like people weren’t paying their rent because they lost their jobs — they were literally snuffed out and in of existence.

And as for returning to their families, that’s a can of worms even Ant-Man can’t open. When Hank Pym brought his wife back, he hadn’t moved on. Hope grew up in the interim, which was fine, but Janet was a welcome addition, not an interloper to someone’s new family. Hawkeye might now be five years older compared to his wife and kids, but he still had their house and hadn’t moved on either.

So — best case scenario for those returned is their loved ones pined away for half a decade, and now have huge mental traumas to process from living in the post-Snap world. Best case.

Worst case: their loved ones suddenly (from their POV) have new mates and children and are stuck with no one to help them re-assimilate into society. I doubt our world governments (outside of Wakanda) will do much besides creating homeless shelters and long food lines. Jobs will be gone. Society’s infrastructure won’t run right for years. The aftereffects of this kind of world-wide/universe-wide event should reverberate for at least a generation.

How does Spider-Man: Far From Home deal with the new reality?

This barely touches on the problems inherent in the Avengers’ plan to “bring them back, whatever it takes.”  Spider-Man 2: Far From Home (coming out this July) will delve into some of this. Far From Home is the last film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Three.

Honestly, I don’t see how Far From Home can do these issues justice. Sure, they will make some nod to the problems in the beginning of the film. But keep in mind this is a SPIDER-MAN movie, with all the humor and hijinks we expect from Peter Parker & Gang (all conveniently also Snapped, and thus still in high school).

Spending the entire next blockbuster showing how people will be housed and fed and have their property returned wouldn’t be much fun.

This video raises some good questions about how our planet would deal with the return of billions of people, and even touches on the deep items of religion and spirituality that would be affected when our understanding of death is irrevocably changed:

PS: Black Panther 2 – Who is King in Wakanda?

One great side question asked in this video: who’s been running Wakanda for the past five years? I always assumed Shuri would take up the mantle, until it was revealed in the Endgame trailers she was Snapped too. And if someone like M’Baku became King, are there any heart-shaped herbs left to give him Black Panther powers? Either way, does T’Challa automatically become King again (heartfelt Endgame coda aside)? Let’s assume Black Panther 2 deals with this. It’s going to be hard to make that interesting, since the first Black Panther movie already tread this ground in some detail.

Related Avengers Articles on RunPee.com

Movie Review – Avengers: Endgame

Did YOU Survive The Snap? You may as well get this over with…

Movie Review – Avengers Infinity War – An Unrivaled Marvel Epic

Movie Review – Doctor Strange

Movie Review – Spider-Man Homecoming

Movie Review – Ant-Man and the Wasp

Movie Review – Black Panther – One Incredible Party

Black Panther – Does Killmonger Have a Point?

The entire MCU Movie Order – Several Options for your pre-Avengers Endgame Watch or Rewatch

Avengers MCU superheroes
Many MCU movies, in several orders for your rewatch.

Want to watch, or rewatch, all the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? (Aka, the MCU.) The first thing you have to figure out is what order you’re going to watch them in. There’s more than one way to go about this, and I’ll break down the list into a few options.

Keep it simple: Watch in the order of film release

The release order isn’t my personal preference, but it will do. Note: there is no shame in skipping The Incredible Hulk altogether. Sure, for the sake of completeness it’s good to watch Edward Norton’s Hulk, but that movie just barely fits with the rest of the MCU (except in the last few seconds).

  1. Iron Man (2008)
  2. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  3. Iron Man 2 (2010)
  4. Thor (2011)
  5. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  6. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
  7. Iron Man 3 (2013)
  8. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  10. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  11. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  12. Ant-Man (2015)
  13. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  14. Doctor Strange (2016)
  15. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
  16. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  17. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  18. Black Panther (2018)
  19. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  20. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
  21. Captain Marvel (2019)
  22. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Watch in MCU chronological order

The MCU movies weren’t actually released in the order that they happen. It takes a minor tweak to fix that. Chronologically, Captain America: The First Avenger happened first — during WWII — although it was the 5th movie released. Then you would follow with Captain Marvel — 1990s — which was the 21st movie released. There is some logic to this order, but again, I wouldn’t suggest it. I think going by movie release order makes for a more enjoyable watch than this. But here it is anyway.

  1. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  2. Captain Marvel (2019)
  3. Iron Man (2008)
  4. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  5. Iron Man 2 (2010)
  6. Thor (2011)
  7. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
  8. Iron Man 3 (2013)
  9. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  10. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  11. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  12. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  13. Ant-Man (2015)
  14. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  15. Doctor Strange (2016)
  16. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
  17. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  18. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  19. Black Panther (2018)
  20. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  21. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
  22. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Maximum Effect

My suggestion is to follow the movie release order, up to a point. Black Panther and Spiderman: Homecoming have events that take place immediately after Captain America: Civil War. You don’t need to see Doctor Strange until just before Avengers: Infinity War, actually, but you may as well view it before the Guardians of the Galaxy Movies I & II . You see, the GotG movies are completely independent from the rest of the previous MCU movies. However, they tie in closely with Avengers: Infinity War. Therefore I would recommend skipping over those two in the release order.

Therefore, to maximize your enjoyment I recommend watching Guardians I, Guardians II, then Thor: Ragnarok, right before Infinity War. In fact, if you have 5 hours to spare, you could watch Thor: Ragnarok and Infinity War back-to-back because they literally take place moments apart.

  1. Iron Man (2008)
  2. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  3. Iron Man 2 (2010)
  4. Thor (2011)
  5. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  6. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
  7. Iron Man 3 (2013)
  8. Thor: The Dark World (2013)
  9. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  10. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  11. Ant-Man (2015)
  12. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
  13. Black Panther (2018)
  14. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
  15. Doctor Strange (2016)
  16. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  17. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
  18. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  19. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  20. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) *
  21. Captain Marvel (2019)
  22. Avengers: Endgame (2019)

* Note: Ant-Man and the Wasp fits better before Infinity War, however — and this is huge — you must NOT watch the two extra scenes until after Infinity War on a 1st viewing. That said, if you did want to watch Ant-Man and the Wasp out of order for a re-watch, I’d put it after Spider-Man: Homecoming.

Avenger Superhero Powers, by Category

Avengers Infinity War – Heroes Missing in Action & Probably Snapped

Every Stan Lee Cameo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe