Yesterday, I visited the theater alone to watch Spiderman: Far From Home. It was pretty good! I don’t watch movies much anymore– the last one I saw in theaters was John Wick 3 with my sister who’d happened to be in town visiting for the weekend. So it was nice to go out on a discount Tuesday to see a movie on the cheap. With Bagel still abroad, life around here has gotten pretty isolated and lonely. I don’t really have many friends here and so I pour my time mostly into day-trading, writing, and doctor visits nowadays. It’s not the life I’d choose but it’s the life I lead. It is what it is. In the grand scheme, despite my current challenges, I recognize I’m already luckier and more privileged than something like 80% (at minimum) of the global population which lives on less than $2 USD a day. So I’m grateful and brook no complaints. We do the most with what we’ve got and just try our best.
*** Warning: SPOILERS! ***
My favorite moment in the film is a scene after Happy (Jon Favreau) has picked up Peter Park in his Stark Industries jet. Peter has just gotten beaten senseless and nearly killed by Mysterio, only escaping by the skin of his teeth after being hit full frontal by a highspeed train bound for the Netherlands. In the jet, Happy lets Peter access Tony Stark’s super-futuristic in-jet lab where Peter designs a new Spidey suit using Stark’s nifty holographic 3D interface. There’s a small moment, with no dialogue, of Happy watching Peter expertly manipulating the holographic controls, clearly reminding viewers of how much Peter and Tony Stark are alike. Both are geniuses with hi-tech gadgets; both have chosen to suit up to fight villains; both have chosen lives of self-sacrifice in order to serve the greater good; etc. IMHO, these are the strongest moments of any of the MCU films. At this point, it’s been 11 years and 23 MCU movies. Sure, there are plenty of impressive set pieces with millions of dollars of CGI and stunt action. But for me, while the eye candy is nice, it’s the small human drama moments –especially those that leverage continuity and callback– that really make the MCU shine. Remembering that amidst all of the spectacle, that these are nonetheless human beings with human stories that we’re watching on screen is paramount to making this whole enterprise work.
Additionally, I read these thoughtful Verge and GameSpot pieces today which also got me to thinking: The worldbuilding consistency of the MCU has really taken a backseat to the individual storytelling within each self-contained movie. And this is probably a good thing. Honestly, I never considered this aspect much previously. But I think both Noah Berlatsky and Meg Downey make excellent points in their respective write-ups.