Truth Triumphs Over Pride and Deceit in SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME
Editor’s Note: In honor of The 28th Annual Movieguide® Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry, we’re highlighting nominees for the upcoming ceremony. The Gala will be broadcast at a later date on the Hallmark Channel.
Below is a portion of the review from SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME, which is nominated for the BEST MOVIE FOR MATURE AUDIENCES.
In SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME, Peter Parker wants to enjoy his high school’s science field trip to Europe and focus on his plans for telling MJ he likes her, but Nick Fury, the head of the Avengers, needs Spider-Man to help a mysterious new superhero stop giant water and fire creatures from another universe who are intent on destroying Earth. SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME is funny, exciting and well-paced, with a strong moral, redemptive worldview promoting truth, overcoming deception and saving lives, while thanking God. Caution is advised for older pre-adolescents because of some foul language and a crude joke that’s repeated.
As the movie opens, the world is still reeling from the return of all the people in AVENGERS: ENDGAME, whom Thanos snapped out of existence five years ago in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. Peter, his friend Ned, and the girl Peter likes, MJ, are back in high school after being gone for five years. Meanwhile, other students who didn’t disappear are five years older.
Peter is excited about going on the science field trip to Europe. After fighting Thanos, he’s ready for a vacation. Also, he finally wants to tell MJ how he really feels. Most of all, he wants to do it on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, where he can also give MJ a special piece of jewelry he plans to pick out for her. While he plans for the trip, Peter decides to ignore urgent phone calls from Nick Fury, the longtime government official in charge of the Avengers. Peter also decides not to pack his Spider-Man suit, but, when he gets to Venice, the first stop on the field trip, he finds that Aunt May has packed it for him anyway.
Of course, Peter’s plans for a peaceful, romantic vacation doesn’t work out. Some sort of giant water creature with a human shape starts attacking the city. A powerful superhero with a helmet hiding his face fights the creature, while Peter puts on a carnival mask and makes sure innocent bystanders don’t get hurt by falling buildings and debris. The mysterious superhero manages to kill the creature.
Peter meets with Nick Fury, Fury’s team of government agents and the new superhero, who’s called Mysterio by Peter and his friends. Mysterio, whose real name is Quentin Beck, says he’s from an alternate Earth, which has been destroyed by four giant “elemental” creatures representing the four elements, earth, air, water, and fire. In addition to killing the water creature, Beck has already killed an earth creature. However, the most powerful elemental creature, Fire, is on its way to Prague. Beck says if Fire gets access to the planet’s mantel, Peter’s Earth will be destroyed for sure.
Surprisingly, Peter refuses Nick Fury’s request to come to Prague and help Beck defeat Fire, even when Fury says the other Avengers are away on other business. Fury tries to shame Peter into helping, but Peter is adamant. He says he doesn’t feel up to the task and just wants to remain a friendly neighborhood spider-man, with an emphasis on neighborhood. Besides, Peter argues, surely Fury and Beck can handle things.
The next day, however, Peter discovers that Fury has secretly “upgraded” the high school science tour, adding a visit to Prague. Peter reminds Fury that, if he appears in Prague wearing his regular Spider-Man suit, his classmates are going to suspect, with good reason, that he’s Spider-Man. So, Fury gives Peter a black stealth suit.
The stage is set for a showdown with the Fire creature in Prague. However, a major twist soon occurs, a new villain is exposed, and Peter and his friends will face a new challenge more deadly than ever.
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME is funnier and more exciting than the first rebooted SPIDER-MAN movie released in 2017. It also packs a more powerful emotional punch. The story is very well paced, and the special effects are impressive.
FAR FROM HOME has a strong moral, redemptive worldview with several positive elements.
The movie’s main lesson includes a strong rebuke of Fake News. This rebuke also contains a rebuke of selfish people who, when they gain some power, use that power to deceive the public so they can get even more power. For example, the villain is a selfish, power-seeking character who plans to use some fancy technology to fool the public. Creating Fake News during an attack is the primary way the villain tries to accomplish that goal. He also tries to use deception to fool Peter Parker. What’s really great about this lesson is that it’s apolitical and can be applied to almost any ideology, any issue or any political agenda. Thus, for example, both leftists and conservatives can nod in agreement with this message in FAR FROM HOME. Each of us has a responsibility to avoid and rebuke Fake News (and other kinds of mass deception), in favor of Truth.
FAR FROM HOME also contains a pro-life message where the hero, Peter Parker aka Spider-Man, clearly values human life, but the villain clearly does not. Peter is always trying to save lives, but the villain could care less. In fact, the villain thinks that killing a few people will make his deception to gain adulation and power even more successful.
Finally, though the movie shows characters using some light profanities such as “Oh my God,” several characters, including the hero, overtly thank God several times when something good happens. It was really good to hear this line more than just once in SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME.
On the negative side, SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME contains some relatively light obscenities, plus a couple “s” words. Also, a gratuitous double entendre intended to be funny is repeated throughout the movie when a couple people decide to call Spider-Man’s “spidey sense” of impending danger a “Peter Tingle” and someone calls Peter another disgusting name.
Also, in one scene, the good guys seem to accept the humanist idea that there are multiple universes in the physical or “natural” world. Atheists have tried (and repeatedly failed) to use this idea to refute the theistic idea that a personal God created our physical universe, including human life on Earth. Interestingly, however, the movie clearly shows in a later scene that people are gullible and even stupid for believing such nonsense as the multiple universe theory. In actual fact, of course, scientists have found no actual scientific evidence to support the multiple universe, or multiverse, theory. Also, the whole theory of the multiverse begs the question, Who created the multiverse? In fact, even if there is a multiverse, the multiverse itself had a beginning and ultimately was created out of nothing, ex nihilo. Thus, says Christian philosopher William Lane Craig, “Whether or not a multiverse exists, one needs a transcendent, personal creator and designer of the cosmos” or God (William Lane Craig, “Has the Multiverse Replaced God?,” https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/existence-nature-of-god/has-the-multiverse-replaced-god/).
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