Is 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' Any Good? Here's What The Reviews Say
SNAP BACK TO REALITY

Digg · Updated:

Time to shake off whatever post-"Endgame" theater fatigue you have, because Peter Parker's back for his second MCU star outing in director Jon Watts' "Spider-Man: Far From Home" (out July 2). Does this movie manage to tie up the franchise's hanging threads, set up more films and *still* tell a good "Spider-Man" story?​ Here's what the reviews have to say:

"AVENGERS: ENDGAME" SPOILERS AHEAD

Peter & Friends Are Off To Europe, And It's Not Long Before Spider-Man Crosses Paths With Nick Fury And Mysterio

Far From Home plucks Peter Parker (Tom Holland) out of his familiar New York neighborhoods and drops him in the idyllic European locales of Venice, Prague, and London. Eager to take a break from his superhero duties and finally confess his feelings to the taciturn MJ (Zendaya), Peter ignores Nick Fury's calls and jets off to a glamorous European vacation with his science class that no New York public school should be able to afford.

[SlashFilm]

But Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) has other plans for him: a terrifying storm-like force called an "elemental" is reducing various cities to rubble and so far the only combatant ranged against it is newcomer Quentin Beck (Gyllenhaal) from another dimension, who wears a helmet like an opaque fishbowl and whom the Italian media fatefully dub: "l'uomo del mistero".

[The Guardian]


On An In-Universe And Meta Level, 'Far From Home' Deals With What Comes Next For The MCU

Is half of Peter's high school class five years older now? When the missing people reappeared, how did this happen? Did people just reappear in houses that had been sold to other people? All of these questions are answered pretty early on in a lighthearted tone that equals those Captain America PSAs from Homecoming that social media still loves so much. Yes, Spider-Man: Far From Home was kind of dealt a, let's say, complicated hand and turned it into something funny and clever.

[UPROXX]

It was probably only a matter of time before the MCU produced a superhero movie that can be easily read as an allegory about the challenge of continuing to make additional superhero movies. Characters in Spider-Man: Far From Home talk openly about whether certain new feats of supervillainy constitute an Avengers-level threat to the world.

[AV Club]


Holland Continues To Make The Case For Being The Best Live Action Spidey, By Way Of Playing A Believable Teen

Holland is an Energizer Bunny of a performer, but this time he gets to dip into Peter's vulnerability as he's never done before — making mistakes and endangering people's lives because of his immaturity. Far From Home finally allows Peter to be a teenager as previous incarnations rarely did, while not taking away from the deeper impact of his existential crisis.

[SlashFilm]

Watching Peter experience grief, stress, and guilt over his role in this new reality is pretty difficult stuff, but in Holland's hands the emotional journey Peter takes feels natural and relatable.

[Mashable]

Jake Gyllenhaal Makes Mysterio, A Character That No 'Spider-Man' Movie Has Dared To Try, Work Wonderfully

He and Tom develop a real chemistry here and it's really the backbone of the film in a lot of ways. Jake is one of those capital-T thespians who always goes out of his way to court a challenge. In other A-list but less capable hands, Far From Home could very easily fall apart.

[Complex]

Gyllenhaal Gyllenhaals all over Far From Home, adding a potentially illegal amount of charm to every single line reading and gesture. He's so conspicuously charismatic that every character who encounters him appears to have a moment where they come to the realization that Mysterio could beat them with a pillowcase full of bricks and they'd say thank you. And that's how you cast a comic book movie.

[Mashable]

Honestly, I didn't think Mysterio was a character that could be pulled off properly in a movie. As it turns out, if you hire a fantastic actor and let a director who understands Mysterio take a crack at it, it's very possible. Who knew!

[UPROXX]


Samuel L. Jackson Makes A 2019 Marvel Movie Hat-Trick, Giving A Different Energy To Post-'Endgame' Nick Fury

Here the similarly un-snapped Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) plays the part of a weary producer, trying to goad Parker into stepping up and filling the superhero void left by a departed Iron Man.

[AV Club]

For all the confidence Tony had in Peter's abilities to do the right thing, Fury is apprehensive, and Samuel L. Jackson introduces a new kind of exasperated weariness to his performance that feels fresh for the former SHIELD director.

[io9]


Zendaya And The Rest Of The Cast Playing Peter's Classmates Are Just As Good As They Were Last Time

The increased presence of Peter's classmates are a welcome addition — Jacob Batalon's Ned is a sweet scene-stealer as always, and his fast-lived teenage romance with Angourie Rice's Betty Brant is nicely mined for laughs. Zendaya is endlessly charismatic as well, even as she's spouting off "dark" fun facts about death and the Black Dahlia.

[SlashFilm]

Holland and Zendaya are younger than the past Spider-Man leads, but it's still remarkable to see a couple of twentysomethings evoking sweet, genuine teenage awkwardness. At the same time, Watts doesn't overplay the mooniness; unlike the leads of the Amazing Spider-Man movies, these characters actually talk to each other.

[AV Club]

If there weren't twists and turns and acrobatic thrills ballooning the movie to blockbuster status, the cast would still make Far From Home a joy.

[Polygon]


Jon Watts Is Two-For-Two In Shaping His Own Memorable Cinematic Take On Spider-Man To Rival Sam Raimi's

Jon Watts, who returns to direct Far From Home after impressing with Homecoming, delivers some of the most visually inventive action sequences in a Marvel film yet, rivaling the trippy sequences of Doctor Strange with a dynamic, deft direction that becomes a touch surreal. Despite their CGI-heavy nature, the action setpieces rarely threaten to become dull, and their settings at beautiful European locales only lend to their epic nature.

[SlashFilm]

Far From Home is as nimble as movies of this size come, finding tiny bursts of comedy in the frustration of teenhood, and authentic fear in the oversized action sequences required to be a Marvel movie. Watts loves genre, and whether he's aping vacation movies with sightseeing montages set to pop tunes or giving Peter a Danny Ocean heist moment, he's wringing every ounce of moviegoing love into his sequel.

[Polygon]

'Far From Home' Makes Being A Sequel To A Re-Rebooted Comic Adaptation With 20+ MCU Sibling Films Look Easy

Spider-Man: Far From Home is packed with references that speak to that which came before as well as the uncertainty that lies beyond Peter Parker's newest adventure, which makes the fact that the movie also serves as a delightful, self-contained chapter in the book of Marvel even more impressive.

[Mashable]

Not only does the movie have to bring its titular hero back down to Earth from the most epic adventure of his life, it also has the vital job of setting an overarching tone and perspective for the next phase of Marvel's grand cinematic project. The great thing is that the film does all of that and a whole hell of a lot more.

[io9]


TL;DR

It's a big, bold leap for Spider-Man into the future of Marvel's films, and it's got a strong upward swing that easily makes it one of the better Spider-Man movies in the character's history.

[io9]


Watch The Trailer

 



Is The Seth Rogen Comedy 'An American Pickle' Any Good? Here's What The Reviews Say
IN A REAL PICKLE HERE

Digg · Updated:

The movie, which streams on HBO Max on August 6, has an enticing premise: a man gets preserved in a jar in the early 20th century and wakes up 100 years later in contemporary Brooklyn. But does the movie itself live up to its zany plot? Here's what the reviews say.


Seth Rogen Plays Two Men, Herschel Greenbaum, A Man Who Wakes Up After 100 Years In A Pickle Vat, And Greenbaum's Great-Grandson, Ben

An Eastern European labourer named Herschel (Seth Rogen) arrives in America, only to be pickled for 100 years in a factory accident. He awakes in 2020, and moves in with his only surviving relative: great-grandson Ben (also Rogen). Things are going swimmingly — until Herschel wrecks Ben's business, leading to a vengeful game of oneupmanship.

[Empire]

While Hershel is low-key confounded by these modern times (what with interracial dating, women's rights, and the high cost of produce), he is most perplexed by his descendant's priorities. Ben doesn't observe Jewish religious traditions and hasn't visited the family graves in years. He has no wife, no children, and no career that Herschel can comprehend. So tensions rise. In no time at all, the pair declare each other enemies. Herschel strikes out on his own with a pickle cart with wares pulled freegan-style from dumpster diving. Meanwhile, Ben stews over how to ruin his eccentric great-grandfather.

[IGN]


The Movie Probes Into Issues Of Jewish Immigration Identity — Though Perhaps Not Deeply Enough

In its best moments, An American Pickle knows how to thread the needle between fish-out-of-water comedy and retaining a thoughtful look at Jewish ancestry in America, but those moments are few and far between […] Every time the movie has a chance to go deeper, whether it's with immigration or legacy or American comfort or Judaism, An American Pickle skims the surface and moves on.

[Collider]

Made in the midst of a resurgence in blatant anti-Semitism across the US, it's a strange choice for "An American Pickle" to reveal that Herschel's greatest backlash comes from...violent Christians? The movie sidesteps the most alarming aspect of Jewish persecution — its resurgence in public over the last four years — and never even gives Herschel a chance to learn about the Holocaust.

[IndieWire]


As A Comedy, It Sometimes Falls Flat In Delivering Laughs

There are some scattered laughs but it's not particularly funny, and "American Pickle" […] is generally all over the place, aiming to be an abstract comedy about family and religion but losing its way trying to also poke fun at modern culture.

[USA Today]

 [T]he film fails to build its laughs into substantial comic momentum, or even construct many substantial scenes. (Tellingly, one of its funniest is a mid-credits bonus.) As it progresses, the material feels more and more like a series of slightly amusing paragraphs, with sentimentality wedged uncomfortably between flights of satirical whimsy.

[The AV Club]

There are laughs along the way with Herschel and Ben's mirror-image intergenerational, culture-clash roommate bromance. But, inevitably, as with so much high-concept comedy, the real laughs, the ones built on detachment, self-aware flippancy and cynicism, come at the beginning, with the establishment of the premise.

[The Guardian]


The Story's Emotional Beats, However, Manage To Shine Through

 Despite the acrimoniousness of their split, you root for their inevitable reconciliation, which closes the movie on a warm note […] "An American Pickle" is neither the most substantial nor the most sophisticated comedy, but its soulful sweetness outweighs its flaws.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

It may not always succeed as a comedy but as a drama, this is the real dill. Part time-travelling family drama, part idiosyncratic immigrant-adventure comedy, "An American Pickle"'s gags underwhelm, but its emotion and originality will surprise you.

[Empire]

[T]he thread of leaning on family to process grief is touching, and Rogen manages to make Herschel and Ben's longing to connect feel real. The movie is frequently funny, sometimes sweet, and never particularly deep, but it does have a uniquely odd relationship to time that gives it a peculiar extra layer. Call it the proprietary brine.

[Wired]


And Rogen's Charisma Helps To Keep The Audience Entertained, Even When The Rest Of The Movie Falters

[I]t's enjoyable enough to watch the actor single-handedly rescue the high concept surrounding him.

[IndieWire]

Rogen is an always likable actor whose reputation was built largely on playing crude, sophomoric stoners. But there's an inherent sweetness in his screen persona that's been there since the very beginning on "Freaks and Geeks," notably in the affecting story arc in which his befuddled character, Ken Miller, struggled with the revelation of his tuba-playing girlfriend Amy's intersex birth origins. It's a variation on Ken — the tender, passionate bear of a guy occasionally stymied by his blind spots — that steers "An American Pickle" through its narrative rough patches.

[The Hollywood Reporter]


TL; DR

Nothing in "American Pickle" can match the silly storybook fantasy of its opening moments, but they do a good job of getting us hooked. 

[IndieWire]


Watch The Trailer Here


Is The Google Pixel 4A Worth It? Here's What The Reviews Say
NOT PHONING IT IN

Digg · Updated:

The Pixel 4A, which will be released on August 20, is incredibly affordable at $349, but can it compete with other smartphones? Here's what the reviews say.


The Best Feature Of The Phone Is The Camera

[W]hen it comes to photos, the Pixel 4A goes toe-to-toe with the iPhone 11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S20 — and often wins.

[The Verge]

There is no distinguishable difference between the $350 Pixel 4a's and the Pixel 4's camera, a phone that starts at $800. That's incredible, and if you like your photos to look good, it's a major reason why the Pixel 4a should be at the very, very top of your list. 

[Business Insider]


Design-Wise, It's Not The Flashiest Phone

The Pixel has always been a phone that felt a lot nicer than it looked — it's not the most stylish. The Pixel 4a's design is even more basic than ever, though. It comes in Just Black and... that's it. There are no other sizes available, either. Keeping to one size and color was part of Google's strategy to reduce production costs. 

[Engadget]

The word I use most often to describe Pixel hardware is "unassuming." It's basic: no frills, no fanciness, just an easy-to-hold phone without any embellishments. It's a little boring, but at least it isn't tacky.

[The Verge]


But Helpful Software Features Like Live Captioning Might Be Drawing Points For Users

Google's software tends to make up for its basic hardware, and as usual, the company has some helpful tools that make the Pixel experience better than any other Android phone. Most of these have already been announced, like its personal safety and car crash detection feature, Google Docs integration for the Recorder app, as well as adaptive battery management. With the Pixel 4a, though, Google is bringing its Live Caption feature to calls.

[Engadget]

I like Google's bonus software features that it includes on Pixel phones. The voice recorder app is able to transcribe text, for example, and accurately transcribed about 90% of my interview with Google during a Pixel 4a briefing. It just saves me a ton of time that I'd otherwise spend trying to jot everything down. Other unique software features include crash detection, which can automatically call 911 if you get in a car accident.

[CNBC]


The Performance Of The Phone Is Generally Fine, Though It Can Be Slow Sometimes

The Pixel 4a has a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. It's fine and fast enough to keep the phone running smoothly. There are a few hiccups at times, though. I noticed it would stutter while scrolling through long lists, like in Twitter, but that problem generally resolved itself after a few days. Google was aware of this, too, and it may just be that it takes some time for things to store inside the phone's memory.

[CNBC]

Anecdotally, the phone works quickly with most tasks. Unlocking the screen with my fingerprint, launching Assistant and opening apps went off without a hitch. But the Pixel 4A isn't the smoothest phone I handled. After I downloaded Call of Duty and PUBG, I had to restart the phone because both apps stalled while loading.

[CNET]


Some Of The Phone's Drawbacks Are Its Lack Of Wireless Charging And Waterproofness

Google left out one big feature that does matter: water resistance. That would save a phone that was accidentally dunked in a toilet or left out in a storm. So it was disappointing not to have it because durability was another feature that people wanted most in their smartphones.

[The New York Times]

This phone doesn't have some of the premium flourishes, like wireless charging, water resistance, a triple-lens camera, or 5G connectivity. But, it gets the core features so right that those extra flourishes seem irrelevant. 

[Business Insider]


Most Importantly Though, The Phone Is A Great Bargain With Its Cheap Price

The Pixel 4A is about $50 cheaper than its closest competitors and has 128GB of storage, instead of 64GB like years past, so it really is a solid value. And these days, any amount of money that can be saved is crucial.

[CNET]

The Pixel 4A is cheaper than high-end devices largely because it lacks the frills in fancy phones, like wireless charging and a face scanner. But for what you pay, it's a great value. Its camera quality and bright screen are on a par with many of the best smartphones out there.

[The New York Times]


TL; DR

The Pixel 4A is cheap and basic, but most cheap phones don't get the basics right. The Pixel 4A does. And just to remind you: it does so for $349.

[The Verge]


You can pre-order the Pixel 4A at Google Store and BestBuy. And if you're interested in buying a Pixel 4, you can buy one here.


If you buy something through our posts, we may receive a small share of the sale. Please buy a Ferrari. For more of Digg's suggestions on how to spend your money, check out Digg Picks.

Want more stories like this?

Every day we send an email with the top stories from Digg.

'It's the only newsletter that always engages me'
 →  Get the Digg morning newsletter
See a sample

👋 Welcome to Digg

Thanks for creating an account! Your accounts lets you Digg (upvote) stories, save stories to revisit later, and more.


📩 Stay up-to-date

Email will be sent to:

Select the newsletters you’d like to receive. You can change your subscriptions any time in your user settings.

🎉 You’re all set!

Enjoy your new account! As a reminder, you can change your profile and email settings in your profile.

View account