Spider-Man: Far From Home Is Far From Perfect
So the only people more worried about Spider-Man: Far From Home than the fans are the producers, as this movie has a lot of things to do in the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame. The writers have to address the events of that last movie and then try and bridge a gap before the start of the next “phase” of films from the studio. Writing that sentence is strange, as films having “phases” still seems weird. However, when we deal with Marvel or Disney, or whoever is in charge, we need to know about the “phases”, so I guess this Spidey sequel might be the start of Phase 4 or the end of Phase 3. If you are up to speed on the “phase” let me know in the comments,
As expected, Spider-Man: Far From Home gets straight to the point, with Peter’s high school info-dumping everything we need to know about the reappearance of half their pupils after Endgame. It’s done in such a comedic fashion, though, that the darkness of that whole Thanos epic seems quite flippant now. I’m thinking that was probably a decision made early on in production, as Marvel fans have had to endure a roller coaster ride in the last couple of movies; the decision to go light might have been a good idea, even though it does feel like it cheapens the whole event by delivering the exposition in such a frivolous way.
Anyway, on with the film as Peter and his Breakfast Club co-stars all embark on a science tour of Europe. However, the appearance of strange elemental creatures causing havoc in major cities soon becomes Peter’s problem when Nick Fury shows up and needs his help.
Now, this is a spoiler-free review, so once we are by with the trailer footage, you are on your own, but you probably already know that Jake Gylenhall appears as Mysterio, a new super kid on the block, tracking down the creatures and bumping into Spider-Man on the way.
Tom Holland, an excellent Peter Parker, is his usual charming and likable self, and to be honest his personality really carries a lot of the film. He is funny, endearing and believable, and can also do the dramatic stuff too when required. Trouble is, the whole first hour of this film is really just a teen comedy; the first film also drifted quite comfortably down this route, and this time they really pile it on.
Peter’s school friends all take front and center stage, as we see Ned slowly falling for Betty, Flash rejoicing in all things Spider-Man while digging at Peter, and grown-up Brad making a play for MJ, with Peter too busy fighting monsters to have time to compete. It’s all fine, if you enjoy that kind of thing, but as an old hack at this, I think I prefer my Spider-Man a bit more superhero-y.
It takes a long time for Spider-Man: Far From Home to kick into gear, and admittedly when it does get going, there are some great action set pieces. Mysterio has a great new take on his comic book counterpart, and he is, for me, probably the best part of the movie. However, I can not be the only person in the world to have seen this film and known exactly what was happening from the first reel.
The whole plot that seems to rely on a second act reveal is so transparent that I actually thought at one point they were playing us all; that it simply wouldn’t take that path. But it did. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the whole film is merely a set up for the third Spider-Man outing, that may raise the stakes a bit and lose the teen comedy vibe that they have been running with.
The fact of Far From Home is there is not much plot going on here, and it seems the team behind the project were much happier doing the comedy romance teen movie than they were with doing a superhero movie. There is just so much attention given to the low-key European vacation story that by the time you get to the final act, you could almost forget what you were watching.
It’s a shame really, but Marvel has had a lot of success with humor; just compare Thor’s first outing to Ragnarok, and you can see an incredible shift in tone for the character, and Guardians Of The Galaxy Volumes 1 and 2 seem to be comedy films first, and sci-fi superhero movies second. It’s perhaps understandable why a funny approach to Spider-Man seems normal now. Those films all did incredible box office numbers, and at the end of the day folks, Disney wants your money and will keep producing the films that they know will work as long as they can.
Far From Home is entertaining and fun, the cast is great, the writing clever, and the action scenes are exciting. Sure it has a slow start, a paper-thin plot, and some storyline choices that I can’t discuss here, some of which make no sense. But it’s still a good Marvel movie. Problem is, I think a lot of people want a great Marvel movie.
There are two end credit sequences that you have to sit through, but it’s best you do this, and if you like, grab a copy of Spider-Man #13 by Lee and Ditko and see Mysterio’s first appearance. It’s a blast.