Spider-Man: Far From Home
Spider-Man: Far From Home improves on the downfalls of Homecoming with more action and adventure, but struggles balancing its characters with a lifeless story that borrows from other MCU films. Tom Holland is ultimately a likable, yet air-headed Spider-Man that has no plans of maturing.
Spider-Man: Far From Home marks the official end of the Infinity Saga, concluding an epic chapter of the MCU by capping off any unanswered questions from Endgame, while looking into the future of the next Phase of Marvel movies.
As an MCU entry, Far From Home is one of the worst cinematic outings yet, falling somewhere near Iron Man 3 and Spider-Man: Homecoming. As a Spidey film, Far From Home sits right above Homecoming and Spider-Man 3 as one of the weakest efforts from Sony.
On the plus side, Far From Home learns a great deal from Homecoming‘s shortcomings, with director Jon Watts at the very least adding a little bit of fun and excitement to the film, with more action and globe-trotting adventure that makes the film feel fresh and different from its predecessor.
Unfortunately, Watts hasn’t learned a thing from Homecoming in regards to how to shoot an action sequence. Homecoming felt grounded and like a rebirth, which made sense, yet still failed to capture the web-slinging tactics of our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Far From Home has more action, but continues to rely on shoddy special effects and no real use of fluid camera movement or placement.
There is one sequence towards the end that finally feels like a true Spider-Man sequence and I won’t spoil it, but I will say that it feels long overdue.
The rest of Far From Home is a bipolar assortment of occasionally great, but mostly just okay moments. Tom Holland is a great Peter Parker/Spider-Man in the sense that he’s childish and funny, yet willing to step up. The problem that his character faces is that he was introduced as a secondary character and since then has mostly been a complete joke.
This version of Peter Parker is occasionally smart, but also majorly stupid. Yes, he’s a high schooler, but his general decision-making skills are more equivalent to an elementary student and not someone that is able (or almost able?) to drive a motor vehicle. He made some foolish mistakes in Homecoming and he learned absolutely nothing from them, thus continuing the trend by making even larger moronic decisions in Far From Home.
Marvel is pushing hard for Spider-Man to be one of the next stable MCU draws, yet they continue to undermine everything that he does and it’s starting to show.
One thing that Homecoming did really well was establish Spider-Man’s supporting characters, like Ned, Happy, Aunt May and fellow classmates. Too bad Far From Home mostly screws them up. Ned is now just a gag character that pops up frequently to drop a joke or two, while Aunt May gives one or two lines of encouragement, which isn’t too different than from previous iterations, but a major step back from her charming embrace in Homecoming.
Happy does step into the fatherly/uncle role and it works quite well. Jon Favreau has a likable approach to the character of Happy that has definitely matured over the years. There’s a (forced) scene between Happy and Peter that works on a bonding level, but not on the level that Marvel wants it to work on — yes that makes little sense, but I’m trying to avoid spoilers as much as possible.
Also on the plus side is the furthering of Peter’s relationship with MJ. I did not care for Zendaya‘s performance in Homecoming, but I found her performance in Far From Home to be more fitting. Her chemistry with Holland works in a weird kind of way and it made the film so much easier to watch during its slower moments.
Jake Gyllenhaal jumps into the Marvel universe with a great performance that is hindered on a poorly written character. There’s a lot of debate about Mysterio’s intentions and while I won’t tell you what they are, I will tell you that they’re predictable, boring and borrowed from another MCU film.
I like the character in other forms of media, but I was really disappointed by how Watts and his writers decided to handle him here. Gyllenhaal is not the problem — he’s just doing the best with what he’s given.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is the 5th film featuring Tom Holland as Spider-Man and yet there are still so many problems with how Marvel/Sony are handling this version of Spider-Man. I’m all for change and mixing things up, but not at the sacrifice of telling a good Spider-Man story. Far From Home struggles trying to close one chapter and start another, without losing focus on the characters at hand.
Jon Watts continues to prove that he’s a great actor’s director, getting truly magnetic moments out of his performers, but failing to construct an action sequence that doesn’t feel like a 15 year-old made it on YouTube. The costume design is minimal and far from ground-breaking, aside from the Iron Spider suit, while the overall look and feel of the film grounds itself in boring neutral colors, despite being shot on-location in some of the most beautiful places in the world.
Admittedly, my problems with Far From Home extend past the film onto the character’s handling itself, as well as Sony and Marvel’s inability to make something great that doesn’t completely rely on the likes of Iron Man or the rest of the MCU and that might make this review slightly unfair.
Yet last year’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse managed to steal the show and become the best version(s) of Spider-Man ever to appear on-screen.
Far From Home never had to beat that landmark, but it at minimum should have been able to be a better version of Homecoming and it’s not really even that. It gets points for improving in some areas, but then turns around and fails in others.
As far as I’m concerned, Spider-Man: Far From Home is yet another disappointing blockbuster that is absolutely killing the vibes of Summer 2019.