SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

Can you believe some people actually thought Avengers: Endgame would be the final installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)? I mean, it has “end” right in the title… Ha! You think Disney and Marvel Studios would really stop milking that cow? Of course, there’s more in store! Just because some old heroes are gone doesn’t mean they don’t have 500 new ones in store to continue on with. What matters is the overall story, though, and if there’s still more that can be told, why not continue it? Especially when they always make $1,000,000,000. 
 
In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) is literally far from home, as in on a backpacking school trip in Europe. When he and his fellow classmates arrive in Venice, the city is attacked by a giant water monster called an Elemental. Peter tries to fend off the monster, but receives some unexpected assistance in the form of new agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), a guy with a fishbowl head and some cool green smoke laser superpowers. Still grieving over the death of Tony Stark/Iron Man and feeling he’s not ready to be his successor, Peter looks to Quentin as a new father figure and next Avenger to save the world. 
 
While Spider-Man: Homecoming was the last Spider-Man film in the MCUSpider-Man: Far From Home feels far more like a sequel to Avengers: Endgame than the last film. The main story here is all about Peter Parker, and really the entire world, dealing with the absence of Tony Stark. Peter now feels alone without a father figure, the first one he was able to have since the death of Uncle Ben. Peter knows all about dealing with death, but this is the first time where a death puts a whole world of responsibilities on his shoulders. He’s constantly harassed by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to help save the world, but Peter just doesn’t feel ready to. He’s only a kid and a neighborhood superhero, feeling like he can’t be anything near any of the other Avengers. I respected how emotional the film got, especially with a very sweet and heartfelt scene between Peter and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) where they talk about Tony and what he meant to them. Holland has some serious acting chops, both in the comedy and drama departments. He has excellent comedic timing and delivery, and he shows a lot of hurt and anguish when the going gets tough. He’s just a terrific actor, all while perfectly embodying Peter Parker and Spider-Man. 
 
All of the performances are excellent across the board. As I said in my Avengers: Endgame review, the one consistent positive thread of the MCU is the perfect casting. For the first time ever in a Spider-Man franchise, the teenagers actually look like *gasp* teenagers! Even better, they actually talk and act like teenagers! They’re insecure, overly emotional, naïve, and constantly trying to be funny with cringeworthy humor. The dialogue and incorporation of technology like Snapchat never felt forced or cheesy. It all felt very natural and that’s what I like about these new Spider-Man films. They feel very grounded and small scale, which just makes the character driven scenes feel that much more real. There’s of course the obligatory relationship with Peter and MJ (Zendaya) throughout the film. While it does feel a bit underdeveloped, they have great chemistry and I found all of their scenes together very endearing. They were a nice contrast to Peter’s friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) and Betty Brant (Angourie Rice) more humorous and lovey-dovey teenage relationship where they’re head over the heels from the moment they touch hands. 
 
The heart and emotion are all there, but I felt the overall plot really wasn’t. The pacing and structure felt really odd, especially the pointless opening scene which just felt thrown in there at the last minute. Maybe it was due to the somewhat globetrotting nature of the story, but the plot felt shoddily stitched together. Maybe that was because of the choppy editing, with a lot of abrupt cuts and a lack of establishing shots, often confusing me of where characters were at. Some of the action is okay at least. I knew what was going on and it’s cool watching Spidey swing around and all that, but it was still a tad confusing when it came to staging. The effects felt quite mediocre, especially an awful shot of a jet flying in, but there are some truly stunning CG setpieces that involve Mysterio’s bad-LSD trip illusions. It was the only time it really felt visually inventive. Mysterio is a pretty cool character aesthetically and power-wise, but I felt he fell was very underwritten. Gyllenhaal is a terrific actor and gets to flex his talents enough here, but his character motivations didn’t really work for me and he felt a bit wasted. 
 
While Spider-Man: Far From Home isn’t quite as strong as its predecessor, it’s still a fun superhero film that hits all of the right beats. You even have a rousing score from Michael Giacchino to really sell all of those heroic moments. The film may be a little clunky, but it has a lot of heart and tells an engaging story about Peter learning to grow up and fully take on the responsibility of being a world saving hero. A lot of people said Avengers: Endgame should have been the official end of Phase 3 of the MCU, but this feels like a more appropriate conclusion. It’s a final goodbye to the old heroes and officially sets our new ones up for future adventures. It’s the end of an old era, but the beginning of a new one. 
 
7/10 

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