‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ is a Serviceable Post-Endgame Diversion
In many ways, Spider-Man: Far From Home may be this year’s Ant-Man and the Wasp. The comparison should be taken in the best way possible. The pair of Marvel sequels were both tasked to follow a four-course cinematic phenomenon. And as satisfying as Avengers: Endgame was a few short months ago, the three-hour conclusion was an emotionally draining experience for moviegoers. Fortunately, Spider-Man: Far From Home plays more as a lighter epilogue to Marvel’s franchise-altering Phase Three.
It’s been eight months since half of humanity was restored back to life. For the most part, life has moved on after the temporary cataclysm. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) continues to mourn the loss of the fallen Avengers, particularly Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Despite being Iron Man’s spiritual successor, Peter desires to still be an ordinary teenager. His school organizes a class trip across Europe, hoping to normalize the students’ lives once again. With Elemental creatures (specifically fire and water) on the loose, Peter is recruited by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to team up with mysterious hero, Quentin (Jake Gyllenhaal) to put down the threat.
Given Peter’s evolving relationship with Tony since Captain America: Civil War, we needed to watch how Spider-Man would cope after Endgame. Jackson’s Fury spends most of Spider-Man: Far From Home, lecturing Peter to step it up. There’s a legacy to carry on into Marvel’s Phase Four and Spider-Man needs to kick it into high gear. The internal conflict weighs on him throughout most of the film. It would be as effective if the script wasn’t breaking every time for some awkward adolescent romance. Peter faces that will they, won’t they romance with MJ (Zendaya), which is perfectly fine is small doses. But the screenplay by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers forces in an unnecessary love triangle. There’s also a few more blossoming relationships added in between the supporting characters.
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It’s a good while before Spider-Man: Far From Home actually gets to swing. At first, McKenna and Sommers overstuff the sequel with consistently awkward humor. Though, running gags of Peter “ghosting” Fury are a welcoming exception. Teen romance is even prioritized over the legacy arc at times. It’s a shame, because that’s where the strength of Spider-Man: Far From Home is found. Holland works best with Gyllenhaal’s Quentin, later dubbed Mysterio by Peter’s classmates. Fans of Spider-Man might be taken aback by Mysterio’s heroics. The change is vastly different from his comic book counterpart. The film portrays Mysterio as a soldier from an alternate reality in the Multiverse. Thanos’ actions ripped apart space and time, allowing the Elementals to assault our Earth as well. Gyllenhaal tries his best at being another mentor figure for Peter. However, the film’s drifting focus strays from the direction to achieve greater objectives.
After the John Hughes’ tone in Spider-Man: Homecoming, director Jon Watts doesn’t trade it in for a suitable replacement. It’s difficult to pinpoint what sort of identity Spider-Man: Far From Home is searching for. It’s the third MCU film in under four months. If we count the remarkable Into the Spider-Verse, this is the fourth film in a year to feature Spider-Man. Only so much of the film manages to stand out from the pack in the long run.
It’s breezy yet slightly inconsequential like Ant-Man and the Wasp, though bold in several of its choices like Iron Man 3. Eventually, Marvel’s Spider-Man installments will need to move past the influence of Iron Man. Holland is a fine Peter Parker and Spider-Man. But the next chapter has to let him carry the film solely on his shoulders. After two of the MCU’s most intriguing teases yet during the credits, the sky’s the limit for Holland’s iteration of Spider-Man.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is an entertaining and serviceable epilogue, ultimately passing the torch to the next generation of superheroes. While it doesn’t always web-shoot where necessary, there’s still promise in the future of this Sony and Marvel collaboration.