Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home
Marvel's latest is forgettable fun and a missed opportunity
Spider-Man: Far From Home, like the titular hero, is a smaller movie with a lot on it’s shoulders. Bringing an epic Phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to an end is no easy feat, especially after the events of Infinity War and Endgame. Someone’s gotta do it however, and who better than the franchise’s rising star, Spider-Man.
Homecoming was a brilliant effort from the studio. It created a perfect peek into the world of a modern teen while balancing the lofty Marvel universe. It’s arguably the most relatable film in the franchise, and a wonderful way to ground the larger events of the universe. Much of this was thanks to the incredible writing team and Jon Watts’ brilliant direction, and in Far From Home we are brought back to familiar territory. However, as the film progresses it’s pretty clear that the same magic hasn’t been captured here.
Taking a rich cast and topping it off with Jake Gyllenhaal as Glen Beck, a man from another dimension with plans to protect Peter’s from the same fate, Far From Home aims to take its title literally, pushing Peter and his world to new heights. This isn’t easy for the young hero as he grapples with the loss of Tony Stark, and the fact that despite his hesitancy, the world might need him to be more than a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. It’s a weight that’s ever present for Peter, but rarely felt by the audience.
It’s a shortcoming that comes at no fault of the performers who continue to elevate the film with their unmatched chemistry. They work within the confines of a script that doesn’t seem to reach the heights that’s needed. Far From Home seems to operate on two levels: one filled with marvelous creativity and humor, and the other a stunted mediocrity that seems to rely heavily on gags from Homecoming. Unfortunately the latter seems to win out.
Despite the tone of this review, Far From Home is filled with memorable moments – it might even hold the title for the best opening to a Marvel Studio’s film. The film manages to grapple with the events of Endgame in insanely creative ways. In addition, the romance between MJ and Peter leads to easily the best moments in the film, and seems to be a place that the writers feel most comfortable operating in. It’s the weight of Peter problems and emotions that seems to escape the film. You never care about the larger issues at hand because the film doesn’t seem too concerned with them either.
The biggest take away is this: Marvel Studios has gotten incredibly efficient at creating these films. A mediocre script is wrapped up quite beautifully in stunning effects, engaging camera work, and it works quite well at times. The film is far from a bad film, but it’s far from memorable. It feels like just another plot point in the giant franchise which is unfortunate given the emotional weight the film carries going in after Endgame. The Marvel films were special because as a franchise they offered something engaging each time we stepped out on a new adventure. If this is the “future” of the studio things are bound to get very stale very quick.