Spider-Man: Far From Home was released in theaters this past week, and so far it has been pretty well-received. Film critics and moviegoers alike have been praising the film regarding everything from its originality and ability to be a stand-alone Spidey flick, to the more-than-decent job it did at playing “cleanup” after we had our hearts torn open (again) from Avengers: Endgame. Currently, it’s sitting at a comfortable 96% fan rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and for the most part I personally agree with the overall consensus.
Also, I should say right now, SPOILERS AHEAD!
Honestly, when I walked out of the theater when the movie was over, I didn’t feel the excitement or joy that I typically feel after seeing an MCU film (especially Spider-Man). I didn’t hate it or dislike it, but I didn’t love it either. I feel like a lot of the reason I had a difficult time attaching myself emotionally to Far From Home was simply due to being a little burned out on the MCU. With Endgame just hitting so many good beats, it was hard to wrap my head around the fact that there was still one more film before the curtains close on Phase 3. However, after giving the film a few days to marinate, I’m beginning to like it more and more. So, let’s dive into a few of the film’s aspects that I thought worked well.
Playing “Cleanup” After Avengers: Endgame
It’s an incredibly tough gig for any MCU film to follow up an Avengers film, and obviously Endgame is no exception. Not only did Far From Home have to deal with the fallout and life-after-death regarding Steve, Tony, Natasha, and Vision, but it had to address one of the fattest elephants in the room: Why the fuck are Ned and Peter still in high school!?!?!?
The whole “How do they handle life after being brought back from being dusted” was maybe one of the biggest questions we as fans were left with after Endgame. We pretty much all assumed that they would use Far From Home as an opportunity to explain the logistics of everything, but it was simply a matter of “how”. I personally had an inkling that they would take the quick and dirty approach (as they did), mostly because of how they handled a certain event that took place in Spider-Man: Homecoming. If you recall the trailer, you see a bored Peter Parker in class, obviously distracted by a video on his phone, which captured the events at the airport in Civil War. The big question here was “Who TF took that video?!” To some folks, it was pretty obvious that Peter set it up, being a photographer himself. And this of course turned out to be true, and was addressed almost immediately within the first 5-10 minutes of the film. The same happened with FFH: Within the first few minutes, we learn that they now refer to the incident of half the population being dusted, then reappearing again, as “The Blip”. I was a little perplexed by how the events of “The Blip” weren’t discussed more than they were during the film, but I wasn’t too worried about that. One thing I’ve really liked about this latest incarnation of Spider-Man is it’s ability and courage to skip over unnecessary details, and trim the fat when needed. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I could handle watching uncle Ben die AGAIN.
The Action Sequences and CG
The second thing(s) I really enjoyed about FFH were all the action scenes, and the cool CG. The MCU’s tendency to overuse campy CG and green screen effects was really starting to bother me. It was getting to a point where it was taking me out of the movie, because I could just tell so easily they were on a soundstage, and not an actual location. This is something I feel FFH improves upon. Even though it uses its fair share of of CG, it’s really good in places where it is utilized. Possibly one of my favorite moments though, when it came to CG, was the scene where Peter starts designing his new suit, using the “Iron-Man-like” tools that we’ve all come to know and love. What was so great about that scene is that, not only did it look super cool, but it was a confirmation to viewers that Peter decided to step up. Not in an attempt to replace Iron Man, but to be a small part of the continuation of Stark’s legacy AS WELL AS your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
Now, on to the action. I personally felt like there were a few callbacks to the PS4 Spider-Man game, especially when it came to the action sequences, and the final battle was no exception. These were a lot of fun to watch, coming from a huge fan of the video game. And of course, there were several mentions of his “Peter Tingle” throughout the movie, so when Peter finally gets his groove back and takes out all those Stark drones, it was nothing short of epic.
Of course I wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t criticise the film at least a little bit. So if you didn’t find any faults in the film, maybe just skip this part.
Maybe the biggest issue I had with it was that it was missing a lot of what made the first film so great. Homecoming had a lot going for it: it was the first solo outing for our newest incarnation of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. It had a lot of charm, especially when it came to getting to know Peter’s character. However, I think the biggest gap between Homecoming and FFH has to do with each film’s respective villains. Jake Gyllenhall did a wonderful job as Quentin Beck/Mysterio, and I do not feel in any form or fashion he half-assed his performance. But damn, following Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Vulture is certainly a tough gig. Let’s just say that it’s going to be a while before I can get the scene out of my head where Keaton looks at Holland through the rear-view mirror, and says “Good ole Spider-Man!”. Gives me chills just thinking about it.
Additionally, the whole “Quentin turning out to be a bad guy because he hated Tony Stark” thing felt a little…lazy. On one hand, it was definitely neat to see the film’s writers weave into the storyline some of the old characters, as well as the Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing (or B.A.R.F.) system from Captain America: Civil War. But on the other hand, the whole thing kind of felt cheap and second-hand. We as MCU fans have experienced this thing before, where we get our bad guys from a collection of people that Tony Stark wronged once upon a time, several hundred years ago. I was never a huge comic book reader, but from what I’ve heard Mysterio’s MO is not too far off in the film from what actually occurs in the comics. In a nutshell, Mysterio loves to make himself look like the good guy, and Spider-Man look like garbage. Naturally, I understand why the writers would gravitate towards making Quentin a vengeful ex-Stark Industries employee, especially given the timing of the film. But as I said earlier, it just felt a little overused and tired.
Well, there you have it. My amazing review of Spider-Man: Far From Home; the review you didn’t ask for, nor wanted. Please don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube. And remember: Be kind, stay geeky, and eat lots of cheesecake!