Film Review – Spider-Man: Far From Home
Spider-Man: Far From Home
Just a couple of months separated from the release of Avengers: Endgame, we’re back to pick up the pieces in a Starkless world through the prism of our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Far from Home. Not that he’s particularly interested in being our tour guide…
Tom Holland returns as Peter Parker in more ways than one, and is in dire need of a vacation. A school trip to Europe seems to be just the solution, not to mention an opportunity to finally confess his feelings for MJ (Zendaya). To truly be free, of course, Peter is intent on leaving his suit at home and avoiding the call of Nick Fury. (Samuel L. Jackson complaining of being ghosted is the summer scene you didn’t know you needed.)
While I’d argue spending two hours with Peter posting Instagram stories and stammering his way through pained flirtations would be a blast, the MCU knows and delivers its bread and butter, albeit on a refreshingly lower scale.
Returning director Jon Watts doesn’t shy away from the ramifications of the Thanos snap and its reversal, but is not bogged down by them either, offering a sequel just as fun and breezy as Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Moving away from Queens, NY, Far From Home offers gorgeous new backdrops for Spidey to tussle in. Almost immediately upon arriving in Europe, he must fend off Elementals, pesky critters taking the form of earth, wind and fire (not the band, sadly). How he manages to keep his identity secret amidst a gaggle of teachers and classmates leads to some big laughs, as does the return of Jacob Batalon as best bud Ned, working in an entirely different mode than Homecoming here, just as successfully.
Providing assistance in his battle with the Elementals are a pair of recently-bestowed high tech spectacles dubbed “EDITH” (wait ’til you hear what it stands for), a sort of Alexa for crime fighters, and the appearance of Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), imported in from an alternate dimension to seemingly help thwart this new evil.
I don’t think I’m stepping out of line when divulging Mysterio’s motivations are not what they first appear to be, but am pleased to report his arc is much more interesting than baddies of Marvel past. Gyllenhaal nails the pathos needed in order for us to sympathize, a quality all too often missing from our summer tentpoles.
Proceedings are bogged down a little once the film settles into the CGI fog it apparently must, but the action is cohesive enough that it never becomes the headache-inducing chore that have often derailed its predecessors.
A dizzying sprawl of exotic locales (including London, Venice, Prague and Berlin), a villain with honest-to-god depth, and our reluctant but plucky hero with something to prove, always something to prove, add up to another winner in the Marvel onslaught, and a sure-footed first step into Phase 4.
Note: My bladder tragically betrayed me but my friend who attended the screening assures me the end-credit stingers are bangers. Hold it if you can!