REVIEW: “Spider-Man: Far From Home”; It’s Spidey’s “European Vacation”
Welcome, webslingers! Just like the Griswald family’s second vacation, this movie is just not as good as the original. I loved Spider-Man: Far From Home, but this one just did not do it for me and I just felt that it had a lot of problems…
Let me start out with the good. Tom Holland. Holland is just the absolute perfect blend of Peter Parker and Spider-Man. In regards to the MCU, I think he captures the essence of who Spider-Man is from the comics more than any other actor portraying superheroes out there. Peter is still new to the whole superhero business and still just a kid in high school. And again, Holland does such an excellent job of showing just how cool he thinks everything is and still a little intimidated by the more senior-ranked superheroes.
Mysterios’ illusions! WOW! They so got this one so right! There were a few particular scenes that showcase Mysterio’s powers, and damn, were they fantastic. I’m all about being as comic book accurate as much as possible, and someone definitely did their homework on Mysterio. And Jake Gyllenhaal does a really good job as Mysterio… for the most part. And I will give credit to Sony and Marvel for taking two somewhat lame villains in Spider-Man’s comics and making them very cool and interesting villains. They did that with the casting of Michael Keaton in Homecoming, and now they have repeated it with Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio in Far From Home. And I just love Mysterio’s costume. I never thought that a guy with a fishbowl on his head would work on the big screen, but was I ever wrong about that.
OK, now for the bad.
Big SPOILER ahead, so be warned.
Someone must really love The Incredibles, because Mysterio was basically a carbon copy of Syndrome. This was the exact same story! In The Incredibles, Syndrome used his technology to create dangerous scenarios for the people of Metroville and would swoop in pretending to be the hero. Mysterio did the exact same thing in Far From Home! Did not one person on the Far From Home set at some point say, “Hey! You know what? This kind or reminds me of The Incredibles!” I’m sorry, but that is just some lazy writing and a bit of plagiarism.
And since I’m talking SPOILERS here, what the hell was Tony thinking having built hundreds of those deadly drones? Didn’t he learn anything after Ultron? Kind of made him look like he was still very irresponsible before his death.
End of SPOILERS.
This movie feels more like a James Bond film, with a dash of European Vacation and Eurotrip, than it does a Spider-Man movie. Can we have just a Spider-Man movie? My biggest issue with these particular Spider-Man movies has always been that Spider-Man comes off as Iron Man’s lackey. Even though Iron Man is dead, he still casts a pretty big shadow in Far From Home. And Spider-Man should not be the next Iron Man, he needs to be just Spider-Man. In all of these movies, Spider-Man has relied a little too much on STARK Technology. It is Peter being bit by a radioactive spider and the powers that he received from that moment that makes him Spider-Man, not Karen, Edith, Alexa or Siri.
The big threats in this movie are called The Elementals, which each harness the power of fire, water, air and earth. The Elementals are basically a bunch of uninspired giant monsters, displaying no personality whatsoever. They are kind of like four annoying video game bosses that are totally forgettable.
Whatever happened to Spider-Man being humorous and witty? There is not one moment in this film when we get to see Spider-Man perform some of his classic humorous banter with villains. That scene in the trailer, where a police officer asks Spider-Man, “Are you going to be the next Iron Man?”, and then Spider-Man replies, “Well, no. I’m too busy doing your jobs”. Guess what? That scene is not even in this movie. And as far as the humor goes, I’ve seen a lot better in most MCU movies. Some humor doesn’t work at all. And I hate to say it, but this film is boring at times. And like I said previously, it is just not original.
One of the best parts in Homecoming is Peter’s interactions with his best friend Ned, played by Jacob Batalon, and it’s kind of non-existent in this one. Why would you separate such a good team? Because that’s exactly what they do in this movie. They have Peter fawning over MJ, played by Zendaya, and Ned getting a girlfriend. I felt that there was real magic and chemistry between the two of those characters and actors in the previous movie and it’s just not there this time around. Ned and his girlfriend have no chemistry. Peter and MJ have no chemistry. Would have been a much better movie if it was Peter and Ned again and have MJ miss the plane or something. And for the life of me, I don’t know why anyone would be fighting over MJ in this one. She is just as annoying in this movie as she was in the previous one. Kind of like boys fighting over Debbie Downer.
And even though this is only the second Spider-Man movie in this franchise, it seems like in every movie, Peter makes a mistake, realizes what a fool he was, and then attempts to correct that mistake in the last act of the film. I’m afraid that this is always going to be the formula in these movies. It just doesn’t make Peter look too bright. But I guess going forward, he has MJ to do all of the thinking and problem solving for him.
One nit-picky issue that still bothers me about this MCU Spider-Man is that it seems that he has his mask off way more than he has it on. That’s OK with Iron Man, and a little OK with Captain America, but not Spider-Man. And it’s painfully obvious that Sony and Marvel keep having him take his mask off so that we can see Tom Holland under the mask, but that’s not Spider-Man.
Which then brings me to his costumes. When Spider-Man first made his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War, the one thing that people instantly raved about was his costume. They hit a home run with that design. It was not perfect, but it was pretty damn good. But in this one, we get the Iron Spider costume from Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. He used that in those films, he doesn’t need it anymore. Just go back to the red and blue one. And he does use that one in this film, but blink, and you’ll miss it. Then SHIELD gives him this black costume so that people wont realize that it is Spider-Man in Europe. How could anyone not know that was not Spider-Man, with the same eye gizmos and him shooting webs? He looks more like some thief on some jewel heist than he does a superhero. Then later, we get this new red and black costume that you have seen in most of the movie posters. It’s better than those other two, but just give us the red and blue one. Maybe all of these different designs are so that kids can buy more action figures?
When people go to see a Hulk movie, they want to see 80% Hulk and 20% Banner, and they have always given us the exact opposite, and that’s why those movies fail. Same thing goes with Spider-Man. We want to see Spider-Man, in costume, a good costume, with his mask on, and definitely not him wearing a harlequin mask with a backpack on.
Can we just have Nick Fury retire already? I’m sure that Samuel L. Jackson loves these movies, because it’s got to be making the guy richer than he already is, but enough of him. I always found SHIELD to be the most uninteresting parts of the MCU movies, and I still do. Spider-Man definitely does not need to take orders from SHIELD and I do think he is better off on his own. These last few movies could have literally been called “Captain Marvel and Nick Fury” and “Spider-Man and Nick Fury”.
There are two after credit scenes. Surprisingly, they are both very good and I even suggest that you wait all the way to the very end to watch the second one. There is a pretty big cliffhanger in the first after credit scene, and the second one has a very shocking reveal that kind of changes how you see the whole film. Unfortunately, there is no Stan Lee cameo and Endgame may have been the last one for Stan.
As far as a sequel goes, Spider-Man: Far From Home is just not a very good one. I give it points for not being an exact copy of Homecoming, but it loses points from taking from other, more enjoyable movies. Tom Holland is great as always as Peter and Spider-Man and Jake Gyllenhaal does a pretty awesome job as Mysterio, but the rest of the cast is so-so, and kind of forgettable. Nice job to the genius who brought in JB Smoove and then wasting him and not having him provide any comedy at all. Just too much Peter, and not enough Spider-Man.
I’m concerned that we may be seeing a trend of Peter always messing up and then redeeming himself by the end of the movie. I think it’s time for a new director, new writers, and for Peter to forever leave the shadow of Iron Man and go off on his own. This feels more like a DC movie than an MCU movie, and I think by now, we kind of expect more when we see the Marvel logo show up during the opening credits. Hate to say it, but Spider-Man: Far From Home is, more like, far from good.