Spoilers for Spider-Man: Far From Home and the rest of the MCU below.
Welcome to my review of Season 3 Episode 11 of the MCU series, “Far From Home.” Oh, this is a movie? Huh. I have been a fan of the MCU since the very begging, but I have to say it is getting very hard to view the MCU as separate movies when each one could fit into the same consistent tone a television show has. It almost feels as if I am just going to a viewing party for a massive budget series like I would for Game of Thrones, and Far From Home is no different. That being said, I do enjoy watching long-running series, but it just does take away from that special movie-watching experience. Far From Home in and of itself, though, is a hit or miss. Some moments were great payoffs for Peter Parker and his story so far, while others missed, to the point of awkwardness.
Tom Holland does a fantastic job as a young Peter Parker, something Toby and Andrew were never able to pull off (don’t start with me, I love the original Spider-Man trilogy. Amazing on the other hand…). However, his Spider-Man is lacking the wise-cracking quality Spidey usual carries. That quality is supposed to be a huge staple in Parker’s arsenal, distracting villains and playing off of them, but it never shows here or really anywhere throughout Spider-Man’s time in the MCU. As for the movie itself, the pacing in the first two acts of this movie is very clunky. We move from one piece to the next, one country to the next, all with poor or no transition. Jokes were being tossed around by every single character who made an appearance, with many getting a chuckle at most or not hitting at all. It especially all feels a little jarring coming off of the events of Endgame. The last Avengers movie has left the MCU in a very odd place. Half of the universe disappeared for five full years just come abruptly come back with no real fix. Far From Home tried to breeze through that aftermath by using fast-paced humor to brush it off, but it just made me scratch my head most of the time. It becomes more consistent in the third act, but that’s when it becomes a generic MCU big final battle so it’s not really a saving grace.
The big advertisement of this movie was Peter grieving the death of his mentor Tony Stark. I know there are many people who are not keen on the Tony-Peter mentorship in the MCU, but I am a big fan of it. Peter is a teenage superhero in the world of the MCU, and Iron Man was the first modern-day superhero. On top of that, Tony Stark is a top-level genius, tech wiz, etc. Of course, Peter is going to look up to him. It’s an organic and natural relationship that has progressed to a father-son bond between the two of them, so to see Peter have to deal with Tony’s death is a great touch. Tony has been such a huge part of Peter’s life, so who is Peter Parker without Tony there to guide him? That question is threaded heavily throughout the movie with great effect.
And, of course, the second biggest piece of this movie was Mysterio. Now, I’m really conflicted by this Mysterio. Jake Gyllenhaal does a great job as the nice guy and newest superhero in town. He and Holland had some good scenes playing off of each other, and you can sense the growing mentor relationship between their characters. Gyllenhaal also does a great job as the loose, unstable villain. Mysterio is menacing when he is in control during the “hologram nightmare” scene. That scene is superbly done and is without a doubt a standout moment not just in this movie but in the MCU as a whole. What ruined this new take on the character for me, was that awful twist. If you have seen anything Spider-Man, you know where Quentin Beck’s true motivations lie going into this movie, but has there ever been a twist that was just so in your face? Beck basically reads off an essay titled “I’m Actually A Villain and Here’s Why” in the most ham-fisted way possible. Also, another disgruntled Stark employee? They can’t think of anything else for these bad guys? This twist had me having PTSD flashbacks to the Iron Man 3 Mandarin twist (which I will never come around on).
As for Peter’s classmates and high school life, I’m tacking them onto the end of the review because that’s how they felt in the movie. Peter is running away from them throughout the movie, which I know is classic Spider-Man, but none of them really felt like they had an integral part of the plot. MJ is there for the obvious classic Spidey romance story, which does pay off by the end, but beyond that, there is nothing for them to do, and shoving Happy in to save Peter’s friends in the third act doesn’t help (and doesn’t help the whole secret identity thing either).
The most talked-about part of the movie is going to be the end credits scenes. Always great to see J. Jonah Jameson played by the great J.K. Simmons. I’m not really sure what direction they’re planning on taking Peter’s story after revealing his secret identity, a great last trick by Mysterio. Peter was the only MCU hero with a secret identity, so that unique trait is about to be lost. As for the Skrull reveal, it looks like were venturing out further into space with the set up of S.W.O.R.D. with Skrull agents. Personally, we’ve been dealing with space a lot lately with Thanos, so I’m a little weary of it. We’ll see where it all goes though.
In the end, Spider-Man: Far From Home has some enjoyable aspects to it, such as dealing with the death of Tony Stark and the threat of Mysterio, but does not quite land the superhero landing (Which coincidentally, neither does Peter as when he goes for his landing he gets nailed with a car door).
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