Review - Spider-Man: Far From Home (Spoiler Free)
The MCU wraps up phase four with its sequel to 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming, with Far From Home, a co-production between Sony and Marvel Studios. In the time since the first instalment we have had two juggernaut Avengers films as well as new heroes such as Black Panther and Captain Marvel, so how does this new Spidey flick fair after all that?
Going into both this and the film's predecessor Homecoming, I've had to keep an open mind, just because I've always loved the world of Spider-Man so much. The 90s cartoon show along with the Sam Rami movies had a big impact on me, so the MCU had some big shoes to fill. But while these films may not be my Spider-Man, they are certainly a lot of fun.
Just as Homecoming picked up straight after Captain America: Civil War, Far From Home has the big task of picking up after Avengers: Endgame. It's a big job and definitely a theme of the MCU version of Spider-Man, who has technically appeared in five Marvel movies, despite only having two of his own. In order to guarantee success, the character is aided by story points from bigger movies, which both solidifies Tom Holland's web-slinger in the Marvel universe but at the same time hinders the world of Spider-Man to not exploring all its possibilities.
The film opens to a post-credit like sequence, introducing Mysterio to agents Nick Fury and Maria Hill before cutting to a bizarre music slideshow of the characters we lost in Endgame. The slideshow turns out to be a part of Peter's high school news programme presented by one of his friends Betty Brant. It's a very bold opening and continues the lighthearted, casual tone of the film, that reminded me a lot of Deadpool, which could be good and bad if this franchise wants to set itself apart.
Endgame was great for how seriously it took itself, but it is unfortunate the studio feels it immediately needs to lighten the mood, just because of the sombre end to the last film. May's relaxed attitude to Peter as Spider-Man along with the jokey nature of Peter being recruited to help save the world, robs the film of any big drama or stakes to set the story up.
That being said the film certainly continues the high school and teen romp tone of the first, with director Jon Watts and writer Chris McKenna giving us some funny and clever lines. This is especially evident in the after effects of "the snap" in Endgame, which is now titled "the blip" by many of our characters.
The humour and light hearted story of the first half of the film will dictate how much you enjoy it, especially when you think of a similar franchise- Ant-Man. That too saw Chris McKenna on writing duty for its second instalment, which also followed the devastating effects of another Avengers film- Infinity War.
While my audience loved a lot of the new gags and others that have been shown repeatedly in the trailers, the first have half of the movie feels very manufactured- playing out beat for beat like its advertisements. Although there are some scenes absent that were in the trailers, it's a bit disappointing considering the clever marketing of Endgame earlier this year they didn't keep that up here.
Now, of course, those who have not seen or avoided advertising for this film will be more pleasantly surprised, however it is still evident that the film is zooming along to get to the first action scene.
The saving grace of Far From Home is both the love story between Peter and MJ and of course Mysterio. The latter of which, as the name suggests is pretty shrouded in mystery, so going in, my opinion on the film greatly hindered on how well they pulled off this massive character. I'm happy to say they nailed many aspects of the character and that a particular turning point in the film involving Mysterio/Quentin Blake (played by the great Jake Gyllenhaal) really sets the film into motion giving it bigger purpose and more drama.
Credit too has to go to Tom Holland and Zendaya who plays Michelle/ MJ who both really help sell the chemistry and realism of their relationship. MJ's awkward and nervous demeanour is really endearing and refreshing for a blockbuster of this type to represent a teenage relationship in such a realistic way.
The visuals and action sequences are what is expected in a film of this type, with nothing particularly groundbreaking, bar the fun VFX used to sell us Mysterio and his powers. The characters look is very faithful to the comics and fans will really love what we get, with a lot of help from Michael Giacchino's thematic score. It is slightly disappointing the whole soundtrack has the tendency to be drowned out by its explosive action, but at the same time, Giacchino is retreading a lot of the same ground from Homecoming, so there's not a whole lot of new material.
As for the supporting cast, Sam Jackson and Colby Smulders are fun as usual as Fury and Hill, who are both particularly noteworthy in the film, especially if you stick around for the end credits.
Jacob Batalon and Angourie Rice add a lot of the films funniest moments thanks to their character's Ned and Betty beginning to date, with a particularly great recurring joke in the Ferris wheel sequence, which could spawn a new hero in the MCU?
The film's closing finale is a very fun and inventive sequence with some great emotional payoffs and world-changing end credit scenes. They hint at an interesting direction for the franchise and the MCU as a whole. While this is a spoiler free review, it's worth mentioning the post-credit scenes do touch on a lot of themes and plot elements we have seen in the past, bar some noteworthy surprise cameos (which I for one cheered for).
Overall Spider-Man: Far From Home, acts as a strong sequel to its first outing, but perhaps a mediocre or just simple light-hearted follow up to Endgame. The film really comes into its own halfway through, with Mysterio and the MJ relationship being the strongest aspects of this fun film. Hopefully, the future will be bright for Tom Holland's Spider-Man, breaking free from the Iron Man/ Avengers comparisons and becoming its own story.