SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

★★★

IN A POST-IRON MAN WORLD, SPIDEY'S STILL THE SAME INSECURE KID

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Jess Fenton
29th June 2019

Well, here we are. It’s taken us 11 years, 23 films, and we’re finally at the end of the Infinity Saga. Have we reached Marvel fatigue yet? This reviewer says - absolutely not! They could make a thousand films and I’d still be screaming for more (she says excitedly mere hours before sitting through ‘Endgame’ again because of the promise of just six extra minutes). But as I’ve recently found out, my opinion is not a common one. It seems my peers have grown tired of the MCU after this latest instalment, or perhaps it’s simply their lust for cinematic perfection, something lacking in ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’. However the more I thought about it, the more I realised it might not just be them. With all of the attention and effort focused these last couple of years on the box office and mind-blowing epic that was ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Endgame’ is it possible that ‘Far From Home’ was left by the wayside, only for a last minute scramble? As an MCU devotee of the last decade, it’s almost impossible to imagine such a travesty considering the sheer amount of detail and coordination that has gone into these 23 films. I find myself, post-viewing, feeling lost, unsatisfied with a hint of redundancy and repetition.

SWITCH: 'SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME' TRAILER 2

It’s now eight months since the victims of the snap have reappeared. The time that passed is now known as The Blip. Those that blipped are now displaced, and those that were school-aged at the time of the snap find themselves in a weird limbo. Is Peter Parker (Tom Holland) 16 or 21? But the more important question everyone seems to be asking is: is he the new Iron Man? Not a small question or proposition. Putting that temporarily aside, Peter heads off to Europe with his classmates including best friend Ned A.K.A. Guy In The Chair (Jacob Batalon) and his latest crush MJ (Zendaya). But after ghosting Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Fury finds Peter in Venice and tasks him with helping newly-appeared superhero Quentin Beck A.K.A. Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal, ‘Nocturnal Animals’) defeat the Elementals while also struggling to keep Peter’s identity a secret. But Peter may not be only one keeping secrets. With the burden of Tony Stark/Iron Man's legacy now on his shoulders, a budding romance between his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) and Happy (Jon Favreau), trying desperately to win the affections of MJ while competing with Brad Davis (Remy Hii, ‘Crazy Rich Asians’), the new bad that seems to be attacking everywhere he’s going on his trip, and one hell of an identity crisis, it’s more than any 16/21-year-old should have to handle.

How to find the balance? Well, it’s not what Marvel and director Jon Watts have done here.

Perhaps since the introduction of ‘The Avengers’ audiences have been spoilt in their viewing pleasures, and perhaps Marvel themselves set the benchmark a little too high. Now audiences expect all subsequent films to match or exceed the size, scope and sheer epicness of those previous films. No easy task. It also means that after watching dozens of our favourite superheroes appear in a single battle at the same time, watching a single kid swinging around the screen seems a little dull. How to find the balance? Well, it’s not what Marvel and director Jon Watts (‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’) have done here. Yes, ‘Far From Home’ is a bit of a mess, but still grand and still enjoyable, if just a little out of its depth. It was an inevitable speed bump in Marvel’s master plan, and it’s just unfortunate that poor Spidey ended up being the sacrificial lamb.

The whole film is a relentless flurry of action and adventure from the get-go, with the man himself sporting no less than four different spider suits (for all the mega fans out there). Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) gets a look-in once again after her very disappointing absence from 99.99% of ‘Endgame’, but she’s wasted on screen, serving little to no purpose. And while this film finally gives us a Peter/MJ love story, it’s all too familiar territory - not because of the characters involved but because we saw Peter pursue a crush in ‘Homecoming’. We also saw him try to balance the student/hero sides of his life then too. This is this Peter Parker’s fifth time on the rollercoaster. We’ve seen him and fell in love with him as the sweet, innocent kid who had greatness thrust upon him and his thirst to be a superhero. He had his shot in the ring - several times in fact - and now we need to see him grow, but they’ve just given us much of the same. We need to know where this is going, not just watch a kid play dress-ups time and time again.

Now for what you really want to know. There are two post-credit scenes and they’re huge, setting up not only the next 'Spider-Man' film but a big plot point in the MCU future. So once those credits start rolling, don’t you dare move!

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