Spiderman: Far From Home (2019)
Director: Jon Watts | Runtime: 2h 9mins | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) school vacation is hijacked when Nick Fury recruits him to stop giant elementals terrorising Europe. While trying to balance the loss of Iron Man, saving the world and a new romantic interest in MJ (Zendaya), Peter mistakenly puts his faith in the new hero Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).
The MCU’s second solo outing with the friendly neighbourhood Spiderman is unfortunately in a sticky situation, as just two months ago the franchise came to a roaring end-of-an-era with Endgame, and to be the first film to follow that really is a brave task indeed. Flashback to last year, we saw them yet again change the franchise game with Avengers: Infinity War to then follow it up with a slightly underwhelming sequel to Ant-Man, that unfortunately couldn’t harness the magnitude and momentum of the film before it. Luckily though, Spiderman: Far From Home is more of a welcome change of pace to a much simpler form of the superhero genre, and more importantly, acts as a push into a new era for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Spiderman in many respects is the smartest choice to follow the Endgame, as his high school antics and unmatchable characteristics (with the help of Tom Holland’s tremendous incarnation) really give him a singular presence in a sea of crossovers and teaming up. Far From Home strives to find that voice they captured two years earlier in Spiderman: Homecoming and does so with ease, making Spidey feel more like the neighbourhood hero he should be. But more importantly, they balance the ideas of a the singular film and the franchise, with the odd reference to Tony Stark (with the inclusion of Favreau as Happy Hogan for some pinpoint comedy), and use that to create a story of their own, one that despite having some problems, is far more refreshing than it is underwhelming.
The biggest compliment you can give this film is just how well Watts does with the high schoolers and all their romantic problems juxtaposing with the magnitude of the end of world threats. As the main conflict sees Peter praying for a moment with MJ, and tell her how he really feels, it’s the elemental monsters and Nick Fury who seem to get in his way. And while first and foremost this is a superhero film, the best bits really stem from the teen comedy angle that Watts so easily seems to balance. Ned and Betty’s overly affectionate and short-lived relationship is a standout, along with Martin Starr’s deadpan and oblivious teacher adding to those little moments of humour that corse throughout this film, and with such a great cast covering the lighthearted parts, it deserves so much more praise as a teen comedy.
Having said that, where the film starts to bring itself down is in it’s incessant monologuing and expositional dumping that burdens the superhero aspect of the story. Despite Jake Gyllenhaal being consistent in his ability and doing the best he can we with the script, it’s still some of the heaviest exposition that Marvel have ever done. It isn’t just that it’s expositional though, it’s the fact that while Gyllenhaal rambles about being an ex Stark employee and introduces a couple of minuscule characters that have been surfaced in previous films, it’s very clear that the scripts subtlety is pretty non-existent. As action goes it’s still enjoyable as hell though, with Mysterio adopting the brains over braun approach that gives some of the action the mindbending uncertainty it’s trying to convey, and Spidey’s webslinging speed hits home just why he’s such a beloved character both on screen and in popular culture.
Once again the MCU prove why their Spiderman is one of the best if not the best, and for all it’s expositional dumping this film still balances the teenage humour with it’s superhero genre, not only that but it balances the franchise universe with the solidity of a solo film, something that many MCU films haven’t done. Despite the very obvious lack of subtlety on show you’ll still have a lot of fun here, especially with a cast that is on fire throughout.