Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home ★★

This one hurt me. Like, actually hurt. Spider-Man has been my favourite superhero since I was a kid and I watched the great 90s cartoon on Fox Kids. I remember clearly going to see the first Sam Raimi film in 2002 and how exciting it was to see my favourite superhero in all his glory up on the big screen. And then again in 2004 in what probably stands as the greatest superhero flick to this day. And again in 2007 in a film that was flawed but still felt like a Spider-Man film. And so on. You get the idea.

After the travesty that was Marc Webb's tenure with the character, Spider-Man getting to go back to Marvel seemed like it could only be good news. So Homecoming came along and it was alright. I mean, it felt like more of an Iron Man film which was a bit weird, but I attributed it to the growing pains of fitting a character like Spider-Man into this larger world, and once he was in they'd be free to just tell a story with him.

Which is a long winded way of asking, why is Disney Marvel incapable of telling a Spider-Man story? How is Iron Man the most important character in a film that is literally set after his death and doesn't have Robert Downey Jr on the cast list? How do you make a two hour long Spider-Man film and not once invoke the spirit of Uncle Ben, or the idea that with great power comes great responsibility?

There's a scene towards the end of the film that is just Spider-Man swinging through the city of New York. In this film, it's a great scene because it's the one bit that actually feels like it should be in a Spider-Man film. Were it in any of the Raimi flicks, it would feel like an average to good sequence.

Honestly, I just don't get it. I don't get how this is the second time a great member of Spider-Man's rogues gallery has been co-opted into a villain who's motivation is that they hate Tony Stark. I don't get what Peter's character arc was supposed to be. He trusts Beck and is tricked, so is the lesson meant to be that he shouldn't trust people? That seems like a terrible moral for one of these things, but I don't know what the film is trying to say otherwise. And I honestly don't think the film does either.

And that's without getting into the ugly colour grading or sub par weightless CGI. Last year I packed into a crowded auditorium and watched a near 60 year old Tom Cruise throw himself out of an aeroplane and fly an actual helicopter. Can we not get Tom Holland or even a stunt double to do some wire work? It's a film about a guy who jumps off buildings and swings on ropes and there are no stunts at all. Where's the craft? Where's the filmmaking?

Through it all there are some bright spots. Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon are delightful as odd couple Peter and Ned. Zendaya is a good M.J. and Martin Starr is tragically hilarious as the teacher who's name I can't remember despite him probably being the best part of the film. There's a cool trippy sequence in the middle that was well directed by a VFX team in Australia somewhere.

But this film was ultimately so anonymous, I can't imagine I'll remember much of anything about it in a couple of days. Where there are parts of Into the Spider-Verse I still think about regularly. Marvel have an opportunity to use their wider universe to tell interesting and unique stories about their characters. But as long as they stay on the track of bending those characters and stories to fit into this wider MCU, we'll keep getting served generic by the numbers shit like Far From Home. And it genuinely saddens me that people seem willing to accept that and not ask for better.

Christopher liked this review