Spider-Man: Far from Home

Spider-Man: Far from Home ★★★

After what is now described as "The Blip", "Spider-Man: Far from Home" sets off after the events the defeat of Thanos and fall of the Avengers. Now we return back to the life of Peter Parker, who only wants to enjoy his summer vacation with his friends and fall in love with the girl of his dreams. Sadly for Peter, he's going to have to help save the world at least more time.

I enjoy Tom Holland as Spider-Man. I find that he perfectly captures the youth and geeky like aspects that comes with a high school Peter Parker. "Far from Home" director Jon Watts' "Spider-Man: Homecoming", showed us how a John Hughes' approach blended into a superhero movie can complement the light-hearted tone fitting the Peter Parker we know today. Yet, this was still a problem I had with "Homecoming" and find to be prevalent in Watts' "Far from Home" as well.

"Homecoming" lacked the urgency, the cinematic integrity that made some previous Spider-Man films so great. I'm not going to compare the Raimi's films to Watts', despite the disparity in style. But what makes Watts' Spider-Man films so great is that high school feel. You get the awkward Peter Parker that struggles to get the girl, he likes to play with legos, and makes Star Wars references. Both "Homecoming" and "Far from Home" show that this is the Peter Parker we need, and the one that fits the bill.

However, I think I enjoy Tom Holland's portrayal as the web-slinger better in the Avenger's films. I think that goes back to point made about stakes and urgency. His role feels more pivotal, like he's really needed. Perhaps it's the stakes surrounding Peter's importance to the plan that makes his character so intriguing. Because in "Far from Home", the plot is so by the numbers, that the personal material given to Parker's backstory within the film isn't nearly as impactful as other Spidey installments.

After the prolonged first 45 minutes, "Far from Home" begins to pick up some speed after the reveal of Quentin Beck's diabolical scheme. On the Spider-Man front, Peter is handed a monumental task of defeating these creatures called the Elementals. With the help of Beck (also known as Mysterio), Parker and Mysterio fight together to bring down the elementals and save the earth. The trick here is that Mysterio, also known is on a plot of revenge, using augmented reality and illusions to seize the world himself.

"Far from Home" struggles on multiple fronts, one of them being the Mysterio-Spider-Man dynamic. Mysterio played by Jake Gyllenhaal was good. Gyllenhaal does what he can, and that's usually his best. Here, he plays a compelling villain, but beyond Gyllenhaal's devotion to the role, Mysterio comes off a bit uninspired. His backstory is interestingly thought-out and I liked the way it added all up, but his purpose is so meaningless, that it's hard to buy into the stakes surrounding his intentions.

Yet the capabilities Mysterio embodies are actually quite fascinating. His ability to create these optical illusions with augmented reality and drones is a neat way to partake in villainous terror. In fact, it even sets up one of the coolest MCU fight scenes to date. Although, while the tech and innovation surrounding Mysterio is visually enticing, his actual role in the film and physical presence against Spider-Man is minimal.

Ultimately, I think we have yet to experience any real consequences, personal challenges, and real threats to Spider-Man and the character of Peter Parker. I really just want there to be something interesting surrounding Peter in the MCU. I don’t want to compare but the adversity Peter faces in original two Spider-Man movies are much more interesting. How he has to deal with knowing his arch nemesis is his best friends dad is such a thrilling dynamic between three characters. And in Spider-Man 2 when he realizes how being Spider-Man is tearing those closest to him apart is a real testament to the difficulties of being a superhero, so he ends up throwing his suit away in the trash. The same goes for the depth given to doc ock as a villain. "Spider-Man: Homecoming" teases us with the difficulties of handling such big tasks on our own, and "Far from Home" shows us how we tend to be afraid of living up to our heroes and carrying on the torch. There's a scene between Happy and Peter where they converse about their struggles coping with Tony Stark's passing. A really well acted scene displays the affection Peter has for Tony and how much he has influenced as an Avenger. Both Mysterio and Peter are affected by Tony in some way. If "Far from Home" interconnected the two's relationship to Tony, to develop their arcs and fueling their reasoning to fight, then I think "Far from Home" could have been a much more emotionally impactful experience.

In short, it seems like after this movie, Spider-Man is about to get good. It looks as if some real world, interpersonal challenges are about to hit Peter, and his relationship with characters such as MJ (which I didn't think was astounding here), will continue to flesh out and become something truly special. That being said, were left with an augmented finale, drowned by the film's own mess of a CGI euphoria.

It's safe to say if you like "Ant Man and the Wasp", then you'll probably like "Far from Home". Both films play it safe, are thoroughly entertaining, and fall under the conventional MCU formula of films not directed by the Russo Brothers. So if you like most MCU films, then heck, you'll really "Far from Home".