This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Elijah Gladwyn’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Another fun Spidey film that continues to explore the coming of age narratives of the character, even if the "Iron Baby" theme is still shadowing the narrative.
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Spider-Man Far from Home follows on from the events of Infinity War / Endgame (very loosely) as Peter Parker (Tom Holland) tries to go on a school trip with his friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) and his crush MJ (Zendaya Coleman), whilst still reeling from the death of his mentor Tony Stark.
The whole villain arch is more of an anti-hero arch. It's odd that both of the first two Spider-Man films in the MCU follow the plots of disgruntled workers screwed over by Stark, but hey.
⚠️⚠️ BIG SPOILERS ⚠️⚠️
So, Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) basically shows up as a new super against a new threat, the Elementals. The whole plot here turns out to be an elaborate deception utilising holograms and fighter drones. I did think it was quite funny the villain essentially plots out a ridiculous story about multidimensional megamonsters because "people will believe anything these days", but this doubles up to lay the foundations for the multiverse stories (planned to really kick off in the next sequel).
Additionally, having Mysterio essentially seek to become a super villain by exploiting super tech and deceiving everyone is carried out well by the two phase acting of Gyllenhaal, who is very typical superhero in the first part of his appearance and very much a plotting and insecure psychopath in the remainder of the film. This plot also combined the essence of Syndrome from The Incredibles as well as one of my all time favourite video game villains, Mendez from Black Ops 2. It was a neat conception of a super villain who isn't super and just wants to trick the world to prove to himself he's not useless or ignorable.
⚠️⚠️ END BIG SPOILERS ⚠️⚠️
The plot has some funny sitcom and romcom aspects like the previous film, especially concerning Jon Favreau banging his aunt whilst he's on holiday and the strangely speedy but wholesome holiday romance of his buddy Ned. I also found the awkward tourist persona of the teacher (Martin Starr) and the paranoid breakdowns of the other teacher (JB Smoove) as the latter begins to suspect it's all the fault of witchcraft.
Some of the earlier fight scenes honestly weren't that exciting, but it was cool to see Venice, Prague and then London used as the backdrops to fights. Additionally, some of the nightmarish sequences towards the end are super cool, especially how they play around with perspective and shifting senses of reality blending like a hypercut of a bad benadryl dream. The part of Iron Man crawling from the grave, half destroyed, with spiders crawling from the wounds was really cool horror imagery I didn't expect from this film.
In terms of the construction of the film, it's well put together and presented. The editing feels fairly tight and does what it needs to do without rushing the archs between Peter and MJ, and makes Peter's journey to owning up to his call of duty in the face of grief and wanting a break a believable and sympathetic story - unlike for instance the similar narratives in Endgame, where Thor magics away his depression and obesity after seeing his childhood pet rabbit.
The music choices are good and bringing back the classic Back in Black suit up scene from Iron Man was actually cool and made me look past my gripes with the Iron Baby misuse of Spider-Man, especially as Holland does a great job of imitating Downey in his role as Iron Man in this moment - it was a cool fan moment and a nice tie in across the two ends of this uber sprawling franchise.
I don't think all the CGI was that cool, but the fire/magma Elemental was a cool design and some of the destruction is sweet, especially with regards to the popcorn fireworking in the final battle scene.
Overall, this is a lot of fun, with some all round great acting that manages to balance that action tone, drama tone, and light-hearted comedy tone very well (though, I feel, not as well as Shazam did). This is a funny movie and a very fun one too.
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(Storytelling & Writing 7, Acting 9, Cinematography 7, Editing 7, Music & Sound 7, CGI & VFX 7)
Favourite moment: probably when the teacher is taking a selfie and it looks like the camera is going to fall several times, only for it to get dropped after like 4 fakeouts. It was just some great physical comedy.