This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
👹 Lee, or El Duderino, if, you're not into the whole brevity thing’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
"Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Stark said you wouldn’t get that because it’s not a Star Wars reference".
I really enjoyed Spider-Man: Far From Home more on a rewatch, and I think it's because I went in with less of a critical lense. Here's a link to my initial review for those who haven't already read it: FFH. First time through, I was really expecting a lot out of it, especially in hopes that Mysterio really was at least setting up a multiverse. I as any comic reader already knew Mysterio was the villain, and while I did really enjoy the retconning illusion explanation, I still had hoped a multiverse set-up would be epic and greatly beneficial. Not only would it give vital structural support to where the MCU is most likely headed and preparing to defined against, a more streamlined cosmic focus, but it'd be perfect for Dr. Strange and the Illuminati. The last end credit scene only solidified my expectations as to where the expansive and at times rinse/repeat MCU is headed, with the real Nick Fury having apparently ghosted Earth the second he re-blipped to go build S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department). The counterpart to the no longer HYDRA sleeper cell S.H.I.E.L.D., this new endeavor is more than likely what Fury is constructing with the newly acquired CM kree allies. And with no real Maria Hill (Smulders) in sight or speech, I was left wondering whether she somehow died offscreen (unlikely) or is rebuilding a new SHIELD, in which she will command moving forward. And like Kraven's cameod brother, Dimitri (Acar) perhaps they will both be revealed to be Kree. Good or bad, I am uncertain, but there is bound to be an evil kree sect for Secret Invasion in the coming decade. While I found the end credit scene to be lackluster and extremely overhyped, I can only hope that it hints at the next threat either being a small extremist sleeper Kree cell ala Secret Invasion, or the real next baddie, Galactus. With the latter, we then open up a higher chance of introducing Silver Surfer, Nova (Gunn, come on), and a faithful and righteous adaptation of the Fantastic 4 (which would also tie into Illuminati). And with the F4, you can throw in hints and sparks of a possible X-men Phoenix force entry down the line (AvX 2030 haha).
"Get your tingle back online".
Anyway, back to Spidey. There were three things that stood out to me even more on rewatch. Firstly, one of my criticisms I still had with FFH was the handling of the spider-sense. Or as verybody and their aunt is going to call it now, "the Peter-Tingle". I'm completely onboard with taking away a character's primary power and stripping them down to as barebones as they can go. It's like the line that Happy states in the trailer, you know, the one about being defeated, alone, without your tech and all. It's a trope that almost every superhero has to go through, and it's displayed in almost any videogame at some point. First that comes to mind being the opening to, Uncharted 2. But obviously every hero learns from their defeat, tightens the straps, grits their teeth, and charges forward to victory. That is exactly what Spidey did after what might just be the most emotional scene in the movie. It almost brings a rear to my eye, being placed in Happy's perspective, seeing Peter in his element, embracing his new future as not Iron-Man, but as Spider-Man. It's simple but touching, and the AC/DC was an inspired choice. While the emotion and motivation to get back up was done very well if not slightly rushed, I did not like how the tingle was referenced literally once, then brought back up in the last 20min. We first learn about it when Aunt May hits Peter in the head with a banana. Like the banana, Peter just sort of shrugs it off and continues to pack, while we the audience are supposed to place our own menacing as to the whereabouts of his Spider-Sense. Obviously it could be due to the immense amount of duress and emotional pain that Peter has been under with the culminating losses of Endgame, but bringing it up a bit more would have been appreciated. Have Flash throw a couple of things, mah e rhe scene where Brad barges into Peter's osest Euro trip moment, or hey, maybe how Peter didn't even sense that Talos Fury was sitting in his direct entry perephiral. I don't know about you, but it doesn't even take Spidey-Sense to know someone is in the room with you or staring at you, I can feel that burning sensation.
My best guess is that as mentioned above, the death of Iron-Man is the cause, or the film couldn't afford to have him tingle-able due to Mysterio's drone plot. He didn't sense it till it was too late in Venice, he didn't even acknowledge that his web caught on to something that flinged off the carousel in Prague, and on top of wearing his Night Monkey costume unmasked, he had zero awareness in the pub scene with Mysterio. The lack of the Spider-Sense obviously made for the best scenes, those of Mysterio's technological illusion realities, but literally came in exactly when he most needed them, the end. I'm not sure if I was the only one that got the sentiment that they are setting up MJ to also fill the role of comicbook Gwen Stacy's arc. But that brilliant shot of Mysterio appearing out of the illusion moon to throw off MJ from the Eiffel Tower was very hinting or just fan service. But I do think that placing MJ or Ned in direct danger prior to the big Tower Bridge finale, would have been enticing, fan service to the bus/MJ scene in the original, and a nice little precursor to the Peter-Tingle being the key to defeating Mysterio later on.
Hang on now, as this might seem far-fetched. But I mentioned in either my initial review or in the comments section of other reviews, that I think this film could have easily been developed and split into two titles. Not for the sole sake of money, but to further increase the stakes and character arc of just about everybidy involved, primarily Peter and Mysterio. Imagine FFH ending at the moment that the screen blacks out, after Peter climbs into the train that just ran into him. Or better yet, ending after using that too kind Dutch man's cellphone to call Happy. Imagine if who answered was Uncle Ben, or a recording of Tony Stark manipulated through Mysterio's research into Peter's life. Thus revealing that Peter is not only trapped, but truly alone, forcing him to become what he needs to be to protect those he loves. I found the tone to be way off in the Netherlands scenes, espieclly wirh everybody being way too nice and oblivious to their surroundings. I as some of you may have, thought that it was all going to be a grand illusion that Mysterio conceived with his team. Having placed Peter in one of his many giant warehouses after finding him knocked out from the train. It would be a forest nod to comic readers, recalling yet slightly tweaking the comic in which Spidey thinks he has been shrunk down into a miniature theme park, fighting against a hint Mysterio. It is no doubt what some of the grand illusion sequences hinted. This would be perfect for buying Mysterio time, in line with his showmanship ego, ending on a dark realisation for our beloved teen hero, AND the ultimate setup for an escape redemption through the resurgence of his tingle.
"It's easy to fool people when they're already fooling themselves".
Thing two, I'd like to give some love to a little moment during the Tower Bridge fight. I absolutely loved seeing Peter with no backup, almost out of energy and strength, defeated, and without his webbing. He is coming into his full, seeing through the illusions that once clouded his intuition and "tingle" and is done doubting himself. Something I didn't give enough credit on first watch, was how well Tom Holland depicts the bombardment of pressure and calls to action all around him. Not only as Spider-Man, but also as Peter the friend, and Peter the boy trying to win over the girl he loves. The little moments that almost dig into the emotional beats truly showcase that potential, but are usually cut off by a joke or supporting cast popping in. But back to the bridge, seeing him examine his surroundings in hopes of coming up with a plan to get to Mysterio up above was entirely him in his element. Furthermore it was a great subtle callback to Tony and unsung hero, Yinsen building from their caves surroundings. Just like the earlier heartfelt scene of Peter with Stark tech in the jet, he manages to build something out of the materials he has at his disposal. And not only did that remind me of his mentor and father figure, but when he picks up the bridge name plaque, he invokes the undying courage and willpower that he most definitely saw within Captain America. It's not that he is becoming the new head of Avengers or the next this or that, but he is taking what he has learned and felt from all his idols and those before him, to be a better hero, to be himself, Spider-Man.
"People... they need to believe. Nowadays... they'll believe anything".
And lastly, there is no way we have seen the last of Mysterio. Especially with the quote above being his supposed last words, I would not be surprised if he either faked his death or if he implanted himself somehow into EDITH. The mid credit scene with the return of everyone's favourite comicbook Alex Jones, J. Jonah Jameson only reinforces that Mysterio isn't done getting his revenge on Spidey and Peter Parker. Comic readers will know that Mysterio has already faked his death before, and it was no difficult feat with the aid of his stunt work and prop background. I doubt we'll be getting Daredevil into the MCU, but I await to see the flamboyant return of Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio. Not only did I love my boi Gyllenhaal's performance, but I absolutely ate up the whole fake news and audience manipulation commentary. It was very well adapted from his collaborative efforts to shut down Spidey in the comics, even down to fighting on a bridge (comic being Brooklyn though). His whole pub scene monolgue about people not caring about who is the smartest or most capable in the room, but more in who has a cape and shoots laser beams, is terrific. It can easily be applied to so many facets of life, but just look at how simple it can be paired with how many artful and meaningful films get overlooked in favour of a more showy mainstream cash grab. And while I did bring up one of my favourite heroes, Daredevil, it'd be a dream to see him pop back up in the MCU, even if as Matthew Murdock & Foggy Nelson "Avocados at law". Imagine them defending Peter Parker in court, and of course I'll only accept Charlie Cox. I'm intrigued as to where we go next with Spidey, even though I would have preferred him announce his own identity ala Iron-Man. As some of you have already discussed with me in comments, I'd love if Peter is thrown into the same facility that we saw Scorpion and somewhat temporary ally Vulture are imprisoned. I don't know the exact plot, but a prison escape with the assistance of Vulture would be quite the interesting take, with the inevitable turn to villain once out. Hell, since everyone is busy going cosmic, I could even see Ant-Man being the one to help Spidey break out, seeing they are the only neighborly small-scale heroes left. And on a smaller scale interest, I wonder what they're setting up with Flash's missing parents and if Brad is going to become a type of villain. It seems like Watts is following the comic line of villain releases. If I do recall correctly, Vulture and Tinkerer were the first major villains in the comics, then we had Doc Ock, Sandman, Lizard, and Electro, followed by Mysterio. I do think due to the Garfield iteration being recent, they'll skip Lizard and Electro, which means next up is more than likely Green Goblin and a maybe a subplot Doc Ock set-up.
PS - Anyone else catch that direct Hydro-Man namedrop in the Venice hotel? And how about the in-flight Cosmos riff documentary by Professor Erik Selvig?