Spider-Man: Far from Home

Spider-Man: Far from Home ★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

I really want to try not to sound like a buzzkill, and I can recognise the appeal these Spider-Man and MCU films writ large have for others, but I can't ignore the fact that Spider-Man: Far From Home did almost nothing for me. This really isn’t some slight on anyone who enjoyed the film, but I found that across the 129 minutes only the occasional comedic or dramatic moments provoked any sort of emotional or conceptual interest. For one thing, the style of hyper-referential/observational/often-outright-slapstick comedy they go for here - and in the MCU in general - just mostly doesn't work for me personally. I watched this with my mum and sister and there were a few comedic moments - mainly those with Samuel L. Jackson, Jacob Batalon's Ned or the class teachers - that made someone slightly exhale or - more rarely - laugh but other than those, a lot of the moments just played out to silence.

In terms of drama, for all the film's gestures towards the finality of the preceding Avengers: Endgame it's as expectedly stakes-less as usual. Holland's Spider-Man will get thrown 5 floors down a lift shaft or fall from the top of London's Tower Bridge directly onto concrete or even be HIT HEAD-ON BY A SPEEDING TRAIN and before I had time to even entertain the thought of moments like these having any lasting impact, my subconscious logic would kick in and just go "eh. he's definitely gonna be fine".

Holland and Zendaya try their best to give their two characters’ intersecting narrative progression some ‘meat’ and you know what? sometimes it worked quite well...sometimes. On the other hand, it was kinda disheartening seeing Jake Gyllenhaal just coasting along on acting auto-pilot, given nothing much to do outside of being an MCU-ified version of Syndrome from The Incredibles; even down to his painfully explanatory "villain reveal" monologue of his motivations, but unlike in that film, here they're not trying to be comedically subversive. Now when I say “disheartening” I’m perhaps being slightly melodramatic; his relatively ineffectual and inoffensive turn as the film’s villain disappointed me whilst watching, but I’m not wringing my hands over its implications or anything: Jake looks like he had fun (judging from all the press he and Holland did as well) and he will have been paid handsomely…and it’s not like he’s bad or anything, he’s just there...much like the film itself.

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