Spider-Man: Far from Home

Spider-Man: Far from Home ★★★

If this were a better film, I wouldn't have to resort to minuscule little details in order to better describe it. I care more about the whole than I do those really small "cool" elements like costume design or special effects, but if that's a good amount of what this film gives, it becomes a focal point of sorts.

Because a lot of what this film has to offer feels pretty insignificant in the long run. There are some major happenings that will develop more fully in future films, but Far from Home is just a film to bridge Endgame with that eventual film, with those events in-motion already. That lack of drive really shows in the film's first... I don't know, half? A lot of it is just really simple, awkward teenage boy problems. And look, I haven't been a teenage boy in... eight months... but relegating your teenager/adult relationships to immature vs. stoic is not at all unique, and had already been done in the last Spider-Man movie.

That dynamic, by the way, of Spider-Man fighting the villain vs. Peter Parker wanting his crush to like him, isn't especially compelling and doesn't go far in testing his own sense of identity beyond that easy "Grow up, Peter Parker!" mentality. Maybe the concept would be more interesting if the teenage experience had felt more honest or complex. It would have also been more interesting had Jake Gyllenhaal's character been the norm, rather than the exception.

Which is weird to say considering what becomes of Gyllenhaal's character. But for a while at least, he is an understanding guiding light of sorts for Parker, and that kind of figure made for an interesting dynamic compared to the stoicism of... nearly all of Parker's parental figures when he is Spider-Man specifically. The eventual turn does kind of negate all of that, with "kindness" toward Parker being seen as having an ulterior motive compared to insincere expectations... though I will admit that the reveal is pretty terrific, and there is a lot about the character and the team of people behind him that I think is really cool and clever. It does fall apart by the film's end, though there is a lot to enjoy in the moment, especially Gyllenhaal himself, who absolutely adores this role.

I might sound really critical of this film, and that's because I am. But those three stars are earned in aspects that really do matter in both my experience watching the film, and probably yours as well. All the actors do a good job, especially the likes of Gyllenhaal and Zendaya. There isn't a weak link here, with the only weaker moments coming from the hit-or-miss script. The action scenes are nice, with the surreal aspects being more of Marvel's thing lately, and for fair reasons considering how disorienting they can sometimes be when in practice. And it is a nicely shot film, with competency in practically every technical respect. Those guys over at Marvel know what they're doing when it comes to high-budgets.

I just can't shake the feeling that this is a link between more substantial films. It establishes the changes set up by a previous film, and gives changes that will be explored more deeply in the next film. Far From Home is an entire movie of establishing things that either were interesting, or will be interesting. Even watching "the blip" kind of rearrange itself is less consequential here than it was in Endgame. Far From Home is more concerned with the comedic or romantic consequences of it, and all of that just makes the film feel light and inessential. A filler episode, bookended by important moments, in the grander scheme of Marvel movies. Because the superhero craze is pushing on, as strong as ever, eleven years after it debuted. Marvel can afford filler films, because each and every one of them will make their money back. But when you stretch conflicts out over this span of stories and irrelevant details to the final image, the final recounting of anything worthwhile, films like Far From Home won't be remembered in that grand scheme.

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