Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Genre: Superhero Running Time: 2 hrs. 9 min.

Release Date: July 2nd, 2019 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Jon Watts Actors: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jon Favreau, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon, Martin Starr, J.B. Smoove, Angourie Rice

 


 

A

fter the reality-shattering battle that occurred in “Avengers: Endgame,” Midtown High-schooler Peter Parker (Tom Holland) continues to struggle with not only the loss of his friend and mentor Iron Man, but also the responsibility that comes from maintaining his role as superhero Spider-Man. Add to that the everyday trials and tribulations of teenage life and Peter begins pondering whether he even wants to attempt to replace the void left by the Golden Avenger. What he does know is that he’s very much looking forward to his school trip to Europe, where he plans to confess his affections for classmate MJ (Zendaya) at the Eiffel Tower. But it’s not long before his objective gets derailed when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) contact the friendly neighborhood defender with a request to aid new superhero Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) – nicknamed “Mysterio” – in a desperate fight against rampaging elemental monstrosities.

“You don’t want any part of this!” A particularly disjointed cold open involving a sand monster and green energy blasts from a flying super-person reminds audiences that they’re currently in the post-aliens, post-Avengers world, where extraterrestrial oddities and supernatural occurrences are now commonplace. So it’s even more jarring when the bulk of the setup for this latest Marvel tale focuses on high school hijinks; with 16-year-old protagonists, all the high school drama, angst, rivalry, identity-seeking, and flirtations are on display. A few brief mentions about the “blip” – during which half of the population was snapped back onto the planet after the survivors lived for years with their loved ones in absentia – surface, though they’re explained away with humor like so many of the more serious elements of the story.

Similarly, Mysterio’s arrival and the existence of a multiverse are dismissed as trivial matters of fact, though these eventually play into potent, currently relevant themes of misinformation, deception, manipulative illusions, questionable news sources, and the public’s willingness to believe just about anything. Even the use of drones is spot on. It’s a fascinating dive into the up-to-date social and political climate, presenting a superhero for the modern era – complete with uncontrollable and exploitable technology that seems absurdly monopolized by a solitary man. It’s certainly a relief that, here, Stark was one of the good guys. Of course, it also highlights the ease with which megalomaniacs can usurp these fictional resources – not unlike Thanos’ nearly unstoppable bid for domination.

“Does anyone have any neighborhood questions?” All Parker wants is a vacation; he wishes to enjoy his teenage years and pursue his crush. And who could blame him? Why would he want the responsibility of repeatedly saving the world? It’s difficult enough just keeping an eye on his own city. But with the Avengers and all the other superheroes off fighting battles in distant galaxies, everything falls on the youth’s shoulders, forcing him to experience the growing pains of filling Stark’s shoes. Comically, rather than fueling his international journeys with nonstop clashes with evil, Peter gets tangled up in a wealth of mishaps and misadventures, allowing the humor to once again deflect most of the severity; no one ever seems as if in real danger, and even when Spider-Man requires a few stitches, it has no impact on his ability to be superhuman. In many ways, Holland’s Parker is exactly how audiences might expect a young Tony Stark to behave.

Meanwhile, Gyllenhaal takes his role seriously, which is a smart addition to a film that is self-aware of its abundant absurdities. However, oftentimes the laughs are so frequent (virtually everyone provides their own comic relief) that the action fails to make an impression. Though technically proficient, the majority of the special effects are used to create chaos for the sake of chaos; when all of it is tremendously obliterative, none of it stands out. Plus, the standard quota of pose-striking, rallying speeches, and blatant stalling tactics hamper the momentum of the finale, which transitions into massive amounts of destruction (and a hint of creative choreography) that are impossible to sort out.

– The Massie Twins

  • 6/10


The Spider-Man Franchise


Spider-Man (2002)

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)