Starring: Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya
Director: Jon Watts
Running Time: 139 mins
Spider-Man: Far From Home is an American film and the twenty-third in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Following the Blip and the death of Iron Man, Spider-Man finds himself pressured from all sides to take up the reigns as the world’s new greatest superhero, but he wants to spend his summer on vacation with his friends from school.
Avengers: Endgame was everything for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The very culmination of everything that had been so ingeniously built up over the course of 11 years and 22 films, it was a fantastic finale to a groundbreaking saga of superhero cinema. And now, Spider-Man: Far From Home offers the first glimpse of a post-Endgame MCU, and from that first glimpse, things don’t look quite as bright.
Now, being as experienced in the blockbuster business as Marvel are, Spider-Man: Far From Home isn’t in any way a bad movie, but it represents one of the weakest films in the MCU for a good while, and a major drop of the thrillingly entertaining breath of fresh air that was Spider-Man: Homecoming. Despite featuring another very entertaining lead performance from Tom Holland as Peter Parker, as well as fun humour, good action and visual effects as we see in every Marvel movie, the story here really lacks direction and originality, a clear symptom of an MCU that just doesn’t have the structure without the build-up towards the end of the Infinity Saga.
Of course, looking at the film on its own, the movie isn’t quite as weak as it may seem when compared to the all-conquering greats of the MCU, but even as an individual piece, we’ve come to expect far better from both Marvel and the superhero genre in general, with offbeat hits like Into The Spider-Verse proving that you don’t need a big, multi-film shared universe to make a brilliantly original and entertaining masterpiece of comic book cinema.
So, the weaknesses of Far From Home seem to be somewhat of a double-edge sword. Lacking the direction that the most interconnected and exciting moments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe had, but also not doing enough to be its own film. As a result, there really doesn’t seem to be all that much to Spider-Man: Far From Home, and while it luckily has a good sense of humour to fall back on throughout, it really doesn’t impress in the storytelling department in any way.
Looking back to the bright side for a moment, though, and at least the film sticks to its guns with its easier-going and more light-hearted approach than most big-name superhero flicks, following up the brilliantly entertaining Homecoming with yet more antics from a fully likable teenage Spider-Man, and all the ridiculous mishaps he and his band of friends get into over the course of a crazy summer vacation.
So, for younger kids, casual comic book fans and those just looking for a bit of throwaway fun, Far From Home has it all, and it definitely does more than enough in the comedy department to make you laugh and chuckle all the way through, even if it doesn’t quite reach the hilarious levels of Homecoming or Thor: Ragnarok, with the film coming across more in the same, more diluted vein as Ant-Man than Marvel’s most anarchic hits.
However, when it comes to the film’s story, it’s difficult to avoid the fact that Far From Home is more than a big disappointment. Sure, it’s got big shoes to fill by being the first film to follow the end of the Avengers saga in Endgame, but in comparison to what we’re used to from Marvel and superhero films in general nowadays, Far From Home feels like a step back in the wrong direction to style-over-substance, more bang-for-your-buck blockbuster filmmaking.
With simplistic, low-stakes action against uninteresting and rather unthreatening villains, there’s very little genuine excitement to be had with Far From Home, reverting to very predictable save-the-world stakes in exchange for the impressive emotional depth and wide-reaching that we’ve become entirely accustomed to in the MCU.
And that, of course, is a symptom of a Marvel Cinematic Universe that now, after Endgame, seems to have no real direction. The movie tries to stir the cauldron with looks forward to replacing Iron Man, reuniting the Avengers and the return of Nick Fury, but all in all, Spider-Man: Far From Home feels like a Marvel movie from the early days of the MCU: predictable, generic, low-stakes and frustratingly simplistic.
Its comedy and likable performances are what really save it, and with a great lead turn from Tom Holland, as well as a thoroughly enjoyable set of supporting turns from the likes of Zendaya, Jon Favreau and Samuel L. Jackson (Jake Gyllenhaal unfortunately isn’t up to his usual standard here), the movie is at least an enjoyable and fun watch throughout, but it’s already a far cry from what we’ve come to expect from Marvel over these past few years, and offers up an uninspiring glance at a post-Endgame MCU, which is why I’m giving Spider-Man: Far From Home a 7.4 overall.