Spider-man entered the Marvel movie universe in 2016. Far From Home is the second stand-alone movie featuring the webslinger.
After the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, Peter Parker has been absent from the universe for five years, only to return un-aged and finding himself without his hero and benefactor Tony Stark.
He wants a vacation after all the hassle. Lucky him, his school is going on a trip to Europe. The perfect holiday — as an aside, I live in Europe, so I can’t but agree it’s awesome here. Unfortunately, disaster follows Peter in the form of elemental monsters attacking the planet. Nick Fury wants to enlist Spider-man and the weapon systems that Tony Stark left for Peter.
Peter is reluctant, and really doesn’t want the responsibility. Luckily, Mysterio, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, a hero from another version of Earth, comes to the rescue. Things are not what they seem, though, as Spider-man finds out.
The plot is okay, but I found it nothing special. It seems mostly a vehicle to have Spider-man travel across Europe. The portion of the movie dedicated to teenage-problems seems to have grown from the first to the second movie, which… well, I suppose teenagers like it? I don’t remember liking this kind of stuff when I was a teenager, but maybe I just forgot, or I wasn’t an average teenager.
Peter Parker – played by Tom Holland – is mostly the slightly bumbling teen from the first movie. Unfortunately, he seems to have gotten less adult and less sure of himself between movies. Or I remember the first film wrong, but he seems… well, more a self-obsessed teenager in this installment.
Peter’s friend Ned finally gets some love, in the form of hooking up with Betty. It gives him some funny moments, but his contribution to the plot of Far From Home is — well — mostly zilch. If you removed him entirely, I don’t think much would change at all. That’s never a good sign for a character.
Mary Jane (MJ) gets a bigger role this movie, with Peter’s love interest Liz from the first movie gone. MJ’s a dark-humored wise-ass, and one of the most adult people in the cast. This is a bit sad, given that the rest of the cast features Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Happy, Aunt May, and two teachers.
And that’s my biggest gripe with this movie. It’s a Marvel Universe movie, but Nick Fury, Happy, and Aunt May act like caricatures of themselves. It gets pretty bad, with Happy acting more like a lovestruck teenager than Peter (who’s supposed to be one). And yeah, the post-credit scene explains some of that for Nick Fury, but that feels more like a cop-out. It’s just so… sappy.
Far From a Home Run
Not everything has to be dark and gritty. The DC Universe clearly went the wrong way with that one, but Marvel seems to be going off the rails on the other side. Like Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-man: Far From Home has a very different tone from the previous Spider-man.
Thor kind of hit the right beats, but Far From Home really hits the wrong ones. I’m not that into teen romances, but even if I was, the bad guy in Far from Home is also very weak. As is the plot.
In fact, this movie is more a romantic comedy with some superhero fights thrown in for kicks. The result is that it feels disjointed. Worse, Peter seems to have regressed since the previous movie. At least, I felt like he was in a better place at the start of the last movie, then at the start of this one.
All in all, I wasn’t bored with this movie — I love Spider-man and have a meter of comics to prove it. Still, it wasn’t a great movie. If I had to rank all the Spider-man movies it would be somewhere near the top; but in my Marvel movie ranking, well, it would be somewhere in the bland lower regions.
Maybe the upcoming third movie will be better, I guess we’ll see later this year.