Tuesday, July 2, 2019


To cut to the chase, Spider-Man Far From Home is a notch below Homecoming, both directed by Jon Watts.  The first part of the movie has a very similar tone to a 1990s sit-com that has a "very special" multi-part episode where the cast goes to a scenic locale.  Peter and his classmates' summer vacation has a strong Disney Channel sit-com feel to it, mixed with a big budget travelogue. Ned, Flash, and Michelle (aka "MJ") are all back, and Betty Brant, played by Angourie Rice, who I thought was one of the best characters in Homecoming, gets a lot more screen time in this installment.

Mysterio is introduced as a superhero from an alternate earth in the multiverse, who comes here to destroy the Elementals, who destroyed his earth, before they can do the same to this earth. Mysterio takes Peter under his wing.  As with Dr. Octopus in Spider-Man 2 and the Lizard in The Amazing Spider-Man, there is an expected and predicable heel turn. Then the movie finally starts to kick in to high gear. Through the Mysterio character, there are some good natured jabs at the whole CGI dominance in movies, and the ever growing outlandishness of the plots.  Jake Gylanhaal, who ironically was considered as a possible replacement for Toby Maguire in the original Spider-Man films when Maguire injured his back and was uncertain if he could continue in the role, plays Mysterio in a kind of likable, yet sort of phoned in way.  Its as if he figures "this is just a comic book movie, so I won't be using all cylinders of my acting talent".

Tom Holland naturally returns as Peter Parker, and keeps the same light comedic tone he established for his take on the character. Marissa Tomei returns with her radically different take on Aunt May, and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is back to keep this version of the Spidey continuity firmly tied to Tony Stark, as well as attempting to get tied to May. Samuel L. Jackson is along for the ride playing Nick Fury.... maybe.

One of the biggest plot flaws in the movie deals with Mysterio gaining control of Tony Stark's EDITH computer program. Once Happy is informed of this by Peter, he should have been able to simply override Mysterio's control of EDITH. But then the movie would be about 45 minutes shorter.  There is a mid-credits scene that changes the status quo of Spidey's life, and re-introduces J. Jonah Jameson to the movies.  Not to mention any names, but the character is played by the same actor who played him in a previous franchise.

Far From Home is above average and very enjoyable, yet also shows signs that Endgame could be pinpointed as the moment the MCU jumped the shark.