- Directed by Jon Watts
- June 26, 2019 (TCL Chinese Theatre) / July 2, 2019 (US)
Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man must battle a new threat after being recruited by Nick Fury while on a class trip to Europe.
Spider Man: Far From Home is a film filled with plenty of cool scenes in a rather mediocre story where the title character cannot carry the film without the help of supporting characters or elements from other movies.
Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) carries as much of the story if not more as does Peter/Spider-Man (Tom Holland). Aside from the element involving E.D.I.T.H. (voiced by Dawn Michelle King) (Even Dead, I‘m the Hero), Fury is vastly more important to events than the character of Peter Parker is. You could probably replace Peter with any number of MCU characters and have essentially the same story.
Spider Man: Far From Home reminded me of one of those special episodes of a television series where the characters go on a trip as part of the story with the episode acting more as a commercial than a story. The story is bland with the story being more of a travelogue than anything.
My other issues? Let us start with villain and his motivations. Mysterio/Quentin Beck’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) reason for becoming a villain has been cited before and should not be overlooked in any discussion of the film because it was just so idiotic. So his product got a bad name? Ugh! If they had left it at him getting fired that would be a whole different thing. Instead they added the B.A.R.F. (Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing) bit. It is juvenile and just silly.
Whether it is a comedy or drama or a little of both, the hero’s motivations should not look like the punchline to a joke and not only did his motivations look like a punchline, it was a punchline to a joke. Not only does denigrate the villain but the threat they pose.
It took forever to get to a confrontation between Spider-Man and Mysterio. It felt like they needed to add a couple of minutes to the story so they decided to make Mysterio a villain out of left field. These were not two characters set on an inevitable confrontation but two individuals forced to fight to wrap up the story.
Peter tingle? The blip? Spider Monkey? Are they trying to be funny or are they just simply picking the dumbest terminology they can? Make it a comedy or be serious. Pick a tone.
I go back to the character of Uncle Ben. In the comics as well as most previous other iterations of the Spider-Man character, Uncle Ben was an important character in the moral formation of Peter. That role has been taken over by Tony Stark and somehow I do not think you get the same moral basis from an egotistical billionaire with a drinking problem and a history of being a womanizer as you do from a blue collar man who has been involved in someone’s life since they were very young. The closest we get to a mention of Uncle Ben are the letters on Peter’s suitcase when he’s packing though based on story information we really cannot say for sure it references the character. The character was a formative figure in Peter’s life and he’s not even a factor in the MCU. Peter does not do good because he understands he should but rather he does good just because.
As stated previously Uncle Ben’s death resonated throughout the lives of Peter and May (Marisa Tomei). It created a void that they struggled to fill. The lives of those greatly loved tend to do that which leads me to think Uncle Ben does not exist here. There is not even a photograph on the walls of their home that MIGHT be Uncle Ben.
This brings me to something else: how is Aunt May related to Peter? There is no in story information in this movie or its predecessor that establishes the familial relationship. Is Aunt May related to Peter’s father? Or did she marry the brother of Peter’s father? For that matter we do not even know if Peter’s father had the last name of Parker. We do have the initials on the suitcase here but there is no context to them making drawing a logical conclusion impossible. For all we know his father may never have been in the picture and his Aunt May is the sister to his mother from whom he got the last name.
This is something that really bothers me because it is just so indicative of how poorly done the MCU Spider-Man movies are. This movie gets by on really cool visuals and a strong fandom. It just keeps hitting you with cool shit to keep you watching rather than trying for a solid story. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is the paranoid intelligence of the premiere intelligence agency-something highlighted in a line of dialogue-but he nor anyone in his organization does a minimal check to see if Beck’s story of coming from another reality checks out. Did they just take him at his word? How does that make sense?
The story was strongest when it focused on Spiderman. After all he is the title character, and he really did shine here as compared to Homecoming. That’s a low bar though. But as Peter he was all awkward and needy.
Far From Home was weakest when it decided to focus on all the side characters. They’re barely fleshed out. Angourie Rice as Betty Brant actress was quite possibly the most wooden actress to hit the screen in any of the Marvel films. MJ (Zendaya) was a stereotype. Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) wasn’t even a motional threat in this movie. He’s just an annoyance. I could go on. It’s an okay movie but I do not get the hype.
Spider Man: Far From Home is once and done viewing. It has a great many cool scenes but a middling story at best. Stream it but don’t buy it because you probably won’t revisit it any time in the near future if at all.