Spider-Man Far From Home
Starring Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Favreau, Cobie Smulders, Marisa Tomei,
Why is it the reboots of Spider-Man feel like “they are going to get it right this time” and then we get to the sequel. Perhaps it’s because “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is the third, part-two. Sam Rami’s “Spider-Man 2” with Tobey Maguire (2004), “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” starring Andrew Garfield (2014) and now it’s Tom Holland’s second full length feature as the web slinger. Holland has already spent more time in the spidey suit than Maguire and Garfield if you count his appearances in “Civil War” (2016), “Infinity War” (2018) and “Endgame” (2019). Which is why “Far From Home” feels like Spider-Man overdose. Sure, “Far From Home” basks in the box office afterglow of “Endgame” and serves as an in-memoriam, for those reeling from the superhero sacrifices. This sequel is more follow-up to “Endgame” than “Homecoming”, creating quite a busy film.
As the world mourns the loss of beloved Avengers, so does Peter Parker (Holland) who has a lot of school to catch up on, since he was missing during what’s being called “The Blip”. Happy Hogan (Favreau) has been spending a lot of time around home with Parker’s Aunt May (Tomei), but he’s also been a comfort to Parker as they have both lost the man they looked up to. Parker’s puppy love for MJ (Zendaya) persists, and he has a plan to confess his feelings on their European school trip. “I really need a vacation,” he says, explaining why he won’t be packing his superhero duds. Nick Furry (Jackson) has other plans in mind, as a dangerous elemental threat has been popping up in various countries. All the other Avengers are occupied, so it’s Spider-Man’s turn live up to Tony Stark’s expectations.
The returning cast from the previous Spider-Man might have matured physically, but the script has gotten more childish.
The returning cast from the previous Spider-Man might have matured physically, but the script has gotten more childish. Gone are the clever solitary moments of Peter Parker’s self-discovery. “Far From Home” feels at odds with trying to stand in the shadow of “Endgame’s” epic conclusion and recapturing the more intimate character moments that made “Homecoming” surprisingly refreshing. Much of the running time is spent on the love story, and while the chemistry between Zendaya (“The Greatest Showman”) and Holland (“The Current War”) has cooled, the script desperately finds ways to get it back. It’s the chemistry between Holland and Favreau that works and fleeting moments with Gyllenhaal. Parker has always been a character desperately searching for acceptance in a father figure and Far From Home’s slight brilliance lies within this installment’s villain.
Gyllenhaal seems too good for the Marvel universe, but since “everyone is doing it”, it’s only fitting his character is the highlight. “The trick was how do you do him in a way where he’s not just throwing smoke bombs and jumping around with the springs in his shoes, like he is in the comics,” director Jon Watts said. It was the character’s comic book origins that inform his first onscreen appearance. Gyllenhaal isn’t given that much screentime, even when Mysterio is on screen in full costume, there is no face in that helmet. It’s the writing behind what the character means to Parker and the effect he has on the story both in this installment and going forward. I don’t want to spoil how Watts and team “cracked” the character, but it’s the highlight of a mediocre superhero movie where everything else is just by the numbers.
The latest comic book sequel flick is far from original as superhero fatigue takes hold.