Spider-Man: Far From Home (PG-13)
25/07/19 22:01 Filed in: 2019
Directed by: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland
Warning! This is NOT a movie review. This is a critique of the film. Intended to initiate a dialogue, the following analysis explores various aspects of the film and may contain spoilers. Views are my own and elaborate on comments that were originally tweeted in real time from the back row of a movie theater @BackRoweReviews. For concerns over objectionable content, please first refer to one of the many parental movie guide websites. Ratings are based on a four star system. Happy reading!
If you’ll forgive the pun, there’s a stark tonal shift between Spider-Man: Far From Home and the previous Marvel film, Avengers: Endgame. Endgame was the conclusion of an epic storyline told on a grand scale where the stakes were literally earth-shatteringly high. Here, we have a leisurely-paced, pedestrian story that’s filled with lightweight action scenes—even when characters are placed in harm’s way, the peril just doesn’t seem real. Perhaps the fact that much of the film’s action is illusory adds to its narrative ennui.
The story’s underachievement may be due to the fact that it takes a long time to get going, and that it never goes anywhere when if finally does. Or maybe it’s because Spider-Man doesn’t do anything all that spectacular or amazing in the movie. Or maybe it’s because we really can’t take the film seriously because of its schmaltzy dialog and gooey teen angst. In fact, aside from its postcard-perfect European locations, there’s very little to recommend the film.
Tom Holland may be the best Peter Parker/Spider-Man yet, but his gee-whiz shtick is already getting old. And speaking of shtick, Samuel L. Jackson has played Nick Fury for so long now the character has become a caricature. This brand of cartoony acting afflicts the entire cast; including Marisa Tomei as Aunt May and Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan (the relationship between these characters is painfully awkward).
Perhaps the worst acting in the film is Jake Gyllenhaal’s histrionic portrayal of Quentin Beck/Mysterio. Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio has none of the gravitas or menace of Michael Keaton’s Vulture from Spider-Man: Homecoming. But to be fair, I don’t even think the inestimable Keaton could’ve pulled off such a two-dimensional heavy as globe-domed Mysterio.
One thing the movie gets right is how it shows what life is like after the “blip” that occurred in Endgame. Though characters seem sad over the loss of Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), they’re never given enough time to adequately process that loss since the movie never slows down long enough to deal with any genuine emotions.
In the end, SM: FFH is a flaccid sequel that suffers from horrendous scripting and surprisingly substandard acting. It’s ironic that a movie so focused on the dangers of illusions should contain so many story elements that are shallow and implausible.
The end credits clips are the best part of the movie, so be sure to stick around to the very end.
Rating: 2 out of 4