“Spider ‘Meh’-n: Not Far Enough From Home”

In my mind, Avengers: Endgame was the perfect conclusion to Phase III of the MCU. I did not know why they decided to release a new Spider Man soon after. However, I enjoyed Homecoming and was super impressed with Tom Holland’s performance as my new favorite Spider Man portrayal, so I looked forward to Far From Home. The trailer had me more enthusiastic about the continuing slew of Marvel flicks, especially after seeing Jake Gyllenhaal’s debut of the long anticipated Mysterio. But despite rave reviews from friends and critics alike, I found myself thinking “hey this is great, definitely a wild ride, but I’m not seeing why this is supposed to be so amazing.” I told myself afterwards that I shouldn’t have been bored at all. I questioned myself: was I just tired? Jaded by a long day at work? Then I realized why the movie wasn’t quite what was hyped up for me: I had seen it before. In fact, it has so many beats from previous Spidey movies, that besides some refreshing sets and cinematography, I can’t think of how this movie will stand out far past its direct predecessor.

Of course the film takes place as a globe trot across Europe. Peter Parker, in his efforts to win the heart of MJ, is concurrently faced with the responsibility of saving the world, as Nick Fury and Maria Hill seek his help in defeating “The Elementals”, alongside Quentin Beck/Mysterio. But this doesn’t feel like a narrative advancement past what we saw from Peter in Homecoming. The fun John Hughes teenage drama vibe is still here, as is the typical trope of Peter balancing the dichotomy of love and having high-school fun with “great responsibility” that we’ve seen for the past two decades. This movie has some factors that set it apart though: Mysterio proves to have a very cool power set, and with that comes some surprisingly refreshing cinematography and a few fun surprises. The European setting also couples nicely with the use of some vintage filming techniques. But none of this made me feel like it could truly advance what I’ve already seen so many times before, just wrapped in a glitzy new package.

Something else bugged me a lot: the mid-credit scene. You NEED to stick around for it. I don’t mean it’s just that good (although I was very happy with one surprise). It features a massive narrative bombshell that is critical to the continuation of this franchise, somehow completely separate from the main film itself. This should have been included as part of the main story, and having it broken off from the continued narrative makes the ending feel super incomplete.

Is this movie bad? No not at all; it’s still fun Spidey action with great acting from Tom Holland and a solid supporting cast. But will I look back three years from now and say this was the best Spider Man flick? Probably not. 6.8/10

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