More noise than signal

Spider-man: Far From Home

Republished from the show notes of my other site, Fuds on Film.

So, what exactly do you do with the MCU after the most ambitious crossover event in cinematic history TM Disney All Rights Reserved? Y’know, the one where you killed and then five years later unkilled half of the universe. Did you answer jokingly blow by it? Congratulations, you win a ticket to Spider-man: Far From Home, as you’d expect, the follow-up to Homecoming, and as, to be fair, you’d probably also expect, a film much more concerned with the Iron Man shaped hole in the MC universe.

Tom Holland’s Peter Parker, however, just wants a holiday. Fair enough. Being dematerialised and reconstituted five years later, an event now know as The Blip, and having your superhero mentor die is a lot to process, however thankfully / conveniently his supporting cast of friends and frenemies all blipped alongside him, almost as though that crossover event isn’t quite as ambitious as it thinks it was. Despite society by rights having been shattered entirely, the most pressing issue for these kids is a school summer trip to Europe, tourism still being a prime concern and I’m sorry, I won’t mention it again but it’s just super weird that the film completely glosses over what ought to have be a society shattering cataclysm as no real biggie in an attempt to rush back to normality, which I suppose has form in the comic book world, but I’d been hoping for better. I’d given Marvel some credit in Endgame for writing in that five year gap as opening up some interesting storytelling opportunities rather than the simple return to the status quo I’d been expecting, but if they’re going to treat it as a simple return to the status quo, consider this a finger snap for that praise.

Anyhow, back at the ranch, trouble follows Parker, really getting in the way of his plan to express his true feelings for Zendaya’s Mary Jane. Trouble, in this instance, being defined by huge, terrifying, city endangering elemental beasties straight out of a JRPG that an under-equipped Spider-man, having not packed his hi-tech supersuit, will have trouble banishing, but he’s helped by Jake Gyllenhall’s mysterious, er, Mysterio, with his lavish cape, smoky goldfish bowl helmet and sparkling green laser blasts. What a hero!

Before long he and Parker strike up a friendly relationship, and with Nick Fury and the remnants of SHIELD on board, Peter decides that, actually, the keys that Tony Stark left him to an AI buddy that controls an orbital strike platform would be better entrusted to Mysterio, a grown-ass man, a hero from an alternate dimension that’s not some punk kid struggling with the expectations being put on him. Without getting too deep into spoilers, lets just say that Mysterio is not what he seems and Parker will have cause to regret that decision and seek to undo it.

I’ve already, I trust, made clear my greatest bugbear with Far From Home, so I won’t repeat that. The rest of it, though, I’m on board with, mostly. Holland is again, really charming, and so are the interactions with Gyllenhall in both the film and in the press junkets they’ve been doing. The supporting cast are all pretty good, and while I suppose if this sort of thing annoys you maybe seeing tourist postcard hotspots being crushed will have you rolling your eyes, it’s undeniably more visually appealing than the action taking place in a supermarket carpark.

And, well, it does turn out that there’s a reasonable explanation for that plot wise, and that smoke and mirrors element does make a lot of the action more interesting in the final stretch, and directly attacks what was I think both of our concerns going into this, basically being that this would seek to have Peter Parker directly replace Tony Stark. I’m not sure I’m going to like the answer they’ve settled on, going by what’s so far the only mid-credits Marvel scene worth sticking around for, but at least they have explored it a bit. It’s a little reminiscent of Iron-Man 3 in that aspect, although I refer you to my earlier rant in so much as I’ve now got no real expectation of any sort of consistency or follow-through in that regard.

I’d still prefer a friendly neighbourhood spiderman, as opposed to the magic tech armoured drone commander spiderman he apparently must become, but there’s still hope that if seismic societal changes can be ignored, so can the push to Avengerise Spider-man, even if that further mocks the concept of a shared universe for these films in the first place, and frankly sets alarm bells for whatever Phase Whatever We’re On will hold. There’s an increasing number of corners Marvel have backed themselves into, to the point that it now looks like it’s entirely made of corners.

But that’s a wider concern. In this specific instance, I liked the film and think that it is fun and think that you should watch it and that is my review thank you very much.