The latest Marvel film is a shaky kickoff to a new era
Following explosive Marvel films like Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), audiences needed a Spider-Man sequel that could capture the fun character of Spider-Man while respecting the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)'s continuous storyline. The two forerunners played important roles in the MCU, as they saw the retirement of beloved heroes such as Iron-Man and Captain America. With these figureheads out of the picture, Marvel had their work cut out to get audiences to accept the future of the MCU, starting with Spider-Man: Far From Home.
The film follows high schooler Peter Parker (Tom Holland), or Spider-Man, who is struggling to meet expectations of becoming the next Iron Man. Wanting to adopt a regular life and escape the stress of being Spider-Man, Peter joins his school's trip across Europe and takes a shot at a normal high school relationship. When destructive creatures begin to appear wherever his school goes, Peter reluctantly answers the call to action from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the man who brought together heroes like the Avengers and new hero Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). But as he soon finds out, looks can be deceiving.
Far From Home is a creative and light-hearted movie that throws in as many jokes as the script can hold. The movie’s purpose is to cheer up audiences and fill the void left by the exit of heroes who dominated Marvel titles for the last decade. The change from the catastrophes in Infinity War and Endgame to the humor and lightheartedness in Far From Home is abrupt and disorienting, especially since Iron-Man was Peter’s mentor and father-figure.
The plot starts off slow but gradually picks up the pace throughout the movie. It soon becomes clear that the Peter we see is the opposite of the boy eager to dive into heroism from Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). In Far From Home, Holland brilliantly captures a character who is torn between leading a normal life and saving the world as Spider-Man.
Though individual performances of characters are well-cast and realistic, their interactions are the true weakness of the film. In Homecoming, we were introduced to a quirky Mary Jane "MJ" Watson (Zendaya). Far From Home tries to further develop MJ as Peter’s love interest, but falls short through awkward dialogue that results in an underdeveloped relationship between the two.
The movie also attempts to portray Mysterio as an inspirational figure for Peter, but with minimal interaction between the two, it is unrealistic how their relationship evolved in such a short amount of time. The one exception to this trend is Peter’s best friend, Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), whose satirical wisdom provides a calm break from the forced character interactions.
The film’s strong suit is its cinematography and visual effects. Far From Home exhibits stunning and realistic settings with destructive creatures seemingly rising beneath the characters’ feet. A few scenes in the movie show supernatural battlegrounds reminiscent of those from Doctor Strange (2016). Aside from damage and destruction provided by effects, director Jon Watts also captures the unique ambiance of European cities, from the narrow and busy canals of Venice to the bright and colorful Signal Festival in Prague.
Despite its shortcomings, Far From Home as a standalone is a fun movie that maintains the youthful and humorous characteristics of Spider-Man. With mesmerizing and creative cinematography along with setups for future conflicts, it will be interesting to see how Marvel looks to move on further after Endgame.
Rajit Mukhopadhyay. Hey, this is Rajit. As a Blair junior you can often find me playing tennis, hanging out with friends, or in the 240s hallway traffic jam. More »