Spider-Man: Far From Home: Far from good.

Okay, so it isn’t terrible, but it also isn’t better than Spider-Man: Homecoming. It’s not even better than Spider-Man 3.

Let me just state up front: I’ve never really been on board with Tom Holland as Peter Parker. I can understand them wanting to reboot Spidey to appeal to a younger demographic, and in that aspect, they nailed it. It’s just something about the actor that doesn’t sit well with me. It’s not his acting; he pulls off portraying an awkward teenager perfectly, I dare say. I dunno, millennial Peter Parker and his whole crew are just kinda… not my bag. But don’t worry, I’m not gonna tell these damn kids to get off my lawn just yet.

The other thing that irks me about this new Spider-Man is him having a mentor/surrogate dad in Tony Stark. Spidey was awesome because he was an plucky, earnest young man from Queens who was smart enough to design his own suit and web shooters; we didn’t need a Spider-Man with a shiny metallic suit, taser webs and an on-board AI. Update a few things for the 21st century, sure. But, in true Stark fashion, they went way overboard.

As Far From Home opens, Spidey’s still in the spacey, nanotech-infused Spidey suit he wore in Avengers: Endgame. He’s less concerned with continuing on with superhero-ing (going so far as to dodge calls from Nick Fury), and much more concerned with getting MJ to fall in love with him during their field trip to Europe. What he finds so alluring about her is anybody’s guess. MJ is, as far as I know, not Mary Jane Watson; she’s some generic chick named Michelle Jones. Why’s she here, and not the regular, red-haired knockout MJ, who the hell knows. Seems like every new Peter Parker has to hang out with a different assortment of friends. The only non-Aunt May character who keeps surfacing throughout the reboots is Flash Thompson. Meh.

Speaking of Aunt May, she and Stark’s attaché Happy Hogan are flirting hot and heavy, much to Peter’s dismay. It’s played for laughs, as is Ned Leeds and Betty Brant’s whirlwind romance. More accurately, it’s played for laughs that just don’t come, because the comedy in this movie falls flatter than Gwen Stacy did in Amazing Spider-Man 2. I smirked maybe twice throughout the whole flick.

They try to explain, poorly, how half the population poofed out of existence, then poofed right back five years later, but it only left me more confused than I already was. They call it “the Blip (after the short-lived Marvel video game magazine of the same name),” and say that the people who “Blipped” only aged about eight months, while all non-Blipped people aged five years in real time. Which brings up more questions: We know Peter Blipped, but we don’t know which of his friends did, so it makes sense that he’s still in high school. But, wouldn’t all the non-Blipped kids be in their early twenties, and in college, or vo-tech, or whatever? Then later on they say that students Flash and Brad both Blipped, but they’re suddenly five years older. But, didn’t they say it was the non-Blipped kids who aged five years? “It’s math,” Betty says. Must be that new math that today’s parents are upset about.

This film continues the practice of introducing a brand-new baddie for Spidey to battle. This time, it’s Mysterio, the master illusionist/trickster, and just like everything else, he’s upgraded with the latest tech. His illusions manage to fool everyone, including Peter, all in an effort to obtain an AI that Stark entrusted to Peter. Why does he want it? The short answer is because he’s nuts. The long answer is even less interesting, so I’m-a skip it. Mysterio’s illusions are nice to look at and all, but they only succeed in turning the movie’s plot holes into plot canyons. And I’m not even gonna address the ridiculousness of that whole “Night Monkey” debacle.

spider-man-far-from-home-jake-gyllenhaal-mysterio-3b_marvel
You can totally see the strings.

The effects are standard superhero-type stuff, lots of ‘splosions, laser beams shooting from hands, etc. There’s a cool sequence where Mysterio tortures Spider-Man by bombarding his senses with illusions, but the same kind of thing was done already in Doctor Strange three years prior.

There’s basically nothing in Spider-Man: Far From Home that’s got me excited for “Phase 4” of the MCU films. Maybe after about two dozen movies, I’ve finally hit the wall. Or maybe this just wasn’t very good. One and a half out of five stars.

 

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