Review: SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME Arrives Just In Time

FIRST IMPRESSION

Despite being predictable, Spider-Man: Far from Home is still entertaining and satisfying because of the charming humor and romance.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Spider-Man: Far from Home is the latest adventure featuring our favorite web-slinger after the events of Avengers: Endgame, this time taking him away from his friendly neighborhood role and sending him across the pond to Europe, where he must fight forces unlike any he has seen before. (Warning: This review does not contain spoilers for Spider-Man: Far from Home, but it does contain major spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, so if you haven’t seen the latter yet, stop reading now.)

Unfortunately, this film doesn’t quite live up to the heights of Spider-Man: Homecoming (which is one of the best installments of the MCU to date) because the story is rather predictable. If you are familiar with the comics, everything goes pretty much as you would expect, which has its pros and cons. On one hand, you will be excited that the movie brings the comics to life properly. However, it will also be more difficult to get into the story as you know where it is going to end.

As a result, much of the action feels underwhelming. Even beyond the fact that you can easily tell the direction in which the sequences are heading, the idea is much cooler on paper than it is on the screen. Some of the action simply isn’t cinematic. There are one or two really cool action scenes, although they are disappointingly brief and anticlimactic.

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Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN™ : FAR FROM HOME. Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.

The visual effects of the film obviously aren’t bad — we are talking the Marvel Cinematic Universe after all — although they aren’t super impressive either. The elementals that we see throughout the movie do seem a bit cartoonish in a few shots, as does some of the carnage that results from the battles. Although it is never distracting, it is noticeable given the otherwise unmemorable nature of the action.

That said, the film does a very good job with the other elements of the story, particularly the human elements. Tom Holland is as charming as ever as the friendly (not so) neighborhood Spider-Man, but this movie allows him to show even more of a range than usual. He has two major emotional arcs — coping with the loss of his mentor, Tony Stark, and trying to express his feelings to the girl he likes, MJ — and the scenes in which he explores them are the most interesting parts of the film.

The movie also takes the supporting characters (old and new) in interesting directions. For example, it is nice to see MJ being more than a damsel-in-distress and/or manic pixie dream girl. It did take some acclimation in order to understand the very different personality of the new MJ, as played by Zendaya, but by the end of the film, it works very well. Additionally, this movie finally does something with Cobie Smulders’s Maria Hill, showing that she has the potential to be awesome if she gets a more significant part in future installments.

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Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Holland star in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN™ : FAR FROM HOME. Photo credit: Jay Maidment.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays Mysterio in the film, and although the character is done well, Gyllenhaal didn’t seem to be the right fit for the role. Gyllenhaal is a very talented and gifted actor, and he does have a couple of very strong scenes in the movie, but more often than not, his performance seems like a missed opportunity. It would have been nice to see him portray the character in a way akin to his performance in Nightcrawler.

The humor in the film is also very good. Writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers did a good job of making the tone feel adequately quirky without going over-the-top. The Hughes-esque nature of Homecoming was arguably more effective, but this movie still worked for what it was. At least it didn’t try to be another road movie — Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok have that style covered.

Spider-Man: Far from Home may not be one of the best entries into the MCU, but it is still a solid amount of fun and better than either of the Amazing Spider-Man movies. Make sure you stay seated until after the credits, as you do not want to miss what happens!

Spider-Man: Far from Home opens in theaters on July 2.

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Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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