by Jai Hutchison
“You can dodge bullets, but not bananas? I thought you could sense that with your Peter Tingle.” Aunt May
Director: Jon Watts
Screenplay: Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers
Based on the Marvel comics: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
*Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame as well as Spider-Man: Far from Home*
Emotions are raw after the loss of many in Avengers: Endgame; there are countless tears, and that is just from me. Iron Man, who was a mentor and role model to Peter Parker having the most prevalent impact in this movie of those no longer with us in the MCU. This is something which we are reminded of throughout Far from Home in a myriad of ways; Technology that played a vital part of Iron Man’s journey is present throughout this movie, some of which Stark has passed on directly to Parker. Happy Hogan, Tony Stark's bodyguard, chauffeur and close friend plays a strong supporting role in this movie; he is now Parker’s connection to the Avengers as well as his glorified chaperone and he may or may not also be developing a relationship with Aunt May. Tony Stark is everywhere in this movie, even the new villain and his story is a derivative of his past relationship with Stark.
Moving forward from this hasty attempt to bring audiences up to speed, the movie then becomes much more an exploration of the mundane than one would expect within the MCU. The premise of Far from Home is Peter Parker’s identity and his struggle with who he is, who he is needed to be, and who he wants to be. Parker embarks on a school trip across Europe with his fellow classmates, trying with difficulty to step away from Spider-Man and just be a teenager. We follow Parker throughout his travels and on his mission to tell MJ how he feels about her: and although, as expected, a villain emerges to ruin the day, their narrative also turns out to be somewhat mundane.
At the helm of this movie Jon Watts returns as director with Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers also returning to work on the screenplay. However, this time around they are presenting the anticipated sequel to their Spider-Man: Homecoming as well as the next MCU instalment following Avengers: Endgame; so, there were predetermined expectations, and they were high. In terms of Spider-Man and the overall franchise, Far from Home also arrived around six months after its multi award-winning predecessor, ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’. Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman from a screenplay by Rothman and Phil Lord, Into the Spider-Verse, the first animated feature film of the franchise, was well received by audiences, picking up 63 awards including an Oscar for best animated feature in 2019; Far from Home had big shoes to fill.
Annoyingly, I was away from home when I saw Spider-Man: Far from Home, and therefore I didn’t have the option to see it anything other than 2D at the local cinema. However, this did not take away from the fact that this movie displays some excellent VFX. Most of the impressive VFX are related to villain Mysterio and his holographic techniques and projector drones; used to disorientate an individual and alter their perception on reality. The most impressive scene is the ‘Illusion Battle’ between Mysterio and Spider-Man. Throughout this scene we are shown the depths of Mysterio’s ability to convince someone that these illusions are their reality; this scene actually took 8 weeks to pull together. As a villain, Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio is a vast improvement on Michael Keaton’s Vulture from Spider-Man: Homecoming, despite the twist of his authenticity. The added element of a psychological threat gave the character more depth and added to the plot; reminding me of the types of villains you may find in Arkham and the scenarios which they have carried out.
There is also a great deal of comedy in this movie, and it is for that reason that I rather appreciate Tom Holland as our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. He brings a great sense of humour and goofiness to the role, which previous actors haven't. Paired up with Jacob Batalon as Parker’s best friend Ned Leeds, who knows all about Parker’s alias, the two are pretty funny. The only downside being that too much of it starts to create more of a teenage high-school comedy movie and less of a superhero movie. Marisa Tomei also brings humour to the movie in her role as Aunt May. Now that she knows about Spider-Man there is a shift in the dynamic of their relationship and it works really well, and is very funny; as are her scenes with Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan- potentially soon to be Aunt and Uncle Hogan?
I learnt two things from this movie: firstly, no one seems to have any interest in the Avengers anymore. Parker is resisting his Spider-Man responsibilities and attempting to just live life as a teenager for a while, no one else seems to be around to help save the world, not a single Avenger, and where exactly are Nick Fury and Maria Hill? I would love to say that we’ll find out in the next Spider-Man instalment, but alas… Is anyone else really hating Sony and Disney right now?
Secondly, Far from Home confirmed for me that Spider-Man cannot seem to have a movie that is truly just his. The Spider-Man movies starring Tom Holland, for some reason also have to include agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Avengers as well as other supporting cast from Avengers movies. I don’t recall Andrew Garfield having to share the Spidey-limelight with so many? Which is unfortunate because Holland portrayed Spider-Man very well and in a new, comical yet brilliant light.
Spider-Man: Far from Home was a good movie. It’s not a great movie but it’s funny and the characters are likeable; it just needs a better balance between super hero/ teenage comedy. I would really like to have seen how Spider-Man's character developed while portrayed by Holland; it's unfortunate that it will no longer materialise.
WE SAY FAREWELL TO SPIDER-MAN AND LOOK AT THE FUTURE OF THE MCU