It’s not easy being a teenager. It’s even harder when all you want to do with your not-so-secret superpower is act locally while your fellow Avengers want you to think globally. Such is the dilemma facing that friendly neighbourhood webslinger, Peter Parker (Tom Holland), in SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME.
The world has moved on after Thanos vapourized half of humanity and the Avengers brought it all back but lost Iron Man and a few other superheroes in the process. (If you didn’t know that by now, you must have been living in another universe.) The fact that some people are now five years older than they were before they were turned to dust has gone unexplained and everyone just refers to the event as “the Blip”. For Peter, though, he has other things on his mind. His class is about to go to Europe and he’s looking forward to the opportunity to get closer to MJ (Zendaya, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN). But no sooner do the kids get to their first stop in Venice than that city is besieged by a watery monster that wreaks havoc there. Fortunately, a new superhero arrives in the nick of time to save the day. The kids dub him “Mysterio” (Jake Gyllenhaal, THE SISTERS BROTHERS; LIFE; DEMOLITION) but Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, CAPTAIN MARVEL) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) know him as Quentin Beck, a human from another Earth dimension who previously saved them from a wind monster that had destroyed a Mexican town. Peter, who is looking for a new father figure after the death of Tony Stark, immediately bonds with Beck and decides to give him Stark’s iconic sunglasses that Fury had given to Peter. Not surprisingly, that was a bad decision.
The 23rd film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the final chapter in “The Infinity Saga”, SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME has less to do with moving forward to the franchise’s next phase than it does with mopping up the bits and pieces left behind after AVENGERS: ENDGAME. (If you want to get an indication of what’s coming in Phase 4, you’ll find out in the film’s two mid-credit sequences.) When Peter isn’t mooning over MJ, he’s moaning about missing Tony. There’s not a lot more to this film than that. Oh sure, he still fights the bad guys and swings from bridges and rooftops but there is little tension and not much character development to be found. The biggest question we have is not whether good will triumph over evil but whether the boy will get the girl. Fortunately, Holland is eminently likeable, as are Zendaya, Jacob Batalon (“Ned”), Tony Revolori (“Flash”) and Angourie Rice (“Betty”) and their scenes together are fun to watch. Gyllenhaal, who always puts in a good performance, is unfortunately let down by the film’s weak third act that doesn’t have quite the bang that director Jon Watts (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING) was hoping for.
As unimpressive as the film is, SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME is still mildly entertaining though it’s certainly not going to go down as one of the better entries in the franchise. That won’t matter to fans though, who will be flocking to see the film this weekend. Like Peter, they’re not done mourning Tony Stark.
Watch the review recorded on Facebook Live on Friday, July 5th at 8:30 am HK time!
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