Over the past decade, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has stolen the spotlight in Hollywood, generating literally billions of dollars in the box office in addition to an incredible amount of fans of all kinds. Most recently, the MCU reached its theatrical peak with Avengers: Endgame, which delivered the most epic climax and most satisfactory conclusion out of all the Marvel films… at least in my eyes. Since the Endgame dust had settled, I was skeptical if Spider-Man: Far From Home was even worth a watch in theatres. I lacked the appetite for another epic adventure with the signature Marvel branding, thus, I expected another tired, soulless Hollywood blockbuster like Captain Marvel. Fortunately, this was anything but Captain Marvel and shines a promising light on the future of the franchise.
One of the most amicable aspects of the film was the tone. From the dialogue to the pacing, and even the narrative structure, the film mildly meandered its way to the ending. The actors seemed to be covering their lines for the second or third time, stammering and stuttering in an apparent, yet subtle way. A major plotline in the story is actually Peter Parker struggling to express his feelings to MJ. The camerawork pays close attention to both Peter’s and MJ’s faces when they encounter each other. Their eyes wrestle away from each other and Peter often finds excuses to either join together or separate. It evokes a starkly honest tonality in the character dynamics. Similar can be said for most high school characters.
Beyond Peter and MJ, the cast behaves with an unusual realism often lost in a majority of action blockbusters. The most recent example I could think of outside of Far From Home would be Endgame, but that died off when it was forced to become expository when detailing the Time Heist. I don’t recall many lines sticking out as something no real person would say other than the obviously silly jokes tossed in for audience reaction. Even the moronic chaperones had credibility, as many high school students could relate to the chaperones not being the brightest bulbs in the closet. As a result, the humor is greatly enhanced and often made me loudly chuckle. One thing that isn’t credible is the fact a New York public school could afford a multinational voyage in Europe. Perhaps Stark Industries awarded a grant?
Refreshingly, the story wasn’t predictable. I could not foresee a single beat of the plot, except for one twist as I had knowledge of a particular character beforehand. Those unaware would have no idea who the villain is until it is revealed, which results in an enthralling mystery that keeps the audience engaged. Speaking of the villain, I absolutely adored the first battle sequence directly between Spider-Man and the main antagonist. How he psychologically torments Parker coupled with the internal dilemma Parker faces donning the Spider-Man name delivers a terrific event in the film and stands out as one of my favorite moments in the MCU, period.
One of the weaker elements of the film would perhaps be the action. It’s naturally very challenging to stand out in a medium riddled with ambitious action movies. With this perspective, the action in Far From Home was adequate. It didn’t really do anything wrong, mind you. The visual effects, however, were definitely stronger than say, Black Panther. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the film itself was eye-catching with the diverse locales, thanks to the film taking place in several countries and environments. The musical score is also very high quality and worthy of a separate listen if you admire that aspect of film. I appreciate the mixture of synthetic musical components with the genuine orchestral foundation of the score. That’s becoming a common trend lately in big-budget movies and I like it.
Spider-Man: Far From Home takes the most cherishable qualities of its predecessor, Homecoming, and capitalizes on the relationship with Peter and MJ. As the credits rolled, I concluded that Tom Holland is my favorite theatrical version of Spider-Man (and Zendaya is way better in this as MJ). He makes mistakes like any teenager would and manages to redeem himself and ultimately become a stronger hero. While this might be the last of MCU Spider-Man standalone movies due to Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios contractual agreement ending with this film, I hope the two entities extend their partnership so Jon Watts can finish any unresolved questions raised at the end of Far From Home.
I greatly enjoyed my time with FFH. It experimented with the Marvel formula enough for me to harken back to it for future installments. The characters deserve the strongest commendation from critics and the villain was surprisingly transformative, both figuratively and literally. It didn’t necessarily push the envelope as heavily as Endgame did, but it delivered something with an unfamiliar, but welcome spice to the superhero genre. Hopefully, this film and Shazam! both act as models for future superhero movies. Action and expository stories can be entertaining if done properly like in Captain America: Winter Soldier. However, audiences will eventually demand a break of pace, and Far From Home is certainly a step in the right direction. It’s definitely worth your two hours and change.
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