In case you are losing count, Spider-Man: Far From Home marks the closure for Marvel’s Phase 3 shortly after the epic culmination of Avengers: Endgame over two months ago. And instead of going out with a bang, returning director Jon Watts along with screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers opted for a more lightweight approach. Think of it this way: if Avengers: Endgame the main course, then Spider-Man: Far From Home is akin to a light dessert.
In this latest MCU’s Spider-Man instalment, the sequel takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame, where everything seemingly back to normal. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) decided to move on as he looks forward to his upcoming European trip with fellow classmates. But what he wants the most is trying to win the heart of MJ (Zendaya) but finds himself competing with Brad (Remy Hii). Of course, things do not go as smooth as planned when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) requires Peter’s service to don his Spider-Man costume and assists a fishbowl-helmeted superhero nicknamed Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) to take down otherworldly villains known as the Elementals.
Spider-Man: Far From Home basically rehashes most of the storytelling beats previously seen in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, complete with the same coming-of-age teenage drama, lots of jokey moments and even more romantic-comedy vibe this time around.
While “lightweight” and “jokey” are often MCU’s bread-and-butter formula, Jon Watts and his co. seems to stretch their teenage romantic-comedy approach a tad too far from home (no pun intended) that the core of the superhero genre itself feels like an afterthought. Their approach also creates another bigger problem: they fail to address much of Peter’s emotional journey after witnessing the death of his mentor and father figure, Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame. Sure, there is a moment where Peter felt sad and tearful over Iron Man’s demise. But such a scene is disappointingly perfunctory.
Another disappointment here is the would-be inspired casting of Jake Gyllenhaal as Quentin Beck a.k.a. Mysterio. While Gyllenhaal looks like he’s having fun with his role, it’s a shame that his antagonist character lacks a solid motivation while his subsequent reveal — where you have to see it for yourself — feels both half-baked and pathetic. Frankly, it was a waste of talent for someone like Jake Gyllenhaal and made me missed Michael Keaton’s Vulture character, who did a better job playing Spidey’s main antagonist in Spider-Man: Homecoming even more.
Still, Spider-Man: Far From Home isn’t completely a missed opportunity. It still has its few moments, with Jon Watts manages to improve by leaps and bounds in the action department. The action set-pieces are more fluid and crisply edited, with notable scenes set in Venice and London. Some of the actings are worth mentioning here, particularly Tom Holland’s dorky yet likeable role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man while displaying charming chemistry with Zendaya’s MJ. Jason Batalon, in the meantime, continues to provide solid support as Peter’s geeky best friend Ned.
Likewise, sit back as Spider-Man: Far From Home contains both mid-credit and post-credit scenes. One of them, of course, particularly fascinates me the most to see where the filmmakers would go from there.