Film Review: SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME - "A Nice Phase 3 Finale That Introduces NEW Phase 4 Sta
It's hard to think that just 4 years ago, the thought of Spider-Man interacting with the heroes of the MCU seemed ridiculous; however, thanks to a deal struck between Sony & Marvel Studios - 4 movie-appearances later, three as cameos & one as a solo outing, respectfully - this seemingly unlikely reality is now real as I now share with you my thoughts on the new Spider-Man sequel, FAR FROM HOME. Coming off the heels of the record box-office shattering MCU-crossover film, AVENGERS: ENDGAME, the film acts as a "sequel" - of sorts - to the former film as it provides closure to some of the story threads left from that blockbuster. Therefore with that said, it should go without saying that this review will have MILD SPOILERS. So, if you want to stay completely fresh, you may not want to read on; otherwise, if you're still here, let's dive (or swing) in! Shall we?
In contrast to the somber, yet optimistic ending of ENDGAME, let me first say that from its opening frames, FAR FROM HOME provides a nice palette cleanser to the former film. For example, in it's opening sequence, the film manages to not only creatively weave around the loss of Tony Stark (who sacrificed himself in ENDGAME), but also highlights the repercussions of the Hulk (or Professor Hulk, if you want to get nerdy) snapping back all of those whom Thanos had "snapped away" in last year's AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. In any other studio's hands, the execution of this sequence could have been quite heavy & emotionally devastating; however, in true Marvel Studio form, the film manages to bring a great deal of levity to those dark themes of loss examined in ENDGAME. Additionally, "the repercussions," mentioned before, also provide intriguing plot ripples that will likely be explored in the MCU going forward (see BLACK PANTHER 2 or DOCTOR STRANGE 2 as likely candidates).
In FAR FROM HOME, however, the consequences of "the Hulk's snap" come in the form of mysterious superhero, Quentin Beck (JAKE GYLLENHAAL), aka Mysterio, who has appeared on our current Earth - from an alternate Earth - in pursuit of the dangerous humanoid entities called The Elementals. Working in tandem with Nick Fury (SAMUEL J. JACKSON) and Maria Hill (COBIE SMULDERS), they decide to seek the help of our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man (TOM HOLLAND) at the worse possible time, during his school trip - where he plans to woo "MJ" (ZENDAYA)! As the team of Spider-Man, Mysterio & company systematically track down The Elementals it eventually becomes clear that there is more going on with these enemies than meets the eye. Aside from its humor, provided in spades, thanks to its talented ensemble and solid script, FAR FROM HOME also excels in its spectacular (pun intended) action sequences - which fully utilize and display the abilities of its heroes.
Still, despite its many positives, FAR FROM HOME was not perfect, and due to some MCU-laden tropes, it had some issues. First, I'll start with the villain's origins. In common MCU form, the antagonist was a disgruntled figure from a certain character's past, rather than being a newly introduced character to the world. Now, while I understand the appeal of having a villain arise from this character, I feel that it was a wasted opportunity; especially considering how large the MCU is at this point. With that in mind, it would have been cooler for the antagonist to come from elsewhere. Secondly, I would mention the use of humor vs. drama. In the same that THOR: RAGNORAK suffered in some instances for being too comedic, I felt that a few of the "serious" moments felt of place in the quippy, comedic tone that FAR FROM HOME was seemingly going for.
All in all, despite my gripe with a certain MCU trope and its occasional imbalance of humor vs. drama, SPIDERMAN: FAR FROM HOME is a very fun and welcome entry that indeed acts as - Marvel Studios producer Kevin Feige puts it - a finale to Phase 3 of the MCU. However, while it simultaneously wraps up some story points of what has come before, it also undoubtedly forever shakes up the world of the MCU world as we know it.
* As with most MCU films, stick around for two end credit scenes: one in the middle of the end credits and one at the VERY, VERY end. Trust me when I say that both are worth it!
SPIDERMAN: FAR FROM HOME swings into theaters on July 2, 2019.
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