If Spider-Man: Far From Home established one thing, it’s that Tom Holland is Spider-Man. He’s the best to ever play the role, by leaps and bounds. Holland magnificently balances playing the part of the teenager enjoying being a superhero, the confused teenager who just wants to be a kid and the human being who is given a great responsibility that’s prone to human error, even though he feels like he shouldn’t be.
Actually, that was well-established by Spider-Man: Homecoming and this film surely cemented Holland’s ability to accurately portray both Peter Parker and Spider-Man. With that being said, if it wasn’t for Holland, I’m not sure where or how this film holds up. It’s not a bad movie by any means but I feel like it didn’t succeed nearly as well as its predecessor.
I remember walking out of Spider-Man: Homecoming nearly in awe that I had finally witnessed a great portrayal of one of the greatest comic book superheroes in history. But it wasn’t just a great portrayal of the iconic character – that film also had a good story, with a good villain, it was sensible, it didn’t repeat a tired origin story and it didn’t bombard the audience with too much going on at one time. Spider-Man: Homecoming is one that I still go back to watch because it has great replay value. I’m not sure Spider-Man: Far From Home has any of that. In time, upon digital and Blu-ray release, the more it’s viewed, the better it could be, which is how I felt about other Marvel films like Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 and Ant-Man – two efforts that I didn’t care too much for on the first viewing.
It was no surprise that Mysterio was the villain of this, even though the trailers tried to fool us all otherwise. But the turn – even though there was strong motivation for his actions – comes with little thought and even some laziness from the writing and from a character standpoint. This is definitely not Jake Gyllenhaal’s best work. The first half of the movie where he’s portraying a faux hero is bland – and that, to a degree, is what he’s supposed to be like – but it seems to take up way too much of the film, often feeling silly. Mysterio is way more engaging by the second half of the film when he becomes a full-on villain. The modernization of the character with technology and special effects makes him way more interesting. Seeing how Mysterio creatively uses the tech to his advantage at least helps some of what he did to set up his work earlier in the film, making it seem a little less dumb.
Some of the better parts of the film definitely come in the second act but at the beginning, and even throughout, there are explanations of what has happened to those who have now returned from Thanos’ snapping of half the worlds population. In this movie, unlike in Endgame, it’s done in a way more humorous, light-hearted way.
This isn’t a bad film at all. It’s a fun film like anything else in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Again, it’s worth it just to see Holland take on the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man. There’s also a fantastic mid-credits scene. But there’s no way this cracks the Top 10 in all-time comic book films or even in the MCU. It is probably the second best Spider-Man film – even though that isn’t saying much. But are we counting Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse? If so, then I’d say it falls to the third spot.
I do wonder if this extended run of comic book films is getting tiresome, though. Don’t get me wrong, I love comic book films, but they all hit the same beats, seemingly one in the same film over and over, multiple times a year. What used to be ever so often, if ever, has now become the constant – the norm. There’s no shortage of comic book films, even if they’re bad and Marvel just keeps finding hidden pieces of their library to make into film.
So is it time for a break? Maybe. But we know that’s not happening anytime soon. Comic book films dominate the box office throughout multiple months of the year now. There’s at least two dozen of those films between DC and Marvel coming out between now and 2022.
I’m giving this a 7.1, which, in my grading, is on the edge of good and means you should still go see it in theaters if you can. Anything lower than a 7.0 is borderline questionable. But, as I’ve said, you have things that make this good enough, like Holland’s performance, some fairly memorable moments and visuals between Spider-Man and Mysterio and the on-going story of the MCU.
Here’s the final review:
7.1 out of 10
Next up: The Lion King