“Spider-Man: Far From Home” attempts to wrap up the “Endgame” storyline, while simultaneously blazing a new path for the Marvel Comic Universe, or MCU. And yet, what this newest installment in the storied, but fractured, “Spider-Man” franchise does is tedious, well-worn and adds no new creative juices to the world’s mightiest cinematic universe.
It begins with promise as a student film shown on the in-school news network recounts what happened to student life after the Thanos snap. The short video is edited exactly as you’d expect it to be, with cheesy music playing as a tribute of fallen Avengers plays on the screen. Another shot shows students who disappeared reappearing exactly where they had been, which leads to some hilariously staged comedy. Too bad it’s the only good comedy in the movie.
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is continuing to navigate high school after vanishing for five years. His class is taking a trip to Europe and he’s constructed an elaborate plan to woo Mary Jane (Zendaya) while they’re there. The entire love story here is painfully awkward. These two leads, for whatever the reason, cannot create any sort of chemistry with each other. Their scenes together are lifeless husks of earlier “Spider-Man” movies.
Considering the film is a follow up to “Spider-Verse” — one of the best superhero movies of 2018 — “Far From Home” simply never cares to understand its characters or their motivations. They’re simply small cogs in the gargantuan machine that is the MCU.
Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) shows up as an enigmatic hero who has come to save our world from the “Elementals” who are apparently traveling through the multi-verse eating other earths. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) believes Mysterio and is soon witness to the destructive power of these other-worldly monsters.
Of course, all the city-leveling chaos occurs in Europe exactly where Peter just happens to be.
The action scenes between Spider-Man, Mysterio and the Elementals are derivative and yawn-inducing. Giant computer-generated battles that feel small and inconsequential, because they lack imagination or any real stakes. The action sequences here harken back to “Spider-Man 3,” in which Spidey was battling a sandy Thomas Haden Church. There’s nothing fun or interesting about watching Spider-Man fight a giant CGI creature made from water.
The pacing of “Far From Home” is all off, too. It’s awkwardly stilted and never feels like it flows into a coherent storyline. Several jokes fall flat, almost like the set up to the joke was cut, but the punchline was left in. There’s a moment at the end of the film where resident bully Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) walks out to meet his limo driver. He looks up at the driver and says, “Oh, mother couldn’t make it?” Then there’s a beat, presumably waiting for audience laughter, but if there’s a joke there, it’s not landing. The whole movie is filled with instances like that where a disjointed movie never finds its rhythm. But it’s part of the MCU and people will see it because it’s tangentially connected to “Endgame” and at this point there’s no escaping Marvel’s universe that will simply keep expanding at an infinite rate.