Editor’s note: If you haven’t seen “Avengers: Endgame,” there might be spoilers in this review.
The never-ending onslaught of super hero films continues with the sequel to Tom Holland’s version of Spider-Man with “Spider-Man: Far From Home.”
This teen-geared film finds Peter Parker (Holland) preparing to go on a school trip to Europe as he dreams of telling MJ (Zendaya) how he truly feels about her. It’s a grand romantic plan, but, of course, there is evil to be fought, and that pesky leader Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) just can’t let a kid be a kid for a summer.
Donning his Spider-Man suit, the young boy must fill the shoes of his beloved hero, Iron Man, and save the world.
Ultimately, this is just another formulaic super hero film, but it does have its unique appeal as the film pays homage to those heroes who were lost in battle.
The concept of those who disappeared only to return is referred to as the five-year “Blip,” and the consequences are wonderfully creative as you laugh out loud. The film also capitalizes wonderfully on that awkward first love or first crush in high school, as both Peter and his comedic sidekick, Ned (Jacob Batalon), navigate those choppy and unpredictable waters.
There are new threats that develop in the world as the evil Elementals (Fire, Water, etc.) begin to wreak havoc in every country. Fury looks to the young Spider-Man to help lead in this fight to save the world from imminent doom, but his reticence proves he’s not quite ready for the big league.
Thankfully, Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) steps in to help, and we see Peter’s longing for that father-figure in his life. The first half of the film, thanks to comedy, dialogue and the introduction of this new character, is great fun, but the remaining half of the film plummets into predictable chase and fight scenes overloaded with visually boggling CGI.
The story also blatantly attempts to make several social statements about our world today, particularly in the realm of media, but these, similar to the fight scenes, are very heavy handed. There’s no subtlety here.
What started out as cute, very funny, charming and even novel, developed into exactly what every other film in this genre typically is -- a big fight scene with good versus evil, lulling us into a light slumber.
The cast of characters makes the most of the script and truly shines in the first half.
Holland is supremely comfortable as the awkward teen charged with tasks only a man should be able to carry. It’s this internalized struggle he conveys with humor that makes Peter Parker a super hero for young fans to relate to as well as emulate.
Of course, that love interest with the smart, independent and striking MJ gives the story a boost of adrenaline, but it’s Batalon’s portrayal of Ned that brings us the extra charge of levity in this story. His timing and reactions are brilliant with unexpected dialogue that will have you roaring.
Jackson has honed his role as Fury, to no surprise, and Gyllenhaal is well-suited for playing Mysterio. He’s passionate and creates a believable character, no matter the situation.
With these elements shining in the film, it feels a different writer took over the reigns for the second half of the film, losing the pacing and charming comedic edge.
Of course, this is based on a graphic novel and the artistry in creating alternative realities is quite impressive, but it’s not enough to maintain a high interest level or carry the storyline. Perhaps it’s the two-hour-and-nine-minute running time that taxed my attention span, wanting the editing staff to cut about 30 minutes.
“Spider-Man: Far From Home,” even with its charming subplot of teen love and angst, is just another super hero movie in a world where I need Captain No More to save me from seeing another film in this genre.
Teens will love it, as will those who are invested in this universe, but if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.
Of course, you need to stay for the credits, as there is a scene at the end you don’t want to miss.