Spider-Man: Far From Home swings from New York to Europe through floundering webs of exposition. Superhero fatigue is really kicking into full gear now, and not even my “Peter-Tingle” can avoid such a fate. I enjoyed ‘Homecoming’. It had its flaws and pacing issues, but delivered a smart take on the origin story that we’ve seen countless times before. Unfortunately for this sequel, it has far too many plot points to resolve acting as a sequel to ‘Homecoming’, ‘Endgame’, and closure to an entire phase of the MCU, to which it’s overstuffed. A case of the old “too many spiders on the spider web.” (Y’know, that famous phrase…). So, after the infamous “blip” that occurred, everything is back to normal which sees Peter adjust to life post-Avengers as he attempts to deal with global responsibilities and growing feelings for his classmate MJ.
Alas, life is never that simple for the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, as he must help combat the Elementals with the assistance of the mysterious Mysterio. The fibrous silk that is the narrative structure comprises of teen romance, high school comedy and superhero shenanigans. Three sub-genres mixed together to create a frivolous spider web that holds little to no weight. Now, hear me out! Viewing these genres as separate strands of entertainment, and the film is just that. Entertaining. The blossoming romance between Peter and MJ is delicate and loveable. The high school comedy is punchy and well-written, albeit somewhat forced and failed to personally make me crack up. And the superhero efforts made for some blockbusting extravaganzas, in particular the entire third act (which suffice to say, saved the entire film). Silky Venetian goodness.
However, the heavy-handed execution of combining these tonal changes was mediocre to say the least. Immediately, the introductory scene allows Mysterio, an Elemental and various returning characters to enter the scene. Literally, ten seconds. But that’s not my biggest problem. That primary issue goes to plot conveniences. In order to shift the genres, McKenna writes several unlikely conveniences (such as an Elemental randomly appearing in Venice where Peter was at the time) that sprays a huge jet of disbelief across the script. Oh but wait, apparently that was all planned! It’s incredibly lazy. And, like I said, only embedded to shift the genre tones. What’s worse is the excessive amount of exposition that exists, in what is one of the worst scenes from the entire MCU. A certain Mysterio reeling off a certain amount of unnecessary exposition to people in a certain bar. It was terrible. Atrocious even! So noticeable that I shook my head in anger.
Why was I angry? Because the rest of the film was pretty decent! Holland was fantastic once again as the eponymous hero and was able to showcase a range of emotional complexities. Zendaya was magnificent with her deadpan delivery. But the standout, which comes as no surprise, is Gyllenhaal. Never mind his outstanding natural beauty, it’s his acting! He was a perfect choice for Mysterio. Despite a few directional choices regarding his character which I did not necessarily appreciate, he was charismatic and memorable enough to be an excellent supporting character. The illusory scenes were inventive, involving and a perfect demonstration of Mysterio’s mischief. The visual effects, excluding a few human CGI moments, heightened the bombastic excitement of the third act. And heck, even the mid and post-credit scenes were of notable value.
It’s just a shame that the narrative cohesion that makes this web sticky holds little viscosity. If it wasn’t for the performances and third act, this spider would’ve drowned in the Venetian canals.