Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home


Five years have passed since Thanos’ snap, which millennials have coined as the Blip. Everyone who got “blipped” and came back post-Endgame now faces the oddity of being five years younger than their contemporaries. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) finds it hard to adjust to life without Tony Stark and believes that their coming school trip to Europe can be a perfect opportunity to unwind, except that he is ambushed by otherworldly Elementals attacking Venice, London, and Prague. Lucky for him, Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), who claims to be from an alternate universe comes to help. Powered by an AI named Edith that Iron Man has left in his care, Spider-Man is forced to step up in a world with a shortage of Avengers to prove that he is indeed worthy of membership to the group, all while saving his friends as well as the planet itself.

Well that was a letdown. Bye bye, Multiverse, I guess? That theory held so much promise to be honest, especially with the new mutant acquisitions from the Fox merger. It’s not that bad, though. If anything, we must give credit where it’s due. At least they stay true to the comic books this time around. It’s not totally unpredictable given how most plot points end up being resolved and delivered to you with a nice bow within just an hour of runtime. There’s obviously something more in store.

The tone is kept light, akin to that of the first standalone MCU Spider-Man film. While maintaining the fundamental elements of the superhero genre, everything else seems very teenybopper. This is a story about teenagers, after all. The Euro trip setting also gives you a free tour of London, Venice, and Prague, which should probably be enough for people who argue that these movies are always set in New York to shut up. Diversity is also evident given the mix of Parker’s classmates. All boxes in a PC-MCU world, check.

What makes this incarnation differ from its Sony predecessors is that this wallcrawler’s storyline is just so intertwined with the Avengers to a point where he could no longer develop his own identity outside of that group. There must always be a Tony Stark namedrop, an Avengers reference or what have you. He’s no longer your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, but rather an Avengers wannabe who eventually becomes one and has made it his raison d’être to prove that he’s worthy of such recognition.

On the plus side, the special effects are superb, perhaps because of the subject matter they are dealing with. While there’s no matching Dr. Strange in the CGI department, Spiderman: Far from Home does give you an audiovisual treat that is borderline psychedelic at times. Add the various European locations that they visit and you are surely going to enjoy what you are seeing.

The mid-credits scene has major implications FOR THE NEXT SPIDEY FILM, but not for the MCU in general. This issue has played an important role in every Spider-Man storyline, but rather inconsequential in the context of the bigger MCU. These contradictory plot points make you wonder what Marvel and Sony are planning for the franchise. But at least we get a cameo from someone from 2002’s Spider-Man. Not who I was expecting, but still made me smile. Nostalgia, people. Nostalgia.

The post-credits scene does tease the direction that the MCU will take in Phase 4. While kind of ambiguous, the comeback of that duo only points to one major comic book event that they seem to be adapting next: Secret Invasion. The question is, will that hold a candle to the Infinity Gauntlet saga? At least that one had the infinity stones to tie the narrative together in one cohesive mega crossover. Secret Invasion doesn’t have such luxury and seems rather pointless now that the major players are gone. What are we up to here, Marvel? Seriously.

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