One of my favourite superheroes of all time is Marvel Cinematic Universe’s lovable Spider-Man. Therefore, writing about how the latest MCU offering Spider-Man: Far From Home disappoints is a little difficult for me. It’s easy to like the webslinger — he is cool, witty and most importantly, personable. The kind of guy you could bump into on the street and be sure that he would be warm and wise, all at once. So what went wrong this time?
Spider-Man: Homecoming was easier to get on board with, as far as the narrative is concerned. Origin stories always are. In the first installment of the reboot, Peter Parker aka Spider-Man was an awkward, gawky teen and you felt for him. In the sequel, however, he is trying to grow up and shoulder more responsibility post the death of his mentor and fellow Avenger Iron Man. At the surface level, balancing love, hormones, school life and superhero responsibilities sounds like the perfect ‘masala’ entertainer. But director Jon Watts entangles the plot by introducing a new frenemy of Spidey, Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio.
While the action sequences and visual effects are attractive enough, the story which binds these threads isn’t. There are quite a few easy-to-spot loopholes. (SPOILERS AHEAD) We know that Mysterio is a bad guy who doesn’t really have any superpower except maybe his intelligence and his short, nasty temper. He uses science to challenge Spider-Man and his allies. But post the reveal of Mysterio’s actual identity, everything else is messy and done half-heartedly. Mysterio uses illusions to fight Spider-Man, but how do they work? We are just shown a tech guy doing his tech stuff by way of explanation.
Gyllenhaal, despite being a versatile actor, is wasted in the movie. You are not scared of him and neither do you fear for your hero, the admirable Spider-Man. The dialogues are okay, but they could have been more polished. What’s sweet about the sequel is that the MJ-Peter Parker love story is developed further and we see more of the charismatic Zendaya on screen.
Jacob Batalon as Ned is the saving grace of the movie. His performance as the best friend and sidekick is on point as usual. Martin Starr as academic decathlon teacher Roger Harrington is hilarious.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is a well-cast movie but would have worked infinitely better had more time been spent in the writing room. Next time, maybe.