There’s a line in Spider-Man: Far From Home when they are discussing all the incredible events that have happened and the public’s unquestioning acceptance of the stories behind them, where they say that ‘people will believe anything now’. This is a comment on the audience watching the film as much as it is those in it because to be honest, the film is a little silly. Frankly though all of these Marvel films are stretching incredulity now. Aliens, wizards, walking trees, talking raccoons and people being snapped in and out of existence with magic stones are all a long way from the metal suits and simple super serum that we started with a decade ago. Is this film any sillier than Endgame? No, not really and it takes itself less seriously, but you know, people will believe anything now.
I think the reason that Spider-Man: Far From Home doesn’t get away with it in the same way as the best of the Marvel films is that it feels a little looser, a little less refined. It isn’t as free wheeling as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which to my mind went off the rails, but it is still the product of film makers who pretty much know that they can get away with anything now. Spider-Man: Far From Honed wouldn’t be an inappropriate title.
To its credit though, the movie is aware of this and actually makes it part of the plot. The narrative has Peter Parker returning to his life having spent five years away and moving on after the loss of his father figure (not Uncle Ben in this case). He is soon drawn back to his great responsibilities as a superhero though when massive water, earth and fire creatures start popping up and smashing the famous European cities he just happens to be visiting. Don’t worry, it is all explained away.
Fighting improbable monsters isn’t Pete’s main problem though. The real drama revolves around his efforts to get the girl and here, where everything is dialled down, the movie is quite sweet. The parts where this runs entirely separately from the superhero stuff are when the film proves most engaging and the sections where these combine, like an odd sequence where he nearly kills a love rival, don’t nail the landing quite as well. Boy meets girl is relatable, boy meets invincible lava giant less so.
None of this stops Spider-Man: Far From Home being a great night out at the movies though. My daughters loved it and will be cross at me for being critical but I kind of loved it too. It isn’t as good as Spider-Man: Homecoming and it isn’t as groundbreaking as the best MCU films but it is hard to be surprising twenty three films in with a character that has already been in four of them (and six or seven other movies). It has an interesting bad guy though who is a curious mix of Justin Hammer and Trevor Slattery. It also has Zendaya as MJ who is so much more than your usual love interest because she is a) not impossibly beautiful, b) not white, and c) not totally ineffectual. There is a nice play on the ‘don’t know what is real and what is not’ trope and the geography of London, where the final battle takes place, is actually correct unlike in Thor: The Dark World. The Tower of London is actually next to Tower Bridge and just over the river from The Shard. I’m assuming the layouts of Venice and Prague are accurate too which is rare in Hollywood films and should be commended. Finally, if you are fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe then there are some nice nods, both big and small, to that ongoing story.
Speaking of which let’s get into a spoilery discussion of the mid and post credits scenes. If you’ve not seen Spider-Man: Far From Home then sorry but you need to leave now. See you back here soon.
I don’t have much to say about the first of these two sequences. Peter Parker being blamed for the destruction of Tower Bridge and the death of Quentin Beck is something that may be fixed quite quickly in the next film. His exposure is a bigger deal but the most notable thing here is J.K Simmons returning as J. Jonah Jameson, the same character he played in the Sam Raimi/Toby Maquire Spider-Man films. It is as though they are saying that some actors are so good in a particular role that no one else could possibly ever play them, which is a nice footnote to a film that spends its whole time asking who will be the next Iron Man.
The more interesting clip is the final one that shows that Nick Fury and Maria Hill were really the Skrulls, Talos and Soren, all along. This works because in retrospect you realise that Fury and Hill have been slightly out of character all the way through. Hill has been more sardonic and Fury possibly wasn’t joking when he said he would murder the next person to knock on that door. It also makes sense of Fury telling Peter it wouldn’t have been appropriate to speak to him at Stark’s funeral when Peter had just said the same thing. He said it regardless because this is what the real Fury had told him to say.
Then there is that line in response to Peter earlier asking why Captain Marvel can’t come to save the day. It sounds like Talos Fury said ‘don’t evoke her name’ which would be odd since Fury is such a friend of Captain Marvel. That not right though. What he actually said was ‘don’t invoke her name’ as in don’t you call on our goddess and saviour, you have no right to question her, which following the events of the Captain Marvel movie makes perfect sense.
Then in the closing moments we see the real Nick Fury stepping up and looking for his shoes on a Skrull crewed spaceship. Jameson smameson! Where is this going? With this many shapeshifting Skrulls on some kind of mission anyone might not be who they appear to be anymore. Twenty three films are neatly wrapped up in a hundred and twenty nine minutes and then twenty three more are instantly set up in two. Now that’s a post credit sting!