Spider-Man: Far From Home is a better movie than Avengers: Endgame.
There. I’ve said it. I have tried to write this review three times now, slowly leading up to this point, and it never worked. So, I’m coming right out there with it. It’s a better movie.
Avengers: Endgame had a lot of satisfactory moments to it and did wrap up a couple of storylines very nicely. But it was also rife with problems. In the future, I may write a “the good, the bad, and the ugly” blog post about it and Captain Marvel. But we’re here to talk about Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Legacy and Identity
Tom Holland does a wonderful job capturing Peter Parker’s innocence, intelligence, and good nature. Whenever Peter messes up, it’s with that teenage naiveté that makes it hard for us to be angry with him. He simply doesn’t know any better but he’s doing the best he can with the knowledge and experience available. The movie never lets us forget, for one second, that Parker is just a 16-year-old kid being saddled with responsibilities that make 30-something-year-old men angst.
The movie is a coming-of-age story at its core. Peter is going on a school trip and plans on telling MJ how he feels. This is normal and natural for a boy his age. However, his “adult” responsibilities intrude. Iron Man’s death left a void in the world and there are people expecting Peter to fill that void. Peter doesn’t want to. In Spider-Man: Far From Home, all Parker wants is to be normal for just a few days. Just long enough to relax and be a normal teen. This is the fundamental tension on which the story builds.
Of course, all plans goes sideways and he finds himself having to make some very difficult choices, not just in the fight but whether or not he’ll take up Tony Stark’s legacy. He has an opportunity to let it go to who he thinks is a better fit for the job. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away but Peter struggles with some serious impostor syndrome and feelings of inadequacy that had me squirming in my seat.
But how does any of this make for a better movie than Endgame?
The Character Didn’t Get Lost
This is it. This is the only reason.
An issue in Endgame was that all of our quiet character moments appeared in the first half but vanished into action and explosions by the end. While there are plenty of both in this movie, we never forget what Peter’s personal stakes are or his personality. And the action sequences are so well-paced, we still see lots of character development as the plot hurtles towards its conclusion. Parker doesn’t monologue while he swings but his actions allow us to see him take up a new mantle in a way that is individual to him.
Another issue with Endgame was that there were just so many people to keep up with. The plot had to pause and explain where people were and why. We only get a few quiet moments between characters but that ended when things really began to ramp up. The movie stopped being about the individual characters and their struggles and became…a fight. One long action sequence.
Before you take up your pitchforks: I’m not saying Endgame was a bad film. But what makes Spider-Man: Far From Home a better movie is that while there are a lot of characters running around (we don’t have one villain but a team of villains and Fury is acting weird), we never lose sight of Peter Parker and his struggles. Explosions and other cast members didn’t drown out Peter’s voice.
That is what made the movie work the best for me. I loved the touching reminders of Tony and how Parker really does take after his father-mentor in all the best ways. I loved how Happy resumed the role he had with Tony Stark from the beginning. I loved how Aunt May is the supportive aunt who packs Peter’s suit for him. But, most of all, I love how the movie stayed true to the story without becoming overly complicated to the point where we forget the character until the last few beats of the film.
But There Has to Be Something Bad, Right?
Well, yeah, sure. I really hated when…
There was this one part…
Okay, the only part I didn’t like was when Parker suggests Captain Marvel come to their aid and Fury tells him “not to invoke her”.
On the one hand, that was our indication that something wasn’t quite right with Nick Fury. On the other, this is the bane of introducing an overly powered character. You continually have to come up with excuses as to why she isn’t there at all or why she can’t use the full-strength of her powers just so you can have a plot.
Yeah, I’m definitely going to have to write a blog ranting about Captain Marvel and that character. I might get banned from all discourse but it’s my unpopular opinion and I’m allowed to have it.
But back to the header: I didn’t have any major problems with Spider-Man: Far From Home. The pacing was good. The writing was tight. Everyone (except Fury) was acting well within character. The stakes stayed high. Expectations were met. All around, 11/10 movie. I can’t wait for the next one.
AND FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE, STAY UNTIL THE END OF THE CREDITS.