‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ is the perfect antidote to Endgame hangover
It’s an unenviable position to be in — the first Marvel superhero movie after the ultimate extravaganza that was Avengers: Endgame. And not even three months removed, at that. But Spider-Man: Far From Home proves to be the perfect antidote to the Endgame hangover. It’s light and airy, it’s high school funny, and it’s very, very meta.
Far From Home picks up pretty much from where Endgame ended, which means the world is adjusting to the bizarre spectacle of half the world’s population coming back to life after a five-year-hiatus, and Iron Man’s absence from the scene. Rather than getting all mopey about it, the film quickly recaps all the Endgame repercussions in the guise of a high school “news” report on a closed-circuit broadcast. Its clumsy presentation and the awkward student presenters set just the right adolescent tone for a movie about a 16-year-old superhero who spends as much time fretting about his crush on a classmate as he does worrying about saving the world.
With Peter Parker’s class on a two-week sightseeing tour of Europe, the movie alternates between Parker’s fumbling for the right words to say to his beloved MJ and his derring-do as Spider-Man battling monsters bent on destroying the great cities of Europe. It’s similar to the formula that made Tom Holland’s first Spider-Man film so successful — teen angst and gee-whiz energy. Throw in a new character nicknamed Mysterio for him to work with and you have yourself a solid Marvel Spider-Man sequel.
“This is Mr. Beck,” Nick Fury explains to Peter, introducing him to Mysterio. “Beck is from Earth, just not ours. It snapped a hole into our dimension … we have a job to do, and you’re coming with us.”
The film even has time for a throwaway tongue-twister: “Peter Parker here to pick up a passport please.”
The odd thing is that, following a couple of extra-special effects battles, the storyline seems to be wrapping up nicely but we’re only halfway through the movie!
It’s what happens in the second half that really sets this movie apart in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thrillingly, it dares to de-construct the MCU and Marvel Studios. All in good fun, of course. It even makes cracks at the audiences’ expense.
Warning: Very light spoilers ahead
For good chunks of the second half, the movie becomes very meta, meaning it looks critically at itself and also critiques our own role in the success of Marvel films. By pointing out that “illusion tech” is both the key to, and the flaw in, its cinematic world, Marvel is biting the hand that feeds it. But the studio is counting on the sophistication of its fans to acknowledge and even appreciate the brilliance of the illusion, even when the illusion is exposed.
In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Marvel gets to have its cake and eat it too. This July Fourth weekend, audiences will be eating it up in record numbers too.