*Spoilers Ahead for everything MCU related, including Spider-Man: Far From Home (duh)*
When we last saw our Marvel babies, they were all mourning the loss of the beloved Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. It was a sad, earned ending to the series (so to speak) and Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers wore a badass lesbian power suit.
And While Avengers: Endgame was kind of the final movie of the MCU’s phase 3, a culmination of years and years of character work, stand-alone movies, and running laps around the DC movies — Spider-Man: Far From Home is actually the final movie for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 3. Although, it’s for sure more of an epilogue than an ending. Not unlike that infamous flash forward at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. But no one in this epilogue is shot through the face-app to give them a weird CGI-ed looking old-face.
But this movie has a very rough start. The script immediately felt less-tight than nearly every other movie in this cinematic universe. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, the dialogue felt pitch perfect and comic book-y. I remember thinking I wish Spider-Man had been made into a Marvel Netflix series (RIP Jessica Jones and co.) because I would’ve watched a zillion different episodes of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker balancing his superhero life, school life, and social life. An episode told from the point of view of Zendaya’s MJ? Yes please. An episode all about the struggles Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May faces raises a teen who is a superhero, in a world where aliens exist? Sign me the fuck up.
But, other than “going on vacation,” the movie felt nearly plotless for the first 30 minutes. Mysterio is a known Spider-Man villain and while Jake Gyllenhaal is for sure aging like fine Donnie Darko wine, his character’s fake heroic arc didn’t quite land? Gyllenhaal was definitely having fun once he could camp it up post-reveal — but before the twist, his character felt incredibly uninteresting. Dead family blahblah, elementals blahblah. The stakes were too high for how low they actually felt? They wanted us to buy that the elementals came out of nowhere and were about to devour the world — get a life, we just watched every Avenger defeat Thanos. This emergency felt fake from the moment it began.
Which, fun fact, it ended up being exactly that — fake. It was all a farce. Mysterio was the girl we knew she was and was actually the man behind the curtain (but like, duh). The movie took off once they showed Mysterio was curated by a bunch of former disgruntled Stark Industries employees. Which, okay cool — but also this is the last time Marvel is ever allowed to use that plot device. I’m putting my foot down.
So while Gyllenhaal goes full bananas camp, we also get the reveal that MJ has known who Spider-Man is because of course teens are way more perceptive than we give them credit for. It was a cute scene where MJ and Peter fumble over him trying to deny he’s Spider-Man. And if this weren’t the final movie of the MCU’s phase 3, I think I’d have felt better about how messy it was? I don’t often find myself disliking MCU movies (Justice for Ant-man and The Wasp and Guardians of the Galaxy 2, y’all) but this one felt too much like a rehash of everything we’d already covered?
That is, everything but those two final credits scenes. They were hands down the most shocking part of the film — and I don’t say that in a negative way! Bringing Academy Award winner JK Simmons back into the role of J Jonah Jameson was a bold and perfect move. He was one of the few (maybe the only) well-cast actor from those original Spider-Man movies — and seeing him back as an Alex Jones type shithead was perfect. Then we get the reveal that Nick Fury and Maria Hill (who had also felt off the entire film), were actually Skrulls working for Nick Fury, who was off-world during the whole film.
Maybe I just have finally have reached a point of superhero fatigue? But, Marvel is still killing it with the superhero movie genre. And this movie, while not my favorite MCU movie, is still a fun watch.
About the author:
Ian Carlos Crawford grew up in southern New Jersey and, like most people from NJ, he graduated from Rutgers University. He then graduated from New School with an MFA in nonfiction writing. His writing has appeared on sites like Geeks Out, BuzzFeed, NewNowNext, and other random corners of the internet. He currently co-hosts a podcast about his favorite thing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, called Slayerfest 98 and is shopping around his fiction manuscript (you can view the book trailer here). Follow him on Twitter @ianxcarlos