Movies don’t get much bigger than Marvel’s, and so if there’s one in theaters, it’s bound to make money. But should it? Maybe, especially when it’s about your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, who is “Far From Home” (SMFFH).
“To websling or not to websling?” That is the question that drives this latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), a movie that basically closes the door on the MCU’s Phase Three. Following the event of Marvel’s highly successful “Avengers: Endgame,” young Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is dealing with recent losses and new responsibilities. This is difficult for anyone, but especially so when you’re just a teenaged superhero on an overseas school vacation with MJ (Zendaya), the girl of your dreams, and then the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal's "Mysterio" show up to pick up the super slack when Elemental bad guys cause environmental havoc around the globe.
But all is not as it seems in SMFFH, especially in structure; it's not what Marvel has gotten us used to over the last 20 movies or so, instead harkening back to the first "Iron Man," spending nearly as much time with Peter out of his suit as we do with Spider-Man in it. This can be a good thing, as it was with Tony Stark back in the day. But in SMFFH, it does take a bit of time to settle, with the action sequences being few and short; shoehorned humor being largely supplied by supporting characters played by Martin Starr and J.B. Smoove; and the plot being piecemeal until a massive exposition dump courtesy of Gyllenhaal's "Mysterio" himself. Finally, SMFFH also takes a while to show off just how formidable Mysterio can be; but when it eventually gets there, it results in one of the most eye-popping and memorable action sequences of any Marvel movie.
At least much of the downtime is spent on character development and world building; specifically with Peter and MJ relationships and Marvel’s treatment of alter egos, respectively. But its 129 minutes could have easily lost 10 just from some tightening in the edit bay. It’s certainly enjoyable, but its pacing is an issue for at least the first hour; after that, it picks up and delivers solid entertainment.
And -- as always, but especially this time around -- stick around for the mid- and post-credit scenes. They are pertinent to both Spider-Man's future as well as where Phase 4 of the MCU may be going.