Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home ★★½

In spite of my relative enjoyment of the cheesy Marvel forumula, I can't get over the fact that they turned a relatable, working-class hero into a mere vehicle for billionaire-worshipping and silly, trite jokes. Ripping Spiderman from his roots in the streets (and among the roofs) of NYC in order to take him for an expensive excursion among European cities may work well in theory, but the fact that it comes with only his second entry in the franchise makes me think that the studio is not interested in those roots at all. Before anyone retorts that we have already seen those depictions of Spiderman in previous franchises and in the comics, I should say that (1) the MCU is a standalone story and should work as such and (2) in the MCU, we have no shortage of wealthy, God-gifted heroes, and what we were missing was precisely a classic Spiderman to bring things back down to earth.

My understanding of Holland's Spiderman is that he was once like that, but by now that's been relegated to a backstory because it doesn't serve the broader purpose of the MCU's TV-like sprawling narrative. So, the same hero whom we saw in Raimi's Spiderman 2 struggle to reconcile his superhero life with a normal social life and the fact that he's holding two jobs, can now call on a private jet with futuristic suit-making tech as soon as he falls into trouble.

In this film, he is cast opposite Quentin Beck/Mysterio, who offers us a lukewarm critique of Tony Stark in that his rudeness is somewhat able to turn his working-class employees into murderous villains. I like the idea of Mysterio as a master of illusions disillusioned by the entrapments of corporate capitalism (although his penchant for practical effects in the comics is, once again, substituted by high-tech), but this is a shallow and hamfisted way of portraying that.

One (minor) element of cringe in the film is the fact that the script straight-up invents Italian words for no purpose other than crafting cheesy dialogue. Apparently "mysterio" is how you say "mystery" in Italian and I never found out in my 20 years of growing up there, uh.

+ points for Ned, who remains one of the few comic relief Marvel characters to genuinely make me laugh.

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