Mike Apps🍿’s review published on Letterboxd:
I wasn't even gonna watch this, it was just on the TV and I had to distract myself from the passing of DMX.
The end credits of Far From Home might be my favourite scene, but it made me realize it was much more than just JK Simmons himself that made those Maguire movies so special. Sam Raimi's direction, the pacing and editing, the delivery of dialogue.... Its all so immaculate. People were happy Simmons returned in MCU, but to me this scene has always been a glorified Easter Egg.
And that's my main problem, right - execution! I don't think these Holland Spider-man films have the energy and momentum on lock! There's just way too much green-screen CGI to buy into anything I'm watching! Fun fact: the bus from which Peter webs those drones was entirely CGI! Now I'm not asking for some reckless daredevil stuntmen to risk their lives, but this CGI bus is so emblematic of that kind of cost-effective approach to these recent superhero movies.
Alright so the filmmaking is subpar, what about the story in itself? Everything compelling about Peter Parker and the supporting cast has been neutered and watered down further in this sequel. And it's all because Sony owns the character Rights, as such, Disney Marvel has to make variations like a hot and younger Aunt May or the minimal callbacks to Uncle Ben (and an MJ that isn't the iconic ginger but hey nothing against Zendaya) to exploit this copyright loophole. This is a prime example of corporate business invading artistic integrity in the worst way imaginable. There's just no heart beating in this thing, guys!
Why does Holland’s Peter face very little consequences for his actions? In Homecoming, he sorta causes a ferry to be destroyed. In this film, he sorta calls in a drone strike on a bus full of his classmates and gives an AI with access to hella high tech weaponry to someone he hardly knows. He gets progressively reckless with each installment, and at best he gets his AI suit taken away as punishment! He doesn't face grave consequences, he barely learns from his mistakes, and he gets to hang out with the cool people saving the world.
If you think I'm reaching or being nitpicky, just ask yourself this: What drives Holland’s Spider-man? What does he want as a character (I'm not talking about him as a highschooler or Avenger, I mean what's his principles or moral compass or motivation?) It's certainly not the guilt of Uncle Ben's death that was so brilliantly established in Maguire's version - coz Tony Stark is basically his substitute Uncle Ben here. I'm not even gonna bring up how weird it is seeing the working class superhero walk in the shadows of a billionaire, coz that's a whole other discussion.
This is why it's hard for people like me to truly get invested in this version of Spider-man. Its half baked here, misguided variations there, and cynically corporate all over! I'm aware people really love MCU Spider-man and I'm not here to take that away from them. I'm pretty sure Holland is a nice guy - I've never met him (obviously) but I dont doubt his heart is in the right place. But all I see is just a cute face; nothing internally going on with his performance. And I think that's part of why he's been struggling with more "dramatic" fare like The Devil All The Time and Cherry!
Gyllenhaal as Mysterio wasn't that bad I guess, even though there's no twist you couldn't see coming as brilliant as Vulture's daughter in the previous film. He didn't leave some indelible mark on the Quentin Beck character that any other actor couldn't replicate. Plus he's just another villain in a long line of MCU villains created by Stark - everything seems to be about Tony apparently. They didn't even set up Queens as a character in Homecoming, such that we really feel that he's far from home.
Oh well! I'm not crossing my fingers for this iteration to get better. Hopefully the third one doesn't follow the Weak Third Movie curse, coz honestly these Holland films weren't that great to begin with for me.