I didn’t love Avengers: Endgame. But nobody who has been even mildly following the story of Marvel and it’s Cinematic Universe over the last decade would deny that it marked the culmination of a pretty incredible journey. It brought all these threads through multiple dimensions and franchises and universes and million dollar contracts and drew the together to an endpoint with quite a bit of finality and purpose. It felt like an ending, even if only temporary.
Which makes Spider-Man Far From Home, the sequel to 2017’s Homecoming which saw Spider-Man finally come back home to Marvel where he belongs, a bit of an odd little tacked on coda following the big bang finale. I don’t know why it was released just a few months after Endgame (possibly something to do with Sony?), but it does seem weird to follow up right on the heels of Endgame with another installment.
The movie tries to frame Peter’s character arc against his doubts about living up to Tony Stark’s expectations. Of course, it was never really clear why Tony was so emotionally invested in Peter in the first place. Sure, he’s Spider-Man and that’s awesome, but it only took Tony like 10 seconds before he had morphed into Uncle Ben and it’s never clear why. This is one of those things you just have to accept for the sake of the thing, which is often the case in comic book movies and not really a big deal, except when they try to plumb that nonsense for emotional stakes. That shit isn’t going to fly. It’s just not going to have an emotional impact.
Anyway, this is then driven home with one of these ridiculous, totally nonsense plot devices whereby Tony leaves Peter the access codes for a drone-based missile system that is in Earth’s orbit for some reason. Like, just think about it for a second. Why did Tony even build this thing in the first place? And then this is the way he shows Peter he trusts him? To give him the codes to launch drones from outer space? What the fuck kind of shit is that? I won’t even get into the actual plot of this movie, but just suffice it to say it is absolute gibberish. If you roll with it, you’ll probably enjoy it. But don’t think too hard about it.
Yet I enjoyed the film. Why? Because, just like Homecoming, this is really two films in one. It’s got the comic book stuff, but it’s also got the John Hughes coming of age teen rom com stuff. And, I’ll be honest, that shit works like gangbusters. Watching Peter and MJ awkwardly courting one another, set against this ludicrous comic booky backdrop, is pretty great. It’s very funny. And it’s fun to watch. Every few beats the teen comedy is interrupted by an orgy of meaningless CGI spectacle, and then you get back to the gang’s shenanigans in Europe.
At some point you have to expect that the Marvel machine will run up against the law of diminishing returns. People won’t want to sign on for another 20 movies without Iron Man and Captain America. Or they will just get bored of it and go watch some other thing which, in all likelihood, will also be owed by Disney. But it hasn’t happened yet. This movie was released just months after the global event that was Endgame, and it made $864 million in about 2 weeks. It’s not as good as Homecoming, but it’s still good enough and all indicators are Marvel is still a money printing factory so onward to Phase 83!