I think we really need to stop looking to Rotten Tomatoes as a yard stick as whether a movie is good or not. Whenever something gets rated “Certified Fresh,” that means that a movie has an average consensus from a pool of reviewers and audience members that liked the movie. But does that really tell you if a movie is really good or not? What if the film is a mediocre crowd-pleaser with a multitude of middling reviews that give the film a solid “It’s OK”?
The advertising campaign for Spider-Man: Far From Home really has gone out of its way to try and paint it as best capeshit of the year. Is it? We’ve just went through Endgame a few months ago. While not perfect, Endgame certainly managed to pull off a spectacular piece of corporate art and bring ten years worth of product to a satisfying conclusion. So when the head of Marvel Studio announces that the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home is the real conclusion to Marvel’s Phase 3, that’s a pretty big gauntlet to fill.
So does it measure up? I suppose, I guess that this is my “It’s OK!” review. I don’t really need to spoil Spider-Man for you. The film has already been called Spider-Man: European Vacation elsewhere, and that is exactly what it is. If you enjoyed Homecoming, you’ll like this. It gets the job done, has some great set-pieces, and the villain Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhal) is done well. The movie shines when Mysterio is allowed to do his thing, and the hallucination sequences are really worth seeing on the big screen. This is still middle-of-the-road capeshit, however, and it has been done better elsewhere. As much as the new Marvel/Sony collaboration works, it still does not hold a candle to what Sony did with Spider-Man nearly twenty years ago. Far From Home does touch upon some interesting topics such as “fake news,” however only does so in a fairly superficial way. What could be biting satire is reduced somewhat to a mere plot device. The other thing that bothers me is that given the events of Endgame, it appears that the world has returned to “business as usual” pretty damned fast. I remember in the years following 9/11 that society’s psyche still seemed a bit cracked, when it comes to something like “The Snap” and the subsequent “Blip,” you should expect the entire world’s culture to be changed. It is in this way Far From Home seems like a real missed opportunity because if it is supposed to close the chapter on Marvel’s Phase Three, it really only does so in a surface level manner.
If you are looking for a movie to satisfy a nice Fourth of July weekend, however, you can’t go wrong here. It’s that time of year where big, loud and dumb movies are worth your time. This is also the first time that I can honestly say that a Marvel’s mid-credits sequence is worth the price of admission alone. Any misgivings I had about the film were relieved in about three minutes of time, and the audience was cheering for good reason. However, I could also argue I would have just as been thrilled seeing that particular clip on YouTube.
It’s Spider-Man, folks. Go out and enjoy the fireworks and catch a movie.