At the close of this film prior to the end-credits going up there is a dedication to the memory of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, co-creators of Spider-Man who both passed away before this film was released (I say ‘co-creators’ but it took several decades for Ditko to get his due, and even then grudgingly, I suspect, but Marvel and Hollywood caught up with the comic fans eventually).
Its a fine sentiment noting their passing, but the makers of this film needn’t have bothered, because the Spider-Man of this film has practically nothing at all in common with the Lee/Ditko comic-books of the 1960s. As a reader of the original Spider-Man comics of the 1960 and 1970s, its my biggest gripe with both this film, its predecessor and the recent Avengers films. This ain’t my Spidey. Indeed this film is more National Lampoon than Ditko-era web-slinging.
Before I get side-tracked waxing lyrical regards the miss-appropriation of cultural icons, I’ll happily concede that Marvel Studios is evidently updating the character/s of the comics for the benefit of contemporary social trends and to reflect our modern times. I will point out that to my mind, the best Superman movie is Richard Donner’s 1978 classic, simply because it remained mostly faithful to the original 1930s strips and maintained a sense of olde-Americana that possibly felt old-fashioned even in 1978, and stands far superior to the edgier/darker/slicker takes of the Man of Steel of more recent years. I’d also raise Rogue One as the best Star Wars film of the Disney era simply because it felt most like original Star Wars. Sure, you can move these franchises on, update them, but they should still feel authentic.
As a super-hero film, Far From Home is okay. Its funny, its efficient, its fairly-well made barring its excessive reliance on CGI spectacle over old-fashioned drama, albeit unfortunately it has all the tension of an episode of Knight Rider… Really, its nothing particularly special. Casting aside my chief gripe that it in no way resembles the Spider-Man of my youth, I’d just like to point out that it would be fairer to re title it Iron Boy: Far From Home, regards its endlessly irritating compulsion to reference his mentor Iron Man/Tony Stark, who sacrificed himself in Avengers: Endgame in episode 22 (?) of this Marvel Cinematic Saga (whatever happened to just making single movies?). As in the earlier Marvel Studios films featuring Spider-Man, I’m really bothered by this- in the comics, Spidey never needed a mentor.
But hey ho, this is Spider Man 2019. So its funny, its energetic, its… its got more Spider-Costumes than Batman has gadgets in his utility belt. At one point Iron Boy leaps out of plane and a Spider-Chute bursts out of his ass, or something. What the hell has any of this film got to do with what Lee and Ditko were doing years ago? Not an awful lot.
Oh I don’t know. At least Homecoming had a decent bad guy. I’m not sure what this one has. This film’s Mysterio character feels as authentic as its Spider Man to be honest, and I never really accepted him or his team of stooges or the conceit of his staged ‘fake’ monster attacks. I suppose you either buy into all that holograms/drones nonsense (where so the sound effects come from?) or you don’t, and lets face it, modern audiences aren’t the kind to second-guess or think about anything they are watching as long as its big and loud enough to keep them away from their mobile smartphones. Its funny that we have a Nick Fury in this for the whole movie but it turns out he isn’t Nick Fury, as if it was a clever meta-statement on Spidey not being Spidey and Mysterio not being Mysterio. everything is some kind of doppelganger, an imperfect fake. And don’t get me started on Marisa Tomei’s ‘hot’ Aunt May, I still can’t get my head around that even after so many movies, nor the romance between her and Favreau’s ‘Happy’ Hogan. And everyone seems to know that Peter is Spider-Man, its almost an inside joke calling it a secret identity, as everyone who knows him figures it out, lessening the shock as it gets totally spilled in the movie’s cliffhanger ending to the general public.
As regards the 4k UHD disc, the film looks gorgeous, truly spectacular. I may pick many faults with the film itself but I can’t really do so with this really impressive disc. The Dolby Vision HDR really gives the whole film a sense of depth and the night-scenes in particular really do impress. Its a beautiful-looking film and a major positive for the format. So great disc, shame really about the film. Not a disaster by any means, but it sure as hell ain’t Spidey, not in my book.