By Subhash K Jha
Movie: "Spider-Man: Far From Home" ; Cast: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Samuel L Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal; Director: Jon Watts ; Rating: **(2 stars)
There is a pinnacled problem with the torrent of super-hero films. They have all become an in-house secret, rituals of a rollicking adventure attended by a global community of superhero-philes who know every joke, gag and gig.
Even by the casual expectations of Marvel-hero fans, "Spider-Man: Far From Home" is a tepid occurrence, more mentionable for its familiar tropes and characters than any real attempt to crack the superhero code. Not that the audiences want it cracked. They are happy to watch the caped crusaders flying high on anti-destruction dope.
Spiderman, as we all know, is the youngest and most boyish of the superhero recruits.
As played by the ceaselessly-wonderstruck Tom Holland, the ingenue act never leaves Spiderman behind. More than saving the world from catastrophe, Spiderman needs to understand what he is up for. But when the material provided to the ingenue is so slim and brittle that he has nothing to hold on to except his wits, then the whole existential question goes flying (in more ways than one) out of the window.
There isn't much flying for silly Spidy to do this time. Yes, towards the beginning he flies (in a plane, though) to Europe for a vacation with his friends including Michelle (Zendaya) whom Spiderman loves in a silent way. Meaning, he goes into the flight's washroom to freshen up for her. By the time he comes out she is gone, presumably into the adjacent washroom leaving our young hero royally pissed off.
Such is life. And such is the quality of the jejune life shown in a film where all the water of Venice rises in revolt in a not very impressive display of aqueous majesty.(Warning: I saw the film in 2D, can't bear 3D).
Spiderman is on vacation. But his astute aunt (Marise Tomei, please give us more of her next take, ok?) packs his superhero costume, hence Venice is saved from a watery catastrophe.
Is super-hero activity annulled without the costume?
There are distinguished actors making assembly line appearances. It's infuriating to see the magical Jake Gyllenhaal flit in and out without any substantial control over his characters karma. Come to think of it, a lot of times during the narrative's wobbly progression I felt a complete lack of scriptural support. Or maybe there were too many scriptwriters hovering anxiously over the proceedings trying to justify their pay cheques ending up doing nothing.
A lot of the footage is squandered in high school banter as Parker and his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) try to grow out of delayed puberty. The film, alas, never seems to get out of its boyhood zone, give or take the hood.
This one Capes it simple. Really simple.