SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME Review
The Endgame has come and now the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and audiences) are left to mourn the sacrifices of Iron Man and Black Widow. The perfect palate cleanser is a much need vacation around Europe (like most other 20-somethings, it seems). With element monsters, a wizard with a fish bowl helmet, teen-love, a potential step-uncle, the pressure of his mentor’s legacy, secret agents, new outfits and new bodily sensations, it seems like a typical vacation for the webbed-menace.
While on a school trip around Europe, Peter Parker is approached by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to work with dimension-hopper, Mysterio (Gyllenhaal) to fight Elementals. The reluctant Spidey must deal with that, pressure to lead the Avengers and the romance in his life. And he’s the relatable superhero.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is more of a sequel to Endgame than Homecoming, with the film taking the opportunity to present a grounded perspective on the fallout of Thanos’ and the Avengers’ Snaps. It makes for some of the film’s best gags and utilises Spider-Man’s ‘friendly neighbourhood’ approach to the wider Marvel Universe to its fullest potential. Like with Homecoming, the self-referential humour on major events (i.e. Civil War and Infinity War) helps flesh out the universe and give depth to the impacts outside the superhero community.
The film also addresses the sacrifice of Tony Stark and the obvious impact it would have on his protégé, supporting why the decision to end Phase 3 with this film, and adding an impactful, emotional arc for Spidey. Holland, again, crushes it as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, cementing him as the best on-screen Spider-Man. He brings believability to the naivete of a teenage superhero, while also delivering heartbreaking scenes dealing with the sense of impending doom that all teenagers feel. His charisma with all the cast members leads into his relationship with MJ, with Zendaya finally being given something to do after a lack lustre but memorable appearance in Homecoming. Best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) is sidelined here to make room for the two lovebirds, but the movie is better for it as Zendaya brings depth to the quirky take on the character that, (besides the name) is more in line with the comic book version than previously believed.
Another returning character with extra material is Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan (fitting that he ends Phase 3 as he directed Iron Man). Taking on the mentor figure left by Stark, Hogan bonds with Peter over their shared relation with Tony and helps shepherd him as the New Avenger. The scenes between these two offer the heart of the story which set this film apart from other enjoyable, serviceable Marvel films.
The new face to the MCU is Jake Gyllenhaal as the mysterious, um, Mysterio, who clearly has a blast playing the character and makes for a memorable but brief appearance. As befitting his name, the character is surrounded in mystery, but the ties to the Marvel universe he has, feel reminiscent of the Vulture and his connection to Tony Stark. Thankfully his motivations separate him from the Vulture’s personal, relatable story and lean towards entertaining over empathetic.
The action sequences are also some of the best and most comic accurate depicted in a Spider-Man movie. They show off Spidey’s intelligence as well as his abilities and some feel ripped straight from the trippy pages of Steve Ditko, all paired with Michael Giacchino’s upbeat and memorable film score.
Spider-Man: Far From Home continues the blend of teen drama and superhero action that Jon Watts perfected with Homecoming. With charming performances, emotional heft, fan servicing humour and awesome action set pieces, Far From Home is a fitting send off to Phase 3 and delivers 2 of the most important and jaw-dropping post-credit scenes in the MCU.