Spider-Man: Far From Home marks the start of another chapter in Marvel’s rapidly increasing slate of films. Positioned as the start of a whole new “phase” for the franchise, the film sees our hero Peter Parker (Tom Holland) wrestle with the aftermath of Avengers: Endgame.
The superhero film directed by Jon Watts continues the arc of Parker as he embraces his superhero identity and the burdens that come with it.
Being the youngest Avenger, the character has more room for levity than other characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Watts makes good use of our teenage Spider-Man to give us a flick that harks back to the early Marvel films, while mostly sidestepping their pitfalls.
The film centers on our young hero embarking on a school trip abroad with his classmates where he plans to ask out the super cool MJ (Zendaya). His mission is sidetracked when several monsters arrive in various European cities, bringing with them Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, his second in command Maria Hill (Colbie Smulders) and their organization S.H.I.E.L.D.
Also helping them is a new superhero Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), who is from another universe. As with the new Spider-Man films there is a concentrated effort to ensure that things never get too heavy for Spider-Man but even so, the ghost of Endgame looms large over the film, which is why it is quite impossible to give a comprehensive review of the film without giving away a key detail from the superhero extravaganza that was Endgame.
Peter Parker is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s only “regular” character, meaning not an intergalactic warrior or a god from another world. With the first film establishing the influence of Tony Stark on Parker, the second is left to eulogize him.
While Tony Stark becoming the MCU stand-in for Spider-Man’s ill-fated Uncle Ben (who we’ve seen in numerous iterations before) is an interesting idea.
The fact that both the Spider-Man films have villains created by the indirect consequences of Stark’s actions, is a weird white elephant that looms large in the film and unlike the first movie, sticks out quite a bit.
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Despite all our investment in Iron Man from his titular film series, the Spider-Man films make viewing him as a great man kind of tricky when Parker has had to fight bad guys created by Stark for two consecutive films.
Aside from that, the film spends too much time setting up a twist that is quite obvious from the get-go, making the first half of the film significantly weaker than the second. Once the real villain comes out of the shadow the movie picks up and features some terrific action set pieces.
One in particular, which has some spooky special effects, makes you realize just how developed this film could have been. Nonetheless the villain is one of the better Marvel ones, being both charming and also quite insane.
The actors in the film do a lot of great work, particularly Zendaya and Gyllenhaal who have to do a lot more heavy lifting given that their roles aren’t written particularly well. Zendaya’s MJ could be an annoying one in another actress’s hands but she manages to make her zany and agreeable.
Similarly, while Jake Gyllenhaal’s Quentin Beck isn’t written all that well, he still manages to make himself standout largely through the sheer force of his acting abilities.
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Thankfully, Spider-Man: Far From Home is still a trip worth taking. Spider-Man actor Tom Holland has really settled into the role, differentiating his Peter Parker from all those that came before him. The young star’s role will be interesting to see in the coming films as he escapes his young adult trappings.
The movie’s post credit scene also ensures that the upcoming sequels will be different from your usual Spider-Man films. And with all of that in mind, Far From Home really ends up feeling like a set up for a truly splendid Spider-Man film down the line. Nonetheless, while the film itself falls short of anything truly spectacular, it still manages to pack enough thrills to make for a good outing.