Spider-Man: Far From Home arrives under a massive, dark shadow as the first entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe following the mega-hit that was Avengers: Endgame. The superhero world is once again looking to shift from an epic ensemble back to a more isolated, standalone adventure featuring one lone hero. The bar is set inexplicably high for the team behind Spider-Man: Far From Home, but, in their own unique, personal ways, they reach that bar and then some.
Spider-Man: Far From Home almost immediately takes Peter Parker (Tom Holland) out of New York City and sends him on a school trip all across Europe. The fun, teenage, coming-of-age vibe of Spider-Man: Homecoming is present, but it is clear from the start that the movie will be bigger than Homecoming on all fronts. It will cover more ground, it will have higher stakes, and it will do much more to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Peter is, once again, forced to decide several times over whether he wants to enjoy a normal high school life or if he wants to be a hero. The movie is fun regardless which side of the character we are seeing, but it soars higher when we're in Spider-Man mode.
As the film finds its stride when Peter is once again forced to act as Spider-Man, Far From Home gets better as it goes. It makes quick work of setting up the school trip and elemental baddies, all the while providing laughs and revisiting the characters and relationships which haven't been seen since Homecoming despite Spider-Man appearing in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame in the meantime. The dynamic between Peter, MJ (Zendaya), and Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon) is instantly re-established. The characters nor the actors playing them have missed a beat since their last joint outing. The counters from Tony Revolori's too-cool-for-everyone Flash Thompson offer another entertaining perspective, often coming into the film for a punch line at just the right time. However, it's really Spider-Man who most often steals the show, finding ways to swing around Prague and rescue his pals from destructive, monstrous elemental creatures which are popping up around the world. The difficult part: it is all while Peter is trying to preserve his secret identity.
Spider-Man: Far From Home offers some of its most claustrophobic sequences when Peter is at work as Spider-Man and operating closely to his friends. The effort to conceal his identity while save his friends and the world requires relentless work from the character but is made claustrophobic and entertaining by director Jon Watts. While Watts doesn't quite get to recreate a breathtaking scene like the car ride encounter between Peter and Michael Keaton's Vulture from Homecoming, he does invent a few unexpected twists in a similar vein which propel the movie beyond the near unattainable bar mentioned earlier.
While Spider-Man is the only Avengers character in Far From Home, Tony Stark's presence feels more heavy-handed than it did in Homecoming where Robert Downey Jr. actually appeared. At no point does it overshadow the main story, but it is a useful tool used to fuel Peter's. This time, the narrative largely centers on Peter's desire to make Tony happy while coping with the events of Endgame. It builds an interesting inner conflict for the character who seems to be looking for a father figure, ultimately telling what feels like a revamped version of losing Uncle Ben and taking on the burden of responsibility in his shadow.
Ultimately, this void is the perfect place for Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio to swoop in. Gyllenhaal and Holland have terrific chemistry both in action sequences and more intimate character moments. Gyllenhaal on his own crafts one of the most entertaining characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date with endless charm, perfect timing, and complex, unpredictable story. The ties to the Marvel Cinematic Universe are tremendously surprising, offering the longtime fans a hearty treat but not distracting those who are coming in simply for the Spider-Man story.
While the film stands very much on its own, Far From Home does tremendous, exciting things to open unexpected doors and to expand the MCU as a whole. It's almost as if Marvel Studios is showing off, following up Endgame with moments that immediately hook an audience for more both with a single character and their expansive world. In fact, Spider-Man: Far From Home doesn't stop blowing minds until the lights in the theater come on. It includes two of the best post-credits scenes attached to any Marvel movie to date, loaded with expansive and thrilling twists, any details of which would be massive spoilers.
It doesn't seem like we're swinging to any crazy conclusions in calling Spider-Man: Far From Home the best Spider-Man movie ever. Top to bottom, it is a complete moviegoing experience. It is thrilling, it is fun, it is unpredictable, and it is full of heart. Spider-Man: Far From Home is a by far a home run.2comments
Rating: 5 out of 5
Spider-Man: Far From Home is scheduled to release in theaters on July 2.