“I think Nick Fury just hijacked our summer vacation,” and with these words, Peter Parker begins one of the most perilous missions of his superhero career — which is saying something when you consider the fact that he died on his last adventure — but with Spider-Man: Far From Home, we don’t just get a big sprawling superhero smackdown, though we certainly do get that, we also get a movie with tons of heart and pathos, with our hero struggling with the idea of being “The next Iron Man.” This is a movie with the tough job of following Avengers: Endgame, and it expertly handles this by making an incredibly thrilling installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a film full of amazing visual effects, that returns to many of our favourite characters, and gives us loads and loads of comedy. Something I think we all needed after the devastating events of the last two Avengers movies.
In this film, we find the world dealing with the repercussions of something people are calling “The Blip” — people being returned from the dead after the second “Snap” at the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame — and Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is determined to put such events behind him so that he can lead a life of some kind of normalcy. The key element to this would be his feelings towards schoolmate M.J. (Zendaya), and his desire for a proper relationship with her — one that hopefully won’t reveal her dad to be a supervillain — and the school’s science field trip to Europe seems like the perfect opportunity to sweep M.J. off her feet. Unfortunately, school romance is put on hold when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) shows up to inform Peter that extra-dimensional beasts called Elementals are about to wreak havoc on good ol’ planet Earth, and that he needs to team up with Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), a man who has chased these creatures across the multiverse to our Earth after they had destroyed his.
Note: If you are a comic book reader, the idea of a Team-Up between Spidey and Beck aka Mysterio may sound a tad bizarre, as Mysterio is a classic Spider-Man villain and founding member of The Sinister Six, so don’t let any of that “Multiverse” jargon completely alleviate your suspicions.
One of the best elements of Spider-Man: Far from Home is that it is first and foremost a high school romantic comedy, with Peter bouncing around Europe with his ever-faithful wingman Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon) at his side … well, maybe not always at his side, as his wingman status is a bit impaired when he hooks up with Betty Brant (Angourie Rice). On top of this, Peter also has to deal with Brad Davis (Remy Hii), who before The Snap was just a kid, but now he’s five years older and has become a potential romantic rival. Now, what makes this all work so well is that Tom Holland and Zendaya have incredible chemistry together, and they perfectly nail the awkwardness of a young burgeoning romance. I could have watched a straight-up teen rom-com with this couple, no supervillains needed, but lucky for me this film pulled off an amazing balancing act, so not only did we get a great rom-com, but also an amazing superhero movie as well.
Director Jon Watts — returning to the chair after helming Spider-Man: Homecoming — had the unenviable task of picking up all the pieces left after Infinity War and Endgame, having to establish the where and wherefores of the surviving characters of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Watts has a lot of ground to cover with this sequel, in a movie that could have been titled “How I Spent My Summer Vacation Saving the World,” and it’s a massive undertaking, made trickier as breathtaking superhero action sequences are almost commonplace now, but various European locales does add a bit of flavour to the proceedings, and so once again we find our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man stepping into the deep end.
Now, what makes Spider-Man: Far From Home such a great installment isn’t all those amazing visual effects — and what we get is truly amazing, the stuff with Mysterio alone gives many of the sequences in Dr. Strange a run for their money — but instead, it’s the earnestness of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker that really sets this film apart; if we didn’t care about him and M.J. getting together or how the death of Tony Stark has affected him, the film just wouldn’t have worked, it would have just been another big loud superhero movie, but Spider-Man: Far From Home spends the right amount of time with Peter and his school peers and it is all the better for it. The Spider-Man comics have always portrayed the world shitting on poor Peter Parker, and this movie doesn’t let us down in that aspect, but the film also nails the spirit of Spider-Man — that no matter how many times he’s knocked down, he will get right back up.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is a truly joyous experience, I lost count of how many times I broke out into giddy laughter, and I loved Jake Gyllenhaal’s nuanced and complicated portrayal of Mysterio, something I wasn’t sure was possible with that character, and then we have lovely Zendaya stealing almost any scene she’s in, making her a surprise MVP. Spider-Man: Far From Home is clearly a love letter to the fans and easily sits alongside Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse as one of the best Spider-Man movies ever produced, and though I don’t know where the producers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are going in their next phase — I’m guessing Fantastic Four and Galactus could be a major component — I just hope Peter Parker and friends are along for the ride for as long as possible.
Note: Part of this film’s job is to also answer a few key questions, such as, “What exactly are the complications of returning from the dead after being ‘missing’ for five years? Is the superhero group The Avengers even a thing anymore? Is Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) really dating Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau)? And can you take a guy with a fishbowl for a hat seriously?”
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) – Review
Movie Rank - 8.5/10
I had a lot of fun with Spider-Man: Homecoming and their take on the Vulture, but with Spider-Man: Far From Home we have reached a whole new level of awesomeness. Tom Holland is now the quintessential Peter Parker for me and I pray for many more adventures with him and his amazing friends.