With the events of Endgame still lingering, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) seeks a rest from his heroic duties as Spider-Man by going on a European school trip. However, Peter’s quest for some peace and quiet, along with his plan to woo MJ (Zendaya) gets interrupted by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who needs him to deal with a new threat – The Elementals. Commandeering the trip, Fury teams Spider-Man up with a new alternate dimension hero, Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), to stop their impending attack on Earth. Can Peter save the day and also win the heart of MJ?
Warning! This review contains a main spoiler for Spider-Man: Far From Home. We’d recommend you watch the film first before continuing reading this article. Alternatively, if you don’t mind, keep on reading!
It’s easy to say that the popularity of Spider-Man is at an all-time high. After poor attempts by Sony to breathe new life into Peter Parker with The Amazing Spider-Man films, the character’s movie direction found itself in a position similar to where the X-Men are currently after Dark Phoenix. Stale, boring, and unmemorable.
But thanks to a great re-introduction into the MCU, an Oscar winning animated gem with Into The Spider-Verse, a thrilling PS4 game, Spider-Man is now back in position as one of Marvel’s most popular characters across all forms of media. That’s a good thing because Marvel Studios and Sony seem to be positioning him as the one to be a focal point of the Marvel Cinematic Universe following Endgame.
Far From Home is not in an easy position; it comes months after Endgame’s universe changing events and it has to some degree show what’s happened after all the sacrifices and heroic deeds from the past films. Not to mention, help set audiences up for what is to come in the years ahead.
Suffice to say, Spider-Man’s second MCU entry accomplishes both these tasks without too much trouble. Far From Home is an excellent addition to Spider-Man’s cinematic catalogue and is one of the stronger Marvel sequels for its standalone heroes.
Picking up months after Endgame, we get presented with a comical high school news video giving their take on the universe shattering Snap – now a “Blip”. In the same humour attributed to Homecoming, a tacky memorial sequence is done for the heroes we’ve lost, and trying to explain how the classmates who remained after The Blip continued to grow, while their reunited loved ones haven’t aged since Thanos first clicked his fingers.
It’s a short yet very practical way to tell audiences how the Spider-Man world of the MCU is handling itself after Thanos. We now see fundraisers, led by Aunt May, about helping people who have returned after this absence to find out they have nothing. I can imagine some nit-picking for those wanting to know how the Marvel universe carries on after Endgame, but this won’t be the movie to do so. I get the impression that the effects of Thanos’ actions are going to linger further for a few more movies. But right now, Far From Home is keen to show you how Peter, his friends and his family are handling things.
That’s where the film’s heart still remains, with young Peter Parker; again, played with such likability by Tom Holland. With Tony Stark’s departure, Parker has lost a father figure and his absence is weaved throughout. Parker is still trying to get a suitable balance between being a normal teenager and being a hero. He wants a break, we all know he deserves a break, to go on his school’s science trip to Europe and try to confess his feelings for MJ. The internal struggle of also being in the spotlight as the world asks who will be the next Iron Man puts a lot of pressure on the poor hero’s shoulders.
It goes against the norm of previous Spider-Man films, even the ones under Sam Raimi and Marc Webb, to take Peter Parker abroad. But it complements the type of world we’ve been introduced to in Homecoming, especially when we see more of Parker’s classmates. If you enjoyed the style of humour from Homecoming, you are going to feel right at home here. Usually throw away characters, Ned, Flash, Betty and even the teachers have their own comedic moments to shine along their troubled adventure. They be frequently in harm’s way – no thanks for Nick Fury’s constant re-routing of their trip – but none of them never feel like they’re throw away characters.
Outside Peter’s own internal battles, he also has to content with the threat of deception and illusions. Unsurprising, when you consider the major character addition for this outing, one Quentin Beck aka Mysterio. For those already familiar with the character from his other forms, you knew something was seriously off with the marketing and positioning of Gyllenhaal for this film. This wasn’t the Mysterio we know from Spider-Man’s comic history. Thankfully, the film delivers on this iconic Spidey character.
If you know Mysterio, you aren’t going to be surprised with the big reveal and revelation surrounding the multiverse “hero” but here it is gloriously realised. He has always been “The Master of Illusion” in Spider-Man lore and the twist of Mysterio’s motives makes it really plausible within the MCU. My only criticism here is it does take away from the Spider-Man lore of the villains being created within his own universe. Villains are created in Spider-Man’s world, usually through tragic or accidental consequences.
The current Spider-Verse so far for the MCU doesn’t have this and instead presents the re-imagined villains as people pissed off at Tony Stark and, unfortunately, poor Peter Parker has to deal with the brunt of their issues. It’s a small quibble, obviously to keep the interconnecting universe within Marvel properties going, but robs Spider-Man of his own lore.
Regardless, I really loved Gyllenhaal’s turn into his villainous side. He goes from calm, friendly, almost new father like figure for Parker to over theatrical story teller. The joy of seeing Gyllenhaal just throw himself into this increasingly egotistic “hero” helps create a near perfect realisation of Mysterio in the cinematic universe. The villains have been improving steadily over the last few Marvel films and Mysterio is an unforgettable one.
And you can’t have a master of illusion without special effects, there is some amazing visual effect work achieved in the film to bring the even twisting illusions of Mysterio to life when he starts going one on one with Spider-Man. That’s just a mere part of the action scope from Far From Home and it boasts some stellar sequences of Superhero antics. I personally enjoyed the barnstorming finale in London, simply because it felt like all the right elements of Spider-Man were coming together. It felt like Spider-Man’s rebirth had finally hit its stride and it absolutely leaves you wanting the more.
Where does Marvel go for Phase 4? It’s still early days but the post-credit stings, two of them, set up two directions. One of them could easily be ranked as one of Marvel’s best stingers as it spectacularly, not to mention joyously, tease of what’s coming next for Peter Parker. The second, a possible glimpse of where the next set of films are taking audiences and thanks to Endgame, it seems destined to be in the stars.
Far From Home is the perfect cool down after the intensity of Endgame, the Spidey sequel is playfully entertaining, funny and comes with some impressive action visuals. I’m enjoying where Marvel and Sony are taking our favourite web-crawler and, after that first post credit stinger, I cannot wait for the third outing. Exciting times seem to lie ahead for the MCU, let Phase 4 begin!
Spider-Man: Far From Home is at cinemas now.