We entered our viewing of Spider-Man: Far From Home not knowing exactly what to expect. The Marvel Cinematic Universe had been turned on its collective ear at the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame.
So, what was the next step?
Where would the MCU go from here?
Who would take the reins as we make our way into phase 4?
And, finally, would the second standalone movie from our favorite wall-crawler live up to the first?
Well, we’re happy to tell you, it definitely does! (And then some!!)
With most of the universe having returned to its rightful state after the events of Endgame, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is looking to return to his “normal” life as a “typical” teenager. All he wants is to hang out with his classmates and tell M.J. (Zendaya) exactly how he feels about her. The good news is, he and his classmates have a European Tour planned. Could there be better place is there to express those feelings to the girl he likes so much?
However, there is some bad news. Surprise, surprise! There appear to be several new threats coming to the planet. And they just happen to be ready to strike in the exact place Peter and his friends happen to be visiting. (Darn the luck!)
Meanwhile, Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), a brand new “hero”, has arrived to help deal with the apparent growing danger. He and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) agree they will need help to ensure the safety of the planet. Help, in the form of one friendly neighborhood web-swinger.
In Spider-Man: Far From Home, we are re-introduced to many of the characters we got to know and love in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Tom Holland returns as Peter Park/Spider-Man and is excellent, once again. He captures perfectly the struggle of trying to make his way through the obstacle course that is teen-hood. All while carrying the weight of being one of the last remaining Avengers.
The film also has a couple of great turns from Peter’s classmates. Jacob Batalon, once again, charms as Peter’s best friend (and “Man in the Chair”) Ned Leeds. While, Zendaya provides just the perfect dry wit to Spider-Man’s love interest, M.J.
Jon Favreau and Marisa Tomei also return to play Tony Stark’s long-time bodyguard/driver Happy Hogan and Peter’s Aunt May, respectively. (There may or may not be a reason we put them together in this part of the review)
Meanwhile, Jake Gyllenhaal makes an exceptional MCU debut. He adds some wonderful depth to the planet’s apparent new savior who has come from another dimension to save the Earth from possible destruction.
Finally, Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury) and Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill) make their Spider-Man franchise debut. It was good to see them both returning to larger roles within the MCU after being relegated to just a quick cameo in Avengers: Endgame.
It’s Really A Love Story
One of the things we loved about Spider-Man: Homecoming was the feel of it. It paid an homage to all the great teen movies from the ’80s while still remaining a solid super-hero film. That feel carries through Spider-Man: Far From Home, as well.
Peter and M.J.’s story feels like it could have come right out of the mind of John Hughes. An intelligent but slightly awkward teenager is looking to express their love to one of their classmates. Just hoping that same feeling will be reciprocated. However, life, and some handsome competition, seem to get in the way at every stage.
Nothing about this type of story-telling is new. Yet, somehow, it feels very fresh and personal. I mean, we’ve all been there, right? Just think about your teenage years. All the struggles, both real and imagined, that we went through trying to get the attention from that one special guy or girl. We can all relate to the basic root of Peter and M.J.’s story which makes it extremely sweet.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is a worthy successor to Homecoming and to Avengers: Endgame.
It carries forward the story of one of the favorite characters within the MCU. It doesn’t try to be a rehash of the first film, or any other iteration of the Spider-Man franchise, for that matter. We see the growth of Peter Parker both as a young man and as an Avenger. The story is both intimate (Peter & M.J.’s relationship) and complex (Peter & Mysterio) at the same time.
It provides all the web-slinging action you’d expect while following a plot-line that takes just enough twists and turns to keep you guessing along the way. There is also the plenty of that Marvel humor to balance out the story-line nearly every time it starts to take itself too seriously
Spider-Man: Far From Home also succeeds, very well, as the next step in a larger universe; the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to be precise. Although this was tabbed as the conclusion of Phase 3 of the franchise, it felt to us more of like Phase 3.5. You really feel the baton being passed to the next generation of Marvel heroes as the movie progresses.
Thankfully, the franchise is in great (and sticky) hands!
3 3/4 out of 4 Stars
If you liked this review, please check out our other written movie reviews:
Also, check out our podcast movie reviews within these episodes: