Spider-Man: Far From Home movie review — Tom Holland is incredibly enjoyable in solid epilogue to Avengers: Endgame
Spider-Man: Far From Home pulls the action scale back and grounds the story to real conflicts between characters.
castTom Holland, Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L Jackson, John Favreau
The biggest reason behind Marvel’s success is not that they are pumping in billions every year to make films – it is that they continue to make films that are potentially ‘more of the same’ but somehow end up surprising you. Spider-Man Far From Home is yet another one in their sprawling Avengers catalogue that delights and entertains, even if the setting and characters are now overly familiar. It is no match for Sam Raimi’s excellent Spiderman 2, but is a solidly enjoyable Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film that works both as an epilogue to Avengers: Endgame and a prologue to what comes next.
The story picks up immediately post the events of Avengers: Endgame. The kids in Peter Parker’s high school, who had disappeared after Thanos’ snap, are back, but are hilariously five years younger to their classmates. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is dealing with the loss of his mentor Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) and also struggling to ask his crush MJ (Zendaya) out. As Peter heads out for a school vacay to Europe with his buddies, a strange water demon appears, who seems to have a bone to pick with buildings, and a new superhero named Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) appears to help Spidey save the day.
Director Jon Watts, who crystallised all the funny shenanigans of American high schools as seen in Spider-Man: Homecoming somehow manages to keep things interesting in Far From Home, despite returning writer Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers losing out on the novelty factor. The banter between Parker and his friends is as crackling as ever, as is the dynamic between him and his aunt May. There is an added bit of hilarity between May and Happy Hogan (John Favreau), which becomes a running gag of sorts, furthering the presence of John Hughes’ ghost in the creativity department. Holland is once again incredibly lovable as the naïve yet heroic yet awkward kid, practically mirroring the innocent charms of Michael J Fox from the '80s.
This has been said before but must be done again: it is nice to see the scale of conflict bottled down to simply a city or two, as opposed to the intergalactic threat that the villains in the MCU pose. Watts seems to understand the balance between making a friendly neighbourhood superhero story while addressing the fact that the neighbourhood hero is also part of a team of titans. Pulling the action scale back and grounding the story to real conflicts between characters is the way to go forward, as DC’s Shazam proved earlier this year. Even if these films resemble TV sitcoms, it is okay because it gives the filmmakers a chance to play outside the sandbox of evil world destroying baddies.
This is all doable in Far From Home because the story has a lot of heart and warmth, with Spiderman’s sense of self discovery, and him grabbing the torch from the late Tony Stark being the focal points of the film instead of generic CGI battles (even though there is plenty of that there too). Cleverly, Watts and his writers address the showmanship of epic superhero battles with the villain’s modus operandi. The bad guy’s process makes up for the super predictable unmasking. Frankly, the only awful aspect of this film is the way the villain literally looks at the camera and spells out his master plan because the filmmakers could not come up with a way to render the twisty exposition. It makes one wonder if Marvel should have given the filmmakers six more months to polish the film and release it in November. It would also have given audiences the time to digest the fact that Iron Man is dead and experience Parker’s sense of loss.
The post-credit scenes in Far From Home are absolutely show-stopping, shining an exciting light beam on the next phase of the MCU. As long as Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige understands that superhero fatigue is a very real threat, the MCU is in good hands.
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