Spider-Man: Far From Home stars Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Zendaya and was once again directed by Jon Watts. It picks up after the events of Avengers: Endgame, following Peter Parker, played by Tom Holland, and his classmates as they go on a class trip to Europe. While trying to enjoy his vacation, Peter’s tasked with defending the world from a global threat and must accept his responsibilities as Spider-Man to aid Nick Fury and newcomer hero, Mysterio. Before watching this movie, I thought it was a very odd choice to close out Phase 3 with this film, rather than Avengers: Endgame. Having now seen Far From Home, I get it. Despite all the fun and silliness a character like Spider-Man brings to the MCU, this was a very needed film after the events of Endgame.
At times, it almost serves as an epilogue to the Infinity Saga, showing how people have been dealing with the events that transpired in the previous movie. It answers a few logistical questions that Endgame left in our minds, but more importantly, it addresses how Peter Parker has dealt with his life post-Endgame. Out of all the Avengers, he was the one who was perhaps the most emotionally-impacted by the events, but he’s also the youngest, so seeing his inner-turmoil throughout this film was compelling.
This movie did an excellent job of balancing the story aspects we’ve come to expect from a Spider-Man tale with the emotionally-heavy elements that were necessary to close out Phase 3. Like any Spider-Man movie, much of the story focuses on Peter’s attempt to balance his normal life as Peter Parker and his heroic duties as Spider-Man. Even more so than in previous films, he yearns for normalcy; to just be an every-day kid who gets a chance to relax. And we get to see plenty of his awkward teenage escapades, but it’s his role as Spider-Man that continually needs to take top priority. Peter’s more confident in his abilities than he was only a few years before in Homecoming, but he still struggles with accepting that he’s deserving of the title of Avenger and more importantly, of Tony Stark’s trust and confidence.
He constantly finds himself in the position of needing to live up to unachievable expectations, made all the more difficult by the nagging grief he still has. As its name implies, Far From Home is a much more expansive and larger-scale film than Homecoming was. There’s the obvious globetrotting element of the story with Peter traveling to cities like Venice, Prague, and London as part of a class trip, but this broader-scale nature goes beyond just setting. The threat and implications are much bigger as well. The grounded villain was one of my favorite aspects of Homecoming and while the villain here poses a much wider-reaching and nefarious threat than the Vulture did, things never dive too far into spectacle-finale-land like many MCU films of the past have. There’s still a grounded sense of pseudo-realism to the antagonist, which makes Peter’s handling of the situation feel more reasonable.
He may be an Avenger, but he’s still just a 16 year old kid who’s been tasked with nearly single-handedly taking on a global threat. So, I know that up to this point in the review, I’ve framed this as a really heavy impactful movie, but it’s still Spider-Man. You still get all the coming-of-age high school comedy you expect, plus a lot of fun action. And, I mean a lot of action. Far more than we got in Homecoming. The comedy is also stepped up a bit here. Most of it lands, especially when delivered by the central characters, but there’s no doubt that some of the weaker jokes and gags, especially involving the two teacher chaperones could’ve been cut. Tom Holland was as wonderful as ever in the dual role of Peter Parker and Spider-Man, Jake Gyllenhaal was fantastic as Mysterio, and perhaps most surprisingly, Zendaya was great as MJ. Her character was fine in Homecoming, but was severely underdeveloped.
Here, she takes on a much larger role in the story and the chemistry and moments between her and Peter are truly endearing. Spider-Man: Far From Home does an excellent job of fitting into the MCU. It feels like the logical continuation of Spider-Man’s story, tagging along as he works towards truly becoming Spider-Man. The consistency of having Jon Watts as the director certainly helped the flow and there are plenty of tie-ins and callbacks to Homecoming’s style and structure, including the use of another great Ramones song towards the end. Speaking of songs, there’s also a nice throwback moment to the first Iron Man movie with some Zeppelin… As I said before, this film serves as an epilogue to the Infinity Saga and Phase 3, but it’s also a set-up for what’s to come in Phase 4 and beyond.
Many of the events in this film have long-lasting consequences and implications for the future and that mid-credit scene especially changes everything. Alright, let’s talk about the pros and cons. Pro number one has gotta be Tom Holland. I know I praised him in the first film too, but he’s really the glue that holds these MCU Spidey movies together. He still perfectly balances that awkward geeky side of Peter Parker with the heroic Spider-Man side. If anything, you feel for him even more here cause he’s now mentor-less and expected to fill some impossible shoes. He’s closer to being full-fledged Spider-Man, but he’s still just a kid who makes a lot of mistakes, but gives it his all to make everything right.
Pro number two is the scope of the film. Although it’s bigger than Homecoming was, it still feels tiny compared to the double-whammy of Infinity War and Endgame. And the scope and stakes just felt right here. Spider-Man is more experienced now and is really starting to come into his own, so something more threatening and impactful than the Vulture is warranted. But, at the same time, the events of Endgame necessitate taking a step back from the universe-wide scale of the MCU and focusing on a smaller set of characters to really delve into the personal stakes and repercussions. On the con side, the film’s biggest issue is how much it overplays its twist. I’ve said it in reviews before, but I’ve never read a Spider-Man comic before, so the extent of my knowledge of the character and franchise has been gleaned from the movies over the last 17 years. With that said, this film features characters I had previously never heard of and knew nothing about.
Despite that lack of foreknowledge, I was very easily able to predict the path that certain plot beats were gonna take with these characters. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but the film has this big revelation moment that plays the “twist” off as some kinda shock and it just felt a bit underwhelming cause it seemed so obvious. I can only imagine how obvious it was to people who know the comics. Twists can work really well in these movies – just look at the one in Homecoming. But it just feels like the filmmakers here thought this was way more of a twist than it actually was. My second con has gotta be the teachers. I know it might seem like a fairly minor thing to pick on, but they really irritated me here. I mentioned that some of the jokes from minor characters fell as bit flat… and they were almost exclusively delivered by the two teachers. Their presence as chaperones for an international school trip is obviously necessary, but the focus on them certainly wasn’t.
The teacher scenes in Homecoming were fairly minimal, but there’s a surprising amount of time and lines devoted to these bumbling chaperones here and the comedy wears thin very quickly. I’m gonna give Spider-Man: Far From Home 4 out of 5 paws. This was another relatable and fun outing for Spider-Man in the MCU and expertly builds upon not only Homecoming, but also Endgame to deliver nicely crafted character moments. I would recommend Spider-Man: Far From Home to Spider-Man and MCU fans. Once again, Tom Holland knocks it out of the park as our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, so if you enjoyed Homecoming, you’ll certainly enjoy this as well. Its connections and epilogue status for Phase 3 makes it a must-watch for MCU fans looking for a bit more explanation and closure. Just be aware that this film contains a lot of spoilers for Endgame, so be sure to watch them in order.
If you liked Spider-Man: Far From Home, the most obvious recommendation would be Spider-Man: Homecoming. It serves as the true introduction for this Holland-incarnation of Spider-Man and provides quite a bit of context to this film. If you enjoyed Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio and want to see him in another ambiguous role, be sure to check out Nightcrawler. And for some similar plot threads in an animated movie, make sure you watch Pixar’s The Incredibles. Alright, a couple questions for you guys. Number one: Have you seen Spider-Man: Far From Home? If so, what’d you think of it? And number two: What’s your favorite internationally-set superhero movie? Be sure to leave your answers in the comments below so we can get a discussion going.