STARRING: Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jon Favreau, Cobie Smulders, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, J.B Smoove, Martin Starr, Angourie Rice and Tony Revolori
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.
Our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man decides to join his best friends Ned, MJ, and the rest of the gang on a European vacation. However, Peter’s plan to leave super heroics behind for a few weeks are quickly scrapped when he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks, creating havoc across the continent.
Following on from the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home follows Peter Parker trying to adjust back into a normal routine in which his school has now organised a two-week summer vacation to Europe and plans on enjoying a break away from superhero duties, whilst planning to tell his classmate MJ how he feels about her. That idea becomes short-lived however as when he gets to Europe he’s met by Nick Fury, who needs his assistance in tackling a new threat known as Elementals and is introduced to fellow recruit Quentin Beck, a superhero that has knowledge of what the Elementals are capable of.
The film places Peter Parker in unfamiliar territory, from Homecoming when he was the neighbourhood hero wanting to be an Avenger, to being a neighbourhood hero being needed for an Avenger-like mission and as far as Peter’s concerned, he just wants a breather from it all and enjoy the trip away and also set into motion a list of tasks he hopes to do in order to tell MJ how he feels. You know, normal kid stuff. There’s no days off however for superheroes, leading to Nick Fury bringing Peter Parker on-board the mission, seemingly against his will and seems to get a kick out of having authority over the kid. I liked how the film tackled the arc of Peter Parker having to accept the responsibility thrust upon him, which of course is a theme that’s followed the character forever, and Tom Holland’s performance balances this iteration very well as a kid who is still able to have fun and humour whilst also carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Jake Gyllenhaal gets to gleefully chew the scenery here as Quentin Beck aka Mysterio, who feels like a hybrid of Lou Bloom (intensity) and Johnny Wilcox (vivid). Zendaya gets more screentime here compared to Homecoming due to her and Peter’s arc and I thought she gave a really good performance here as Michelle ‘MJ’ Jones. She’s quirky and more layered than how she was in Homecoming and her chemistry with Holland works well on screen. Visually, Far From Home has stepped up its game compared to Homecoming when it comes to the action sequences, especially when it comes to the Elementals and there’s one sequence in particular that is my favourite in the film with the exception of the mid-credit sequence (which I won’t talk about).
While the film goes for the 80’s vibe eurotrip setting, I can understand some audiences being disappointed in just how comedic the film is, especially coming after the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame. Whilst it might feel like Sony and Marvel Studios are giving audiences a breather after Endgame, it still treats the consequences of that with the typical Marvel humour that will work for some (one particular moment with Martin Starr’s Mr. Harrington telling Peter a story on a plane had me laughing) and feel like a missed opportunity for others. Since the film itself is an action-comedy, some of the attempts of humour fall flat. The film also feels like it’s just stagnated until it gets going in the second half as it’s dealing with a few sub-plots from the off and feels like they’re getting in the way of one other with some coming together in a smooth transition in the films conclusion. In terms of other sub-plots in the film, the Ned and Betty Grant romance provides some laughs but feels like it overstays its comedic welcome and I’m just not a fan of this iteration of Flash Thompson. The one thing I was worried about going into Far From Home, judging by the trailers, was that Peter Parker was potentially being billed as Tony Stark 2.0 and while the film doesn’t go that route completely, I can understand the argument that some will bring up that Peter Parker/Spider-Man is still operating under Tony’s shadow in terms of tech and villains main motivation.
While I preferred Homecoming overall due to the film being more contained, visually Far From Home is more striking and action-packed, with Holland on solid form as Peter Parker. Jake Gyllenhaal is really good as Quentin Beck/Mysterio and Zendaya is really good and given more to do this time round as MJ. The mid-credit scene is great and will be discussed for the next while as we await to see where the MCU goes forward from here. 6/10