*DISCLAIMER: This review will be kept entirely SPOILER-FREE*
Spider-Man: Far From Home is directed once again by Jon Watts and stars Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Tony Revolori, Cobie Smulders, Angourie Rice, and Samuel L. Jackson.
Hot off the extremely chaotic heels of both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, this film follows Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Holland) now living in a world forever changed. As he embarks on a class trip across Europe, Peter, wanting to distance himself from being Spider-Man for a while, finds himself reluctantly agreeing to help Nick Fury (Jackson) investigate a series of elemental attacks across the continent. Working alongside the mysterious Quentin Beck (Gyllenhaal) to stop these attacks, Peter must step up and rise to the occasion, showing the world that he truly has what it takes to be a hero.
Let’s just face it: there’s quite truthfully no stopping the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Over the past eleven years, the collective series of films has grown into a phenomenon beyond our wildest dreams and has largely defined a significant pillar of pop culture for over a decade. The stories and characters that legions of fans have come to know and love have brought audiences through one fulfilling and emotional cinematic adventure after the other, and from the looks of things, don’t plan on halting anytime soon.
And now, as Phase 3 draws to a close and we look ahead to the future of the MCU beyond the earth-shattering events of Avengers: Endgame, everyone’s favorite masked hero now swings into theaters once again. Does the Spidey sequel hit the right notes to bring audiences on another epic adventure, yet still serve its purpose as both a sequel and as part of a franchise?
Yes, yes, yes, without a doubt yes.
Despite the mammoth odds stacked against it, Spider-Man: Far From Home soars as a wildly entertaining summer blockbuster, anchored by loads of heart and great performances all across the board. There are an abundance of things to love about Far From Home, from Tom Holland’s fantastic reprisal of Peter Parker/Spider-Man all the way to the post-credit scenes, making for one of my favorite MCU entries, as well as my favorite film this year.
The many challenges staring this movie in the face are nothing short of gargantuan, as the film not only has the responsibility of directly following the madly insane events of Avengers: Endgame, but also capping Phase 3 of the MCU, as well as the “Infinity Saga” as a whole. The events of Endgame, as well as Phase 3 in general, play an integral role in many of the narrative threads and character arcs present in Far From Home, and are given a true sense of purpose and sometimes finality through the eyes of characters now living in a post-Endgame world.
Far From Home is also a remarkably well-made Spidey adventure in and of itself, as well as a worthy sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming. Like its predecessor, this film is quite well-balanced both tonally and narratively, knowing when to relish in its gleefully fun nature and when to sober up and be more mature. Even in light of everything that this film sets out to accomplish (and does so outstandingly), Far From Home is first and foremost a fantastic Spider-Man film, which is nothing to be ignored even in the larger picture this film occupies.
Furthermore, not only does Far From Home manage to deliver on all fronts, serving as a perfect end to everything we’ve grown to love and a fitting Spidey adventure, but also takes significant measures to set critical wheels in motion for Phase 4, as well as the long-term future of the MCU. Without giving anything away, it’s safe to say that the coming years of our favorite Marvel heroes are shaping up to be some of the most insane yet.
In his record-setting fifth outing as the famed masked wall-crawler, Holland continues to amaze to no end, wholly encapsulating every crucial element that makes Peter Parker who he is. As a lifelong Spidey diehard and an avid lover of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, I’m a heavy believer in the idea that “anyone can wear the mask.” That said, there’s quite simply no denying whatsoever that Tom Holland and this role are a match made in comic book heaven. Holland completely and thoroughly brings all the right stuff at the perfect times, and the result absolutely shines through and through. Every moment Holland is on screen screams unbridled superhero magic, further cementing his legitimacy as the definitive cinematic Spidey.
Returning favorites such as Batalon and Zendaya are every bit as fantastic as before, if not better, and are absolutely worthy inclusions into the ranks of the Spidey mythos. Zendaya in particular is given more time and narrative presence to do her thing, and absolutely delivers as what is now my favorite cinematic incarnation of Spidey fan favorite MJ. Many other returns are also fantastic this time around, including a franchise-best Favreau and a surprisingly great Revolori, whose notable running gag actually somehow got funnier as the film progressed. MCU regulars such as Smulders and Jackson are welcome additions to the Spidey franchise, and uphold their trademark badassery at all points throughout.
As something of a narrative wildcard, the less I say about Mysterio in this film the better. However, Gyllenhaal himself is maddeningly entertaining throughout and is easily one of the most impressive weapons in Far From Home’s already loaded arsenal. Even in being the first cinematic attempt at famed Spidey staple Mysterio, Gyllenhaal unequivocally makes the character his and is nothing short of a complete delight to witness. He never fails to bring a dynamic and lively charisma to every second he’s on screen, and he is by far one of the best new characters introduced in Phase 3.
Many of the film’s action sequences are incredibly thrilling, combining trademark Spidey physicality with some remarkably well-done VFX to bring a number of high-octane and exciting setpieces to life. The clash that largely surrounds this film’s third act and finale stands as one of my favorites in the MCU and, in true Spidey fashion, is embedded with a solid amount of narrative importance and stakes, truly keeping me on the edge of my seat until the intense final moments.
This film is also quite truthfully one of the funniest the MCU has to offer. This may not come off as too much of a surprise, as the same can largely be said for Homecoming, but I was rather delighted at how often I found myself genuinely laughing at this film’s many hilarious lines, gags, and moments of much-needed relief. A particular standout would definitely be the more humorous means in which this film addresses the events of Avengers: Endgame, making for some genuine laugh-out-loud moments.
While there are a remarkable number of things that Far From Home achieves with flying colors, there are, unfortunately, a few outstanding issues that I have with this film. While the majority of the film is very well paced and will keep even the most casual moviegoer continually hooked, things do slightly falter just a bit around the middle. The goings-on of Far From Home’s slower moments do eventually serve crucial narrative purposes in terms of pay-off in the third act, and will most likely clean up with the omniscience of any repeat viewings. That said, the initial slowdown may detract from one’s first viewing of this movie, although I’m sure that’ll be a case-by-case basis.
In the circulation of the press junket for this film, Tom Holland himself claimed that this film has a scene that many audiences are going to hate. And while I don’t feel like this is necessarily the case, said scene in question is unmissable, even on one’s first viewing of this film. And although I don’t think one’s opinion on this particular scene will in any way compromise their viewing experience at all (I personally love the scene), it’s worth noting simply because going in unaware might make your personal experience slightly more jarring than originally intended. I won’t dare give a single thing away in terms of context or spoilers, but if you’d like to read Holland’s specific remarks, I’d definitely say it’s worth a look. Beware, however, as I’d personally save this read until after you’ve seen the film at least once. I’ll leave it up to you. The whole thing can be found right here.
Something that I don’t ever really make it a point to discuss in my reviews of these films is the credit scenes. Not that any of you need to be reminded, but I strongly advise that you stay until the end of this film’s credits. The two scenes that fill the middle and end of the credits are hellaciously wild in every sense of the word. This film’s mid-credits scene in particular damn near turned my screening into bedlam, and is undoubtedly my favorite credit tease in the entire MCU. If I haven’t made this obnoxiously evident yet–stay for the credits.
Much like its titular hero, Spider-Man: Far From Home manages to rise to the occasion and pull off an impossible task despite overwhelming odds, achieving a cinematic balancing act and soaring as not only a proper sequel and wildly fantastic time at the movies, but also as the ten-point landing on Phase 3 of the MCU. Backed by tons of heart, great performances all around, and so, so much more, Spider-Man: Far From Home is not only a perfect summer megahit in every sense of both words, but is also my favorite movie of the entire year. I’m thrilled to give Spider-Man: Far From Home an A.