Following the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.
The first film to follow ‘Avengers: Endgame’ was always going to have a lot to live up to, so ‘Spider-Man: Far from Home’ was a good choice and an opportunity to build upon a successful first solo outing for this iteration of the character in ‘Homecoming’. The film is set at some point after ‘Endgame’, with Peter Parker and his friends readjusting to school life in the aftermath of the events of that film, and the film quickly gets back to the smaller stakes high school drama that fueled much of ‘Homecoming’. Parker is now juggling his time between school and fielding (or not as the case may be!) calls from Nick Fury, who has high expectations of Spider-Man these days. A school trip to Europe (don’t remember trips like this in my time at school!) coincides with a new threat, and once again Parker is caught between protecting his identity and trying to save the world.
This is an enjoyable palette cleanser after ‘Endgame’ and I particularly liked the smaller stakes moments that reinforce that Parker is still a kid, with a highlight of the film coming as Parker tries to use the new technology he’s been gifted by Tony Stark to delete a photo on another classmate’s phone with unintended consequences. The small stakes material works a lot better than the larger scale battles and it’s a shame the film switches more to that mode once we arrive in Europe, when Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio enters the fray. He’s a character who takes advantage of the doubt and paranoia of the wider population and feeds on it to achieve his aims, and in a post-Endgame world, he makes for an ideal villain. Gyllenhaal is pretty good in the role, although I much preferred him before his heel turn into an over the top, cackling bad guy (it’s safe to say this development is blatantly obvious and I’m not even sure the film, its trailer or the marketing has tried to conceal the reveal).
I do think the film suffers from a predicable plot, and a bit of superhero fatigue starts to come in once the film creeps towards the 2-hour mark (how many times must these films go to the smashing big cities up well?), but it’s hard to dislike ‘Far from Home’ thanks to the school material which is well played and Tom Holland in particular, who is just perfect in the role. ‘Spider-Man: Far from Home’ is middle of the road as far as the MCU goes, but it is an enjoyable entry and a smart choice to usher in the second phase of Marvel’s all conquering cinematic universe.
Directed By: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon, J. B. Smoove, Martin Starr, Tony Revolori, Angourie Rice and Numan Acar