Following the “blip”, with the entirety of the universe safely restored from ashes, all Peter Parker wants to do is go on his school field trip and take a break from being a superhero – and who can blame him? But when Quentin Beck (A.K.A. Mysterio), a new face on Fury’s radar, warns of a threat that had already consumed his planet in another universe, Parker is forced to don the Spidey mask once more.
Spider-Man: Homecoming was a promising start to yet another generation of Spider-Man, and with Far from Home, that promise continues to be apparent. If it was too early to say in 2017, I think it is reasonable now to argue Tom Holland is the best to play Spider-Man. As Peter Parker, Holland demonstrates the necessary innocence, intelligence, and caring both physically and verbally. As Spider-Man, he commands the screen with his strength and acrobatics. I’ve considered him my favorite since Homecoming, but I know some people hold those first two Tobey Maguire films dear, so whatever works for them.
Another important aspect of any Spider-Man film, is the quality of the storyline between Peter and MJ. I believe Holland and Zendaya do work well together, and I found Zendaya to be more likable as MJ in this film as she is given more attention and allowed time to have her character open up; in the previous installment, Peter had another love interest throughout the film which obviously obstructed Zendaya’s ability to shine. And what really supports this storyline, is it becomes central to the film as a whole; Far from Home is as much as an awkward teenage love story as it is a superhero blockbuster. A large part of why Peter wants to take time off from being Spider-Man is because he wants to focus on advancing his relationship with MJ, and his tour through Europe gives him an opportunity to do so. Then of course, this conflict between Peter wanting to take a break and being needed ends up dominating the film. Imagine a young Cusack film but he’s a superhero too.
With Spider-Man playing a greater role in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, expect to see a selection of his villains begin to enter the fray; in Far from Home, we get to see Mysterio, one of my personal favorites, make his live-action debut. While teased as a potential hero in the trailers, any fan knows Mysterio is better known for being a villain and anyone can smell this turnaround more than a mile away while watching the film. However, this brings me to one of my nitpicks: the reveal of Mysterio. When the film decides to finally show Quentin Beck’s true colors, it is extremely on the nose and plain corny. Jake Gyllenhaal gives a blabbering monologue on how he had his feelings hurt. What part of “show don’t tell” do the writers not understand? Moving on from this scene, however, Mysterio becomes a fun villain to watch. In his confrontations with Spider-Man, he puts his showmanship on full display, in these CGI illusion scenes which are nothing short of mind-bending awesomeness. And I think Gyllenhaal does a solid job as the disgruntled character. Despite not boasting any legitimate powers of his own, Gyllenhaal still comes off as a real threat to Spider-Man. While Vulture was a certainly more compelling villain in Homecoming, Mysterio proved to be the more interesting fighter.
Spider-Man: Far from Home returns the stakes from the fate of the universe in Endgame to more manageable levels, while setting the course for the future of the MCU without Iron Man or Captain America 😦 . The film recognizes the importance of Tony Stark’s legacy, especially within Peter Parker’s storyline, without wasting time trivializing or dwelling on it. The runtime is added on to with gags, as Marvel films are known to do, and some extra trimming wouldn’t have hurt. Otherwise I found this film to be a lot of fun, and after the first end credits scene, am very interested to see where they go next in Spider-Man’s story. 8/10