Similar to Ant-Man and The Wasp, this MCU adventure had to follow up to a massive ensemble Avengers event. While it wasn’t the best adventure, it was entertaining to hold fans until Endgame. After Avengers: Endgame, where does one of the most beloved and youngest MCU go from here? Vacation.
But when you are an Avenger, there is no such thing as a quiet getaway.
This Review is Spoiler-Free
Spider-Man: Far From Home, Peter Parker (Tom Holland), still distraught over Tony Stark’s death, goes on a summer two-week field trip with his class. While abroad, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) recruits Spider-Man to join forces with the super powered Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) to face elemental threats from from another dimension.
Yes, Tony Stark is dead, and so he is everywhere. If you’ve seen Endgame, you might still be mourning the loss of Iron Man as well. As the father of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, his death left a resounding impact in the super-powered and non-gifted population. In the trailer, there is a street art mural of Iron Man that Peter looks upon. In the film, there is more sprinkling of Tony Stark throughout the movie that you can’t avoid him which continues the lasting effects of Iron Man’s role in the MCU. Stark’s treatment in this movie feels spiritual with a messianic awe that has viralized globally.
“I need a break,” Peter says. It’s understandable that a main story line is Peter Parker still mourning Tony Stark’s sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame. This school Eurotrip is the perfect opportunity to return Peters life to some normalcy. They’ll fly to Venice, then to Paris — a perfect romantic opportunity for Peter to show the cynical but cool MJ (Zendaya) how much he likes her. I’m also glad that Zendaya had more to do here than in Homecoming.
Peter Parker and MJ are relationship goals in comic book history. A normal guy with extraordinary abilities and a capable, intelligent woman who doesn’t always need saving. They are the most dramatic but beloved couples in comics where you can’t help but pull for them and that feeling remains here. The teenage love story in this film is perfectly executed in my eyes alongside the superhero action, given the equal weight to carry the film. When Peter’s not suiting up, we were watching his hilarious attempts to try and get MJ alone to confess his feeling, which takes a long time for them properly talk. It reminds you how much trouble it was to try and tell the person you like how you feel.
And then there is Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) showing up to remind Peter that other side of his life isn’t going away. We haven’t Fury sine Stark’s funeral and wondered what has become of our former S.H.I.E.L.D. director. Far From Home puts Fury in a position where he doesn’t have the same amount of control he used to have and he struggles with that. The master spy has nowhere to turn but to the teenage. One small problem: Parker is the handpicked Chosen One by Iron Man…and Fury doesn’t see it. Throughout the movie, I compare Fury to “the mean new stepdad.” He doesn’t see himself in Peter and sees him more as an asset that he needs. Unfortunately, Peter Parker is preoccupied with a bunch of high school problems.
Luckily, Fury has back up and not just Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders). Enter Gyllenhaal’s Quentin Beck, known as Mysterio. From the trailer, you know that he’s a multiversal refugee from an Earth that the Elementals have already visited. He wants Peter to help him defeat these elemental monsters from destroying another Earth. Peter’s relationship with Beck is as another mentor figure, a shadow-Tony to teach the younger generation some new tricks. He’s like the cool uncle that you always go to hang out with. Gyllenhaal is charismatic and cool that you like him instantly, even flying around in cooky green-gold exo-armor and a crystal ball helmet.
Returning director Jon Watts has fun with the foreign locations, not just focusing on just the famous landmarks we all know. He films the dialogue scenes with shot-reverse-shot repetition. There is a twist that actually surprised me near the end of the second act of the film, excellently accomplished by the screenwriters. I don’t think that it’s a spoiler to say that Far From Home is a little critical of superheroes, but it’s an understandable criticism when brought up by a homicidal maniac. Waves of action crash through the screen in the third act in brilliant fashion. This film is a giant-elemental sized megamovie, full of costume changes, laughs, and mouth-gaping surprises (you know how Marvel loves their post-credits scenes).
I loved Far From Home on the same level of last year’s Into the Spider-Verse. Nothing in this film should be underestimated, especially in the final act. Some digital effects look good in an amazing way while other look good in a boring way. The teen characters really are a blast to watch. The adults also have some comedic scenes as well. Holland has already been Spider-Man in more movies than anyone, but his Parker is a fun member of this youthful ensemble. In the end, Far From Home succeeds as an enjoyable final chapter of the MCU’s Phase 3. One has to wonder now about where Phase 4 might take us.
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