Spider-Man: Far From Home review Zendaya Tom Holland

Year: 2019
Director(s): Jon Watts
Writer(s): Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers
Region of Origin: US
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Rating: PG-13
Color, 129 mins

Synopsis: Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever. (Source)

With Endgame, Marvel united an entire universe and gave closure to nearly a decade of storytelling. Though no one thought it was going to be the last Marvel film, it had a rare finality to it. Now, Spider-Man: Far From Home is a necessary palette cleanser. It doesn’t have the heaviness of its predecessor, nor does it need it. After monumental losses, this latest film is a welcomed period of grieving. The implications of Endgame and Tony’s sacrifice weigh heavy on Peter Parker, and now he gets to decide and earn what comes next. This is a great character piece that blends globe-trotting adventure with teenage hijinks to spare. I don’t know how they keep pulling this off, but Marvel is making it clear they still have plenty up their sleeve. 

Taking place months after Tony’s snap, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his classmates have done their best to move on. The period of years in which Thanos snapped millions away is now referred to as the blip. Peter and all of his friends returned from the blip without aging, while classmates who were left behind are now older. Things really begin when Peter and his classmates take part in a chaperoned Eurotrip. All Peter wants to do is confess his love to MJ (Zendaya), but a series of massive behemoths (dubbed Elementals) have begun wrecking havoc around the world. Before knowing it, Nick Fury has hijacked Peter’s vacation, requesting that he work with a mysterious, inter-dimensional ally dubbed Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). Naturally, as Peter and Mysterio battle the Elementals from city to city, not everything is as it seems. 

As mentioned, the film benefits from director Jon Watts being able to balance a myriad of both emotional and narrative ideas. On surface, this is an adventure trip wrapped within high school drama. Deeper, it serves as a stand-alone story that helps us to move into a new era of the MCU. Peter serves for a great vehicle for this because of an arc that directly picks up where he left off. Instead of wanting to be an Avenger before he’s ready, he’s suddenly overwhelmed with the idea of stepping up to serve a greater good. Balancing what he wants vs a sense of duty, this is classic Peter Parker, given to us in ways that feel new. Opposite, Mysterio is a topical figurehead who calls out modern media. What he perpetuates is a piercing metaphor on some believe anything in order to avoid the truth. With Peter’s personal story front and center, the film gradually builds to a massive showdown that’s visually stunning, giving Peter a chance to ease into a new role with the MCU. 

Spider-Man: Far From Home review Jake Gyllenhaal Tom Holland

It goes without saying that the film’s winning ensemble is another indelible part of its success. Tom Holland remains one of the MCU’s best casted heroes, able to make the huge set pieces feel relatable. Holland is just so down to earth and sincere that you genuinely want to hang out with him. As his besties, Zendaya’s MJ, Jacob Batalon’s Ned, Angourie Rice’s Betty, Tony Revolori’s Flash round things out with heart that can’t be denied. They bring contrasting perspectives to the film’s craziness, and without them, Peter’s world would fall flat. Marisa Tomei gets slightly a bit more to do, while Jon Favreau’s Happy also gets to shift a bit. As a whole, it’s nice to revisit all of these characters and see how they’ve grown. Not to be outdone, Jake Gyllenhaal shines as Mysterio. He’s charismatic, mysterious, and definitely having fun. Gyllenhaal adds another memorable villain to the MCU with delightfully silly, crazy-eyed conviction.

Just when I thought I could walk away, Spider-Man: Far From Home is a reminder of how diverse and fresh the Marvel Universe can be. It’s a smart way to move forward while being reverent and respectful of the past. To no surprise, the film ends on an exciting note that teases even more possibility and subversion. As long these films never loses sight of the heart that makes Peter and his friends so accessible, I’ll keep coming back for more.