(Warning! Avengers: Endgame Spoilers Ahead!)
After the explosive ending to Avengers: Endgame, Marvel finishing Phase 3 with a Spider-Man sequel felt like a bit of a fizzle out. But I can safely say that Spider-Man: Far From Home is not just a fantastic film, it’s also the most perfect conclusion to Phase 3, showing the aftermath of Tony’s death, its effects on the re-snapped characters and the rise of a new hero.
One/six years after Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker is preparing to go on his school’s science trip to Europe, where he hopes to confess his love to MJ in the most romantic setting possible. However, his plans take a turn for the worst as Nick Fury intercepts his trip and he’s thrown into a crazy adventure battling dimension-hopping Elementals with the majestic new character Mysterio. Or at least, this is how it all appears at first. Spider-Man: Far From Home seems determined to throw the audience a few curveballs as the plot progresses.
The film is so much fun. Tom Holland shines as brightly as the Bifrost as he brings the perfect mix of charm, charisma, confusion and awkwardness to his role as Peter Parker. This young actor has so much weighing on him, as he has to portray a version of Spider-Man cursed with following Tony Stark as the new face of the Avengers, while desperately trying to live a normal life with his friends, but Holland carries it off perfectly. The returning cast are just as good as before, Zendaya as MJ is wonderfully sarcastic, Jacob Batalon as Ned is a beloved bundle of laughs. Sam Jackson as Nick Fury sometimes becomes a caricature of himself with a few goofier moments, but I guess he has to watch his potty-mouth while dealing with a minor. Newcomer Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio sets himself apart from other magical characters such as Heimdall or Doctor Strange, and becomes the perfect foil to Spider-Man’s confusion and Fury’s fury.
Marvel has already proven itself ten times over from a comedic stance, with the quippy banter between the Avengers to the improvised hilarity of Thor: Ragnarok. Here, the film’s laugh-a-minute tone echoes Three Stooges slapstick with Peter taking incredible leaps in logic to hide his superhero abilities from the rest of the world (but more importantly, from the other students). The film is definitely full of fan service and peppered with call-backs to other Marvel movies and previous iterations of Spider-Man. Heck, the film even feels self-aware at times, as Fury looks directly into the camera and questions the insane nature of comic book movies. But Far From Home is a love story at its heart, and Peter’s attempts to weed out the competiton and get closer to MJ gives the film a gorgeous relatability for anyone who’s ever had a high school crush. Plus, Tom and Zendaya’s chemistry definitely makes them one of the cutest couples in the entire MCU.
Far From Home does have its problems; the film suffers from pacing issues even with a two-hour runtime. It desperately tries to cram way too much story into just a few days, so it becomes incredibly distracting when characters hop between European countries in a matter of seconds (even with Happy Hogan flying the Quinjet). Also, while the villain is an enjoyable character, his schemes feel rushed, his motivations cartoonish and Peter & Co figure out his diabolical plans a little too quickly for my liking. Despite these problems, the film brings it all home with impressive CGI and fast-paced, creative action. Plus, the use of Stark’s McGuffin technology gives the film an excuse to revel in scene after scene of hyperactive, trippy visuals.
As conclusions go, Far From Home may not be as satisfying or tear jerking as Avengers: Endgame. After seeing so many of our favourite heroes die or retire, focusing on the youngest face of the team is a bold move. But Peter’s growth to fill the shoes of his mentor is an incredibly emotional journey, as we are constantly reminded of Tony Stark’s momentous absence. There’s a focus on the responsibility that comes with great power, the emptiness after the loss of a loved one, and even the pressures of celebrity life, and the film tackles these heavy themes with respect, pathos and poignancy. The absence of Stan Lee’s familiar cameo is enough to remind us that this is the end of an era. But at the end of the day, Spider-Man: Far From Home is still a comedy film, an uplifting romance and a superhero movie, and this webslinger’s journey is more than enough to speed us forward to the start of Phase 4.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Words by Rachel Denham-White