Released: 1st July
Seen: 1st July
STOP READING THIS REVIEW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ENDGAME. Right now, if you haven’t seen it… well, tell me what it’s like under that rock of yours, and second go and see that movie so that you’re as caught up as you can get because we’re going to talk about major spoilers from that movie since they make up a large amount of the foundation for this one. Again, I’m going to make the assumption that from this point on you are officially caught up on the major events of Avengers: Endgame and that I can spoil that movie like it was milk left under hot lights in summer. OK, let’s do this.
Spider-Man: Far From Home begins shortly after Iron Man’s funeral with a brief explanation of what happened to everyone who was snapped, who is confirmed to be dead and just what this means for all the student’s at Peter Parker’s school. Peter (Tom Holland) is still trying to cope with the death of Tony Stark while also helping his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) with her charity work, her charity being intended to help people who lost their homes in the snap. Peter clearly is in need of a break and fortunately, his school has planned an overseas excursion which Peter intends to use to just relax with his friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) and maybe finally tell MJ (Zendaya) that he likes her. Basically, Peter wants to just have a small amount of time as a normal teenage boy from Queens. Unfortunately, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has a mission that he needs Peter to help with. Turns out there is a multiverse, as evidenced when a mysterious man named Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) comes to find them and needs their help to fight creatures known as Elementals that already destroyed Quentin’s world and they have to stop them from destroying Peter’s. Peter has to make the tough choice between helping to save the world again, or enjoying a brief moment as a kid. Will he rise to the occasion? Of course he will, he will do whatever a spider can!
This movie had the almost impossible task of being the next movie to come out after Endgame, and it really shouldn’t be understated how hard that was. They just released the most anticipated film of the decade, a film that just had a big re-release last weekend so it’s fresh in everyone’s memory and THIS film had to somehow follow that and prove that the franchise that Marvel has put together does actually have a life that goes beyond the Infinity Stone Saga that we’ve just been told. It’s a big task and a huge ask for the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man but god damn do they pull it off. This film not only fills in the blanks of “How do the schools deal with this” or “What if someone moved into your house in the 5 years after the snap”, it asks the big question of who will be the next Iron Man. Who will be the one to take the mantle that Robert Downey Junior held as the mascot for the series? This film makes a pretty solid argument that Tom Holland could take that mantle and run with it.
Everyone has their favourite Spider-Man, and I’m starting to think Tom might be mine. While he’s always been a fun energetic kid who was nothing short of precious, this film makes him absolutely lovable. You root for him, it constantly reminds us that this is just a kid who had something thrust upon him that he never asked for and he has to deal with having to constantly fight between his normal teenage life and his superhero life, each one of those causes major problems for Peter. He just acts like a regular kid, albeit with superpowers and less acne. This film almost makes you hate that they need to work action in because Peter is so clearly needing the time to process… you know, technically dying in the snap, then coming back to life only to see the first real father figure he’s ever had die a horrible painful heroic death. He has some problems to work out and you want him to be able to work them out in Venice while sharing a bowl of Bigoli in salsa with MJ (yes I did just Google a food you would eat in Venice to make that point, how dare you call me out on that). You want him to be able to take her to Paris, up to the top of the Eiffel tower with the specially made black dahlia necklace, which is MJ’s favourite flower because of the murder, and have them have a sweet happy moment…but nooo, no we have to be an action film and poor Peter can’t have a moment’s peace.
Even though I did resent the action scenes getting in the way of my need to have Peter and MJ finally realise they’re perfect for each other, they’re insanely cool action scenes. Obviously, they are not going to top the epic final action scene from Endgame, but it feels like a worthy follow up that gives Peter a spectacular big bad to fight against and shows off just what Mysterio can do in a battle. The battles with Mysterio and the elementals look amazing, a testament to great CGI work and to actually embracing the designs of the comic book. One of the things the MCU does well is take the ridiculous costumes from the comics and translate them to screen and the translation of Mysterio looks incredible, even with his silly fishbowl head. Also, readers of the comic are so confused because Mysterio seems to be a good guy in all the trailers but trust me, it’s fine, they handle him really well and it’s a really fun performance that gives Peter a good outlet for his pain regarding the loss of Tony.
I also appreciated that there is a ton of meta elements to this story, from them flat out saying that it’s the start of a new phase in their lives (phase being the term used in MCU canon to describe certain groups of films) to them pointedly calling out why other superheroes aren’t there to… well, OK one thing I can’t describe because it’s a huge spoiler but let’s just say that the reveal basically is a nod to the insanely hard work that goes into making one of these films and the various departments put together the things we end up seeing.
Spider-Man: Far From Home proves that the MCU doesn’t just have to end with Thanos. This series still has legs and they make it work wonderfully. With some gripping action, an engaging story and some genuinely brilliant performances, it’s a film that feels like a suitable follow up to the mammoth film that came out just before it. Spider-Man is no longer just saving the neighbourhood, he’s ready to save the world and do it with style and flair.
PS. There are 2 post credit scenes. The mid-credits scene is absolutely essential as it not only contains major world building but a cameo that literally had people in my screening yell with pure glee. The after credits scene is also really handy to have as it seems to be setting up something big in the future. So yeah, it’s worth sticking around… also, it’s an MCU film, I shouldn’t need to say “The film isn’t over until the end of the credits” but considering most of the people in my screening left just after the mid-credits scene, apparently, I do need to say it. Then again, when I saw the Avenger’s re-release that film was literally sold on “There is stuff added after the credits” and people still walked out, so clearly our species does not learn these basic lessons and we are all doomed… have a good day?