Spider-Man: Far From Home is out next week, and if you didn’t already think Tom Holland made the perfect Peter Parker, this flick will make you a believer.
Fear not: this review is spoiler-free!
While on a school trip to Europe, Peter is recruited by Nick Fury to help take down The Elementals alongside Mysterio, a hero from an alternate Earth. The film is directed by Jon Watts, written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, and also stars Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Jacob Batalon, and Jon Favreau alongside Holland.
We are officially living in a post-Avengers: Endgame world, and Far From Home introduces us to that world very well. It sets the rules for this new era, and actually answers some of the questions that people were left with after Endgame. It also acknowledges the influence that the first era of Marvel films will have on future films. The shadow of Tony Stark looms large as everyone wonders who will fill the void Iron Man left behind.
The first half of the movie doesn’t even really feel like a superhero story, though. Superhero stuff happens, sure, but the story plays much more into the “teenagers on vacation” element. Spider-Man: Homecoming also leaned into the high school comedy vibe, but Far From Home feels like it does so even more. And that’s great! It’s definitely to the film’s benefit. Great Spider-Man stories have to be about Peter Parker as much as they’re about the web-slinger. Some of the best moments in the film are when Peter is just interacting with his classmates like an awkward high schooler. The human element is what draws audiences in and makes them care on a personal level. It’s what gives the story real stakes.
And then the superhero stuff really hits the fan in the second half, and that’s just a fun time all around. That’s where all of the personal stakes and tension that was built up earlier in the film pay off. Peter’s inner turmoil manifests itself in big-budget action, and while the action sequences may not be the best that we’ve gotten from Marvel Studios, they’re still cathartic because we’ve been made to care about what happens to these characters.
There are two sequences in the latter half of the film that deserve special recognition, but they’re very spoilery. Suffice it to say, if you’re a fan of Spider-Man comics, and you have certain expectations going into Far From Home, you’re going to be very pleased. These sequences stand out as some of the best and most unique ones we’ve gotten from any Spider-Man flick. You’ll know them when you see them.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this Spidey movie, though, is how it tackles the concept of “fake news.” Throughout the film, there’s this underlying theme of “people will believe anything,” and “those who control the flow of information control the people.” It’s not preachy or in-your-face with politics, but this idea flows throughout the story and is ever-present. This all gives Far From Home some substance. The best Marvel movies have some sort of social commentary, going way back to Iron Man. It makes the film more than just a popcorn flick; it gives you something to take home with you and think about.
There are three standout performances in Far From Home: Holland, Zendaya, and Gyllenhaal. Holland’s Spider-Man just gets better and better the more we see him. He’s awkward, relatable, and everything a teenage Peter Parker should be. He takes the weight of the world on his shoulders and you feel for him. Gyllenhaal, then, is charming and charismatic and whatever else he needs to be as Mysterio.
Zendaya’s MJ was a point of mild controversy following Spider-Man: Homecoming, just because she’s so different compared to the comic book version of the character. But after seeing this movie, you’ll agree that she is the perfect version of MJ for this universe. She’s a brilliant match for Holland’s Pete; the two have adorable chemistry together. And, honestly, she’s not all that different from her comic counterpart in the areas that matter. She may not be a fashionista, but she’s still a strong, confident individual that’s unafraid to take charge. Zendaya gets plenty of screentime in this movie, but here’s hoping we see even more of her moving forward.
Watching this young Spider-Man grow and come of age has been very fulfilling. He’s learning very real lessons about life and responsibility, ones that are great for audiences young and old. Spider-Man: Far From Home is a fun and rewarding time at the movies, especially for lifelong web-heads.