Spider-Man: Far From Home, 2019.
Directed by Jon Watts.
Starring Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Jacob Batalon, Angourie Rice, Jon Favreau, Tony Revolori, Martin Starr, J.B. Smoove, Remy Hil, Numan Acar, Hemky Madera, Toni Garrn, and Marisa Tomei.
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.
With Avengers: Endgame having come and gone, Spider-Man: Far From Home acts both as a nice coda to the Infinity Saga and a satisfying Spidey tale which examines Peter Parker’s development and the responsibility he carries to his friends and the world. Tom Holland delivers another great performance as the web-slinging hero that is strengthened by his chemistry with Jake Gyllenhaal and Zendaya. With a concise story, fine acting and entertaining and well shot set pieces, Spider-Man: Far From Home makes for a great superhero film.
Picking up a few months after Endgame, the Spidey sequel wastes no time displaying how the world has recovered from and dealt with ‘The Blip’ as they call the moment millions of people instantaneously reappeared. A lot of emphasis is placed on Peter’s role in the post-Endgame world, namely having to choose between being a kid – one who has a literal second lease on life – and stepping up as a superhero to fill some big shoes. Whereas Homecoming focused more on the fun side of being a superhero, Far From Home looks at the more complicated side to the job with the film balancing Peter’s conflict pretty well as he toes the line between these two choices.
The one thing that elevates Peter’s personal problems is Holland’s performance as he again makes Peter a relatable and endearing character. Whether it’s through his comedic timing or serious turns Holland not only shows the many facets to Peter’s personality, but manages to find something new to explore in his fifth go as the young hero. Beginning as the usual nerdy and awkward Peter, he slowly grows in confidence and assertiveness as the reality of his position settles in. Holland displays the burden of Peter’s double life and newfound responsibilities in an effective way, especially when it comes to his relationship with his fellow classmates. From Ned, Flash Thomspon to another student vying for MJ’s affection, Holland shares a lot of good chemistry with the rest of the cast but none moreso than Zendaya and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Zendaya’s take on MJ is more nuanced than in Homecoming. She’s still the very sarcastic character from the previous film, but her scenes with Holland are quite memorable, especially in the second half of the film, as the two share a nice back-and-forth where it feels like an authentic, awkward teenage romance. As the film goes on Zendaya also gets to further explore MJ, showing there’s more to her than the cynical nature she was known for in the previous film. Gyllenhaal, meanwhile, is one of the best aspects to Far From Home as Mysterio, a potential new mentor to Peter. Gyllenhaal’s charisma carries him through the film, creating a great rapport with Holland that makes it easy and believable as to why Peter feels a connection with him. He’s a captivating factor to the story and his performance elevates the film.
In between all the drama Peter and his friends face are some pretty entertaining action pieces with great choreography. Spidey’s movements are fluid and easy to follow while Mysterio fans should be quite pleased with how his powers and abilities are presented. There’s one sequence in the middle portion of the film that shows how well Mysterio is handled, feeling a bit like the Scarecrow levels in the Batman: Arkham Asylum video game. Even the big fights with the Elementals, giants monsters made from Earth’s natural elements, aren’t too chaotic in spite of all the destruction and mayhem they cause. It also shows a nice balance from director Jon Watts as he knows when to pull back from the action for a character driven scene.
The film’s humour also works to a great degree. There is not a huge reliance on humour to drive a slow scene and much of it feels natural, especially when it comes to the awkward high school moments. Even with all the fantastical stuff going on, Watts still grounds the film in the character’s emotions and development. Other elements that help the film are its stunning visual effects whether it’s Spidey web-slinging, the Elementals or Mysterio. Far From Home boasts some of the best looking visual effects of the MCU to date, and that’s including Endgame. The story is fast-paced and doesn’t let up, keeping you engaged throughout the entirety of its run while placing its focus squarely on the characters.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is a great follow-up by Jon Watts to Homecoming and a nice epilogue to Marvel’s Infinity Saga. Tom Holland displays a good amount of range and great chemistry with his co-stars while Zendaya gets more material to work with as MJ. Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio is bound to become one of the most memorable characters in the MCU thanks to both his performance and the effects done to his character. With a nice balance on the problems in Peter’s double life and how often they mix together, Spidey fans should leave the theater pretty happy with his development in the film and where it leaves him going forward.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for movie news and nerd talk.