Dan's Review: "Spider-Man: Far From Home" is the perfect transition into a new MCU phase
Jun 27, 2019 10:18PM
● By Dan Metcalf
Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Far from Home - © 2019 Sony/Columbia.
Spider-Man: Far From Home (Sony/Columbia)
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments.
Starring Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, J. B. Smoove, Jacob Batalon, Martin Starr, Marisa Tomei, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tony Revolori, Angourie Rice, Hemky Madera, Numan Acar, Remy Hii, Peter Billingsley, Oli Hill, Zach Barack.
Written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, based on Spider-Man comics by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
Directed by Jon Watts.
One of the few common audience complaints about Avengers: End War was the lack of a “bonus” end-credits scene that teased into the next Marvel movie. Yes, the movie marked the end of the original cinematic assembly of Marvel superheroes, leaving fans with a bittersweet feeling and a semblance of closure. But we all knew it was not the end of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with several sequels already in the making, including additional Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man editions. First out of the gate is Spider-Man: Far From Home, following the actions of Peter Parker after the loss of a handful of key Avengers, most notably his mentor and father figure Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron-Man.
Parker (Tom Holland) is embarking on a summer trip to Europe with a group of students, including his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), love interest M.J. (Zendaya), and the school snob/bully Flash (Tony Revolori), among others. Their trip is interrupted by a series of attacks by “Elementals,” or giants that utilize the four elements of wind, earth, water, and fire to wreak destruction. The elementals are held at bay by Quentin Beck, a.k.a. “Mysterio” (Jake Gyllenhaal), a human superhero from another dimensional version of Earth, or part of a “Multi-Verse.” When Mysterio’s powers are not enough to withstand the elementals, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) tracks Peter down during the trip and recruits him to join Mysterio in the fight. Peter resists, hoping to lead a more normal teen life, pursuing the lovely M.J. and avoiding the burden of taking up the Avengers’ mantle and following in Iron-Man’s footsteps. Peter soon learns of a darker, hidden plot that threatens his friends and a sense of a fragile world peace. He is forced to choose between staying in the shadows as a child or stepping forward as the adult hero the world needs.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is the perfect blend of (sometimes campy) humor, incredible action, special effects, and poignant character development, while providing a much-needed segue from the somber conclusion of the original Avengers storyline into a new phase of the MCU. Holland is by far the best Spider-Man of the live-action trio of cinematic comic book adaptations (the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse remains the best of all web-slinger films, in my opinion). He exhibits the honest qualities of a young man conflicted by the pitfalls of teen living and the duties of a superhero. Holland’s supporting cast is equally complimentary, notably Jackson as Fury, Jon Favreau as “Happy,” Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, and especially Zendaya as the beautiful, cerebral, and complicated M.J.
Also worth noting is that the movie has a few surprise plot twists that keep the story from being a clichéd and common superhero movie as the trailer would suggest. I’d suggest sticking around through the end credits for a few cool bonus scenes, too.
Spider-Man: Far From Home also succeeds as a standalone MCU film without leaning on any other major Marvel characters, allowing for a movie that isn’t burdened by some great Marvel “master plan.” In other words, it doesn’t require a lot of moving parts or cross-reference to progress Peter Parker on his way, even though the movie pulls a few key moments from past MCU films, like the original Iron-Man, Captain America: Civil War, and a key reference to the more recent Captain Marvel. Again, these are only references needed for a little context instead of making a movie dependent on some unknown climactic conclusion like End Game, proving that it’s okay for Spider-Man to exist as a strong individual character.
"Spider-Man: Far From Home" Trailer