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Review: ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ spins a web of action-packed fun (Includes first-hand account)

Since Marvel came back into the fold, Spider-Man has flourished. No longer an emo man-child, he exudes youth and teenage sarcasm in a manner inherit to the character. In other words, Peter Parker really looks and feels like the boy next door now. Moreover, bringing him back into the greater MCU allowed for more interesting storylines as he built a paternal bond with the ever-aloof Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). If you haven’t seen Avengers: Endgame, then you really should before watching this picture because it opens with a major spoiler (which also can’t/won’t be avoided for the remainder of this review — fair warning). Having announced this movie would close out Marvel Studios‘ phase three rather than Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home took the baton and slung away.

Peter (Tom Holland) and his classmates are still dealing with the effects of returning five years after the initial snap. Younger peers are now the same age, and previously scrawny kids are now handsome competition for the affections of one Michelle Jones, a.k.a. MJ (Zendaya). Spider-Man continues to protect his neighbourhood and make appearances at charity events run by Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), but he’s not currently accepting calls to save the world… even from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). After all, he’s already got his hands full with a class trip to Europe and planning the perfect moment with MJ. Of course, that’s never stopped the eye-patch wearing badass before. A villain that controls the elements is wreaking havoc across the globe and a dimension-traveller dubbed Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) is here to stop it — but they could really use Spider-Man’s help and Fury isn’t taking “no” for an answer.

Overall, this is a fairly standard Spider-Man narrative, balancing big, shattering action sequences with adolescent, coming-of-age issues. The former are Marvel-level epic. While audiences only get a glimpse of the first monster, water and fire contribute giant hazards that threaten city populations, which happen to include Peter’s sightseeing classmates. In both instances, the reluctant superhero requires creative ways to hide his identity: first on the spot, and then with a little help from S.H.I.E.L.D. As the Stay Puft-sized creatures knockdown buildings and use their surroundings to become stronger, Mysterio and Spider-Man team up to minimize the damage. The new friendship also fills a whole in the kid’s life that no one else in his life can.

However, the fact that Peter is just a teenager plays heavily in this story. Given the choice of spending time with his friends or getting pummelled by a monster, he obviously chooses the former… until Fury meddles in his plans and forces Peter’s hand. Being one of the few people on the planet who has a complete understanding of “the blip,” he’s learned to value the people he cares about more and wants to regain some normalcy. Moreover, he’s still reeling from Tony’s death and is afraid of the added responsibility that’s placed on his shoulders. With most of the Avengers MIA, he’s all Earth has at the moment. He’s also at that awkward moment in life when everyone expects him to step up and is then disappointed when he screws up… but it’s those mistakes that make him a better man and hero in the end.

Since the story centres on a class trip, the other kids play a more significant role in the film and contribute to the lighter side of the picture. Peter’s best friend, Ned (Jacob Batalon), and love interest, MJ, are there to keep him grounded, while also being prime reasons for him to leap into protection mode. There’s also Peter’s bully, Flash (Tony Revolori), who ironically idolizes Spider-Man, and MJ-rival, Brad (Remy Hii). May’s role is fairly limited this chapter, while Happy (Jon Favreau) bookends the narrative by providing support to Peter when he needs it most. And everyone knows Fury has a dark sense of humour.

While the movie satisfies by answering the “what now” question post-blip and showcasing more of the epic action fans have come to expect, it then sucker punches audiences in the post-credit sequence. There’s little else we can say, but that shocker certainly takes the wind out of everyone’s sails. Watch, enjoy, stay and lift your jaw off the sticky floor.

Director: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson and Jake Gyllenhaal

Written By

Sarah Gopaul is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for film news, a member of the Online Film Critics Society and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer-approved critic.

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