Warning: contains spoilers for Avengers: Engame!
The sequel to 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming has huge shoes to fill. Not only does it have to top the fun John Hughes-esque high school plot from Holland’s first outing, but by being the final chapter of the MCU’s third phase, the story somehow has to deal with the ramifications of the game changing events of Avengers: Endgame. To do this, and then more, is no mean feat, so I’m glad to say Far From Home definitely supersedes that of Homecoming; it’s a hugely entertaining & funny sequel, packed full of brilliant nods to the MCU & PS4 game. It’s also on a much bigger scale; swapping the urban cityscapes of Queens, with impressive action sequences spanning across beautiful European cities.
Directed by Jon Watts, Spider-Man: Far From Home quickly establishes a post Endgame world with a hilarious gag that quickly explains what actually happened with the sudden reappearance of half the population after five years, now referred to as ‘The Blip’, at Midtown High School. While everyone is wondering who will take up Iron Man’s mantle, with most looking to Spider-Man, Peter Parker is simply trying to come to terms with the loss of his mentor and father figure.
When an opportunity to travel across Europe with his fellow classmates arises, Parker leaves his suit behind in the hopes of winning over the beautifully quirky MJ (Zendaya). But his hopes of briefly escaping the superhero life are quickly dashed as Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) hijacks the road trip, forcing Peter to team up with new hero on the block, Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) to stop the new threat of the Elementals from destroying the cities of Europe, and eventually, the World.
Watts deftly balances the more fun, teen road trip elements with a great coming of age tale as Peter battles his self doubt. The combination of the charmingly awkward central romance and the entertaining adventure across Venice, Prague and London is truly the perfect antidote to the darker events of Avengers: Endgame. Writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers have crafted a tremendously comedic script that gives each of the wonderful characters plenty of earnest and heartwarming interactions, meticulously juggling multiple character threads.
Out of the many wonderful films in the MCU, I really do believe Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man have the best and most relatable ensemble of characters. In Far From Home, Watts nicely builds upon the wonderful relationships established in Homecoming between Peter and his classmates; Ned (Jacob Batalon), Betty (Angourie Rice), Flash (Tony Revolori), MJ (Zendaya) and the newly buffed due to ‘The Blip’ Brad (Remy Hii). The hugely endearing chemistry between Holland and Zendaya really is a joy to watch, with the latter finally getting much more screen time this time round, bringing a brilliantly deadpan humour to the film. There’s also more of the wonderful Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) and Happy (Jon Favreau), who surprisingly, is one of my favourites in this film, as unlike the previous outing, he’s taken Peter under his wing as they both grieve for Tony. Peter is well known in the comics as having some of the best quips of the Avengers, but here Happy steals that crown with a brilliant line in a fantastic scene inside the Tower of London.
Following on from his appearences in Civil War, Infinity War and Endgame, Tom Holland truly cements his place as the funniest and most believable on-screen Spider-Man. I also particularly enjoyed seeing him engage more in the science and tech aspects of the narrative, much like his comic book counterpart. The highly anticipated addition of Jake Gyllenhaal to the MCU as the iconic fishbowl rocking Mysterio/Quentin Blake is another highlight of the film, with the two leads sporting great chemistry. Blake quickly becomes a supportive fatherly figure to Parker, guiding him through his anxieties – to say anymore would be a disservice to the twists and turns of the film. Also adding more MCU clout to the film are Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) who’s on fine insulting form and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) – whatever you do, do not ghost these two!
As expected from an MCU outing, there’s plenty of fun Easter eggs and nods to the wider universe, including Michael Giacchino’s score that’s reminiscent of Captain America and The Avengers themes, that neatly connect the Sony property. There’s also a very fun sequence that could have been lifted from the PS4 game. Action wise, the film is packed full of energetic sequences which showcase Holland’s athletic prowess, making use of a lot more physical effects and stunt work this time round. It’s great to see all four of the costumes in action too, with the stealth suit proving a really intriguing addition that felt very tangible, as opposed to the usual digital suits. However Mysterio’s suit and style definitely stole the show, there’s just so much detail and intricate design involved, which is very reminiscent of Doctor Strange’s incantations. And of course, there’s the two post credit scenes to look out for; with one setting up a very intriguing future for Spidey!
Overall, Spider-Man: Far From Home is a triumphant joy that successfully closes the epic third phase of the MCU with a game changing epilogue for Parker. This could well be one of the best Marvel sequels to date (yes I know, The Winter Soldier will always hold that title) and it definitely features the most surprising post credits sequence. After the timey wimey concept of Endgame, Far From Home successfully brings us back down to Earth with a grounded (but very endearing) teen love story, complete with many twists and turns, that you can’t help but smile at!