Spider-Man: Far From Home Review

Rating:

9 / 10

Cast:

Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man

Zendaya as Michelle Jones

Jake Gyllenhaal as Quentin Beck / Mysterio

Jacob Batalon as Ned

Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury

Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill

Marisa Tomei as May Parker

Angourie Rice as Betty

Martin Starr as Mr. Harrington

Numan Acar as Dimitri

Remy Hii as Brad Davis

Hemky Madera as Mr. Delmar

Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson

J.B. Smoove as Mr. Bell

Directed by Jon Watts

Summary:

After the events of Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker wants only one thing – a life or normalcy. He just wants to be an everyday teenager and he wants to show his true feelings for MJ. But the shadow of Tony Stark looms large over him and the world still needs a hero. Unfortunately, Peter does not feel like he’s worthy to fill the shoes of Iron Man.

When his school class goes on a trip to Europe, Peter sees it as an opportunity to make his move and pour his heart out to MJ. Unfortunately, one setback after another prevents this from happening despite the best efforts of Ned to be his wingman. Matters are further complicated when Nick Fury shows up.

After dealing with aliens, mythological gods, and interdimensional beings, there’s a new threat to the world – villains from alternate realities. Creatures from an alternate earth have made their way to our world and started wreaking havoc around the globe. Fortunately, a hero from that world has followed them – Quentin Beck. Despite the efforts of Beck (who is soon dubbed “Mysterio”), Nick Fury needs more heroes to help battle the elementals. With Spider-Man the only Avenger available, he desperately tries to recruit him. Unfortunately, Peter’s not interested. But Nick Fury is not one to take “No” for an answer and Peter soon finds himself reluctantly pulled into the conflict. Will he step up and be the hero that Tony Stark believed he could be?

Spider-Man: Far From Home is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments.

What Worked:

I absolutely loved Spider-Man: Homecoming and am happy to report that everything that was great about that film is back in Spider-Man: Far From Home. That’s thanks in large part to the return of director Jon Watts, writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, and the fantastic cast. They manage to repeat the magic that made the previous film unique among superhero films. It’s a teen comedy at heart wrapped in a major summer superhero action adventure.

One of the main things I love about Spider-Man: Far From Home is that it is laugh out loud funny. There is brilliant dialogue, funny situational comedy, and even physical comedy that has the audience regularly laughing from beginning to end. It’s fun to see Peter put in one terribly embarrassing situation after another despite the fact that he’s the hero. That’s exactly in step with the comic books where Peter could never catch a break. This film perfectly captures that teenage awkwardness.

Another big key to the success of this film is the supporting cast. Every single character has a moment to shine and brings a laugh to the audience. Martin Starr as Mr. Harrington and J.B. Smoove as Mr. Bell are hilarious as the teachers and chaperones on the trip. Jacob Batalon continues to be an MVP as Ned, he’s that magic element that elevates this beyond other Spider-Man films because he provides someone for Peter Parker to play off of. Even Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson is further developed as a character beyond just being Peter’s nemesis.

The lead cast also shines across the board. Tom Holland continues to be my favorite cinematic Spider-Man. Zendaya is fantastic as MJ. She brings a unique take to the character with her dark sense of humor, intelligence, and insecurity. Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill are fun to see dropped into the middle of this teen drama. But I really loved Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan. I would watch an entire movie with just him and Marisa Tomei as May Parker. Jake Gyllenhaal is also great as Quentin Beck aka Mysterio. His performance is initially quite reserved, but as the story progresses he shines more and more as a memorable character. And I’m amazed that they managed to make the character look exactly like he does in the comics while putting a fresh new spin on him. It’s brilliant.

Spider-Man: Far From Home is also unique in that it serves as an epilogue to Avengers: Endgame. We see how the world reacted to the fact that 50% of all life was dead for five years. One teen laments, “My younger brother is now my older brother.” Younger classmates are now the same age. People are kicked out of apartments because new people are living there. This film addresses that chaos in, believe it or not, a fun way. This Spider-Man film is also tied to numerous previous MCU films in unexpected ways. When those connections were revealed, I heard the audience gasp and cheer at the revelations. It’s amazing to see how the creators are able to connect the dots between all of these films and further embed Spider-Man in the MCU continuity.

As you would expect, there are two end credit scenes. I won’t spoil them here, but they are well worth staying for. One serves as a major cliffhanger for Spidey while the other reveals something that will make you want to re-watch Spider-Man: Far From Home all over again.

What Didn’t Work:

I really enjoyed Spider-Man: Far From Home, so anything I have to say here is nitpicking.

First off, I felt the action was a little underwhelming. The battles with the Elementals felt like mass destruction that we have seen many times before. It’s OK, but it lacks signature action moves or major stunts that we’ve come to expect. The final battle is the lone exception as Spidey faces one of his biggest challenges. But it’s unusual that the scenes without any visual effects are the best in the movie.

The music also stands out less in this film than in Spider-Man: Homecoming. It’s composed by Michael Giacchino who is one of the best composers working today, but this score of his didn’t stand out for me.

Spider-Man: Homecoming also set up a major cliffhanger with Aunt May discovering that Peter was Spider-Man. While this movie addresses it, they don’t address it near to the extent that I would have liked. It’s a minor side plot to the story. I thought it deserved more attention. I hope the cliffhanger shown in this film gets more attention in a third Spider-Man film.

The plot of Spider-Man: Far From Home is also very similar to that of another superhero film. I won’t say anything further here, but it may be too close for comfort for some viewers.

Finally, I thought Remy Hii was a very interesting character as Brad Davis, but by the end of the film he is seriously shortchanged. Brad needed one last scene to round out his character’s story arc.

The Bottom Line:

Spider-Man: Far From Home was a lot of fun and may actually be my favorite movie of 2019 so far. It’s well worth seeing on the big screen over the holiday weekend and may be worth seeing as part of a double feature with the re-release of Avengers: Endgame.

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