SPIDER-MAN FAR FROM HOME is the great, fantastic, fun refreshing breather of a Phase 3 epilogue we needed after that really long emotional climax that was Endgame. We are now also 6 for 8 on pretty decent Spider-Man films, 5 of them even being great. This movie was basically a super hero road trip rom-com, and it worked every step of the way. The film does have just a couple of pacing issues at the beginning, but once you hit the mid way point (and you will definitely know when the mid way point hits), it all leads to a fantastic conclusion, one of the most memorable of all the Spider-Man films. Tom Holland is easily the best Peter Parker AND Spider-Man and I hope he keeps the role for years and years to come. I mean, he looks like one of those baby faces like Leo that won’t really show it until he’s in his 40s, am I right? By the way, the minor spoiler paragraph on Mysterio that I mentioned in the title, I will warn you so you can skip that paragraph to be completely spoiler free.
And if you scroll down and look at all my Spider-Man rankings, you might be surprised to see that Spider-Man 2 still ranks at the very top of my list, even though I just said that Tom Holland is the best Spider-Man. He very much is, but Spider-Man 2 is the best and spider-ery(?) Spider-Man film. See, until Tom Holland came along, none of the Spider-Man iterations really got ALL of Spider-Man right. Tobey Maguire I thought was a great Peter Parker, but a very mediocre Spider-Man when the mask was on. Flip that for Andrew Garfield, while he was a great Spider-Man, he wasn’t really that great of a Peter Parker. Tom Holland has both perfectly. He portray’s Peter Parker’s persona and innocence down to a science, and his quips behind the mask are laughter belly ache inducing. I knew it from the moment he showed up in Civil War that his Spider-Man was going to be one for the ages. I just hope that in his third solo outing, they don’t try a pull a Raimi 3.
Because that is what I respect the most out of these new MCU Spider-Man films. Is that they are trying to do something different. We don’t see Peter’s origin story here, MJ is not Mary Jane but an entirely new interesting character who just happens to be named Michelle Johnson. We haven’t had any repeat villains from the old films yet, we are getting brand new ones with more depth than any of Raimi or Webb villains, each having their own little arcs that make the story more well rounded. And a lot of the setting are pretty different. Even though Spider-Man is from Queens/New York, most of the first film takes place more around it than actually in it, not to mention the in the air plane finale. This film takes place is multiple other side of the world locations, hence the Far From Home title. I would like to see a third film where the plot actually stays between the sky scrapers of New York, as seeing him swinging through the buildings were part of the Sam Raimi films’ charm. (you do get to see a very small amount of skyscraper slinging though in this, just not enough for my taste).
Uh, should I even talk about story? It’s kind of hard to seeing as though I have to mention spoilers from Endgame, but you know what? Fuck you if you haven’t seen Endgame and are reading this review. You’ve had plenty of time to see it. Sorry, but in this day and age, it is either release date way or the highway. Anyway, this takes place a very small amount of time after Endgame and Tony Stark’s funeral. Everyone is dealing with the aftermath of everyone on Earth just instantly showing back up again 5 years after they were snapped (although this film has a new term for it, ‘blipped’) out of existence. Those that were part of the blip, even though it is five years later, are still the same age. The filmmakers explain adjusting to the cataclysmic re appearance quite fast, with both sorrow and humor. Just like the beginning of Homecoming, which kind of retold the events of Civil War through Spidey’s eyes/homemade video, we get kind of a recap/update with another video that is both touching and at the same time provides a few laughs.
Anyway, still dealing with losing Tony Stark, he and his classmates go on a school summer vacation through Europe, when Nick Fury hijacks it. Turns out, there are several dangerous Elemental threats to the Earth, with a mysterious new hero named…well, Mysterio (Quentin Beck, played by Jake Gyllenhaul), and they need Spidey to step up and help since a lot of the other Avengers are currently unavailable. Mysterio reveals that he and the big destructive Elementals are from a different dimension, and that there is a multi-verse now because of Hulk’s snap bringing everyone back in Endgame. Peter Parker not only has to deal with this, but he wants to tell MJ that he really likes her and wants to date her on this trip, while also grasping with the fact that the world is kind of looking up to him to possibly be the new leader (new Iron Man per say) of the Avengers.
Far From Home is light, entertaining, and filled with a lot of great humor, so if you are going into this expecting another epic drama like Infinity War or Endgame, you’ve definitely come to the wrong show. This is the dessert after having time to digest all the shit you ate during Endgame, and it’s exactly how it is supposed (and needs) to be. Tom Holland is of course the perfect Spider-Man, Jon Favereau gets the most screen time he’s ever gotten in an MCU film, and Zendaya has a lot more to do as MJ this time around, and her and Tom Holland have fantastic on screen chemistry. Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders reprise Nick Fury and Maria Hill as well, but if you think something might be off about their performances, just wait until the entire thing is finished before you start going off on how they don’t seem like their characters. Now, coming up really quick is the quick spoiler paragraph on Mysterio, because I want to talk about Jake Gyllenhaul’s excellent performance.:
It seems kind of odd to me that the movie relies on most of its audience not knowing who Mysterio is in the Spider-Man world. Everyone that even half way decently knows Spider-Man and his comic book world should know that Mysterio is one of Spider-Man’s greatest foes. So the marketing to me, trying to portray him as a hero, didn’t elicit too much excitement, because I knew what was probably going on months before release day. So reveal of him being the main bad guy in the film is meant to be a shocking and huge revelation, but since I knew it was coming, you would think the reveal would invoke some boredom out of me, right? Far from it. And it is because of Jake Gyllenhaul’s performance. Before the reveal that not everything is as it seems, his performance was teetering on “phoning it in” for me, but once everything comes to light, it turns out that decision was more of a blessing in disguise. One it is revealed that Mysterio is the main villain, Jake Gyllenhaul goes full Jake Gyllenhaul, and delivers one of the best villain performances in the MCU outside of Thanos, Killmonger, Loki, and Vulture. He absolutely crushed it.
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Wow, this review has gone on long enough, so let me wrap it up. Aside from a couple of 1st act pacing issues, and the action not being all that memorable (along with the musical score) except for the climax, Far From Home is another home run for not just the MCU, but the Spider-Man films in general. And for most of the action scenes not being that memorable, I don’t blame director Jon Watts, because he proved with the first film he knows how to develop and stage an action scene, might’ve just been script or location issues. But all of that is forgiven because the rest of the film is excellent and hugely entertaining. I definitely laughed every other minute, it was a very funny film. Oh and uh….STAY THRU ALL OF THE CREDITS. Both of Far From Home’s after credits scenes are extremely important, probably the most important after credit scenes we have gotten from the MCU in quite a long time. The mid credit scene, good God I wish I could just spoil and talk about it. But for long time Spider-Man fans, the mid credit scenes will make prematurely shoot a bunch of webs out of your web shooter. It is THAT GREAT.
My Ranking of all the Spider-Man films (you will disagree, to each his own):
- Spider-Man 2
- Spider-Man Homecoming
- Spider-Man Into The Spider-Verse
- Spider-Man Far From Home
- Amazing Spider-Man
- Spider-Man 3
- Amazing Spider-Man 2