Spider-Man: Far From Home Review

In the shadow of “Avengers: Endgame,” can any Marvel superhero movie be “small” anymore? Or, for that matter, can any hero truly have his or her own standalone adventure? If “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is meant to serve as a window into the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then the answer is probably not. The movie serves as the greasy diner food meant to cure our “Endgame” hangover, a fulfilling next adventure in Marvel’s saga, but one that might leave Spider-man purists wondering when they’re going to get their friendly neighborhood hero back.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” took Peter Parker (Tom Holland) back to his high school roots, but positioned his character as longing for the big leagues of Avenger-dom. In “Far From Home,” it’s the opposite — perhaps from the fallout of “Homecoming,” or more likely from being dust-ified. All he wants to do is go on a summer high school trip with his friends and create a romantic moment to confess his feelings for MJ (Zendaya), but Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) strong-arm him into helping fight against monsters from another dimension that keep popping up across the globe. 

Marvel Studios, director Jon Watts and writers Chris McKenna and Eric Sommers don’t simply ignore the elephant in the web; the script acknowledges Spider-man is not traditionally a globetrotting superhero, he’s a kid from Queens. But the larger “Avengers”-driven MCU narrative is clearly too strong a force. Peter Parker’s ethos does not even slightly resemble the “fight crime in honor of Uncle Ben” narrative; instead, it’s tied to the specter of his mentor and friend Tony Stark and filling the shoes of Iron Man.

And other characters in the Spider-verse, namely Jake Gyllenhaal’s Quentin Berk/Mysterio, follow suit. The film honors the spirit of the Mysterio of the comics, but when we meet Berk, he’s already cozy with Fury and co., and his story has been cleverly retrofitted to the MCU. It’s clear that Marvel wanted these characters beholden to their multi-film narrative, despite how well the world of Spider-man has always held up on its own. Call it a conspiracy theory, but considering Marvel Studios is borrowing the character from Sony, it’s curious/interesting that they crafted a version of him in which his core is tied up in the existence of other Marvel movie characters and events.

All arguments about that creative choice aside, “Far From Home” executes Marvel’s vision with a satisfying, joyful energy. With the same stable of talent writing and directing, it is tonally extremely consistent with “Homecoming” and Holland continues to endear audiences to his exuberant take on Parker. When Marvel is actually ready to let Spidey sling on his own, and hopefully within the familiar confines of New York City, it shouldn’t disappoint new fans or purists.

4/5 Stars

Spider-Man: Far From Home
Directed by Jon Watts
Written by Chris McKenna & Eric Sommers
Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jacob Batalon, Samuel L. Jackson, Marisa Tomei


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