It’s an odd time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For the first time in what seems like years, there isn’t a multitude of films lined up for the foreseeable future, at least not known to us. With the big Thanos story that the films had been building towards for years wrapped up in Endgame, we’re in flux with where the universe is headed next. Thankfully, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is here to sling a web between the Infinity Saga and what lies next in the MCU.
Along the way and with some help from friends, Spider-Man will destroy countless European artifacts while also bringing an old character into the age of disinformation nearly flawlessly. Oh, also there’s more Marisa Tomei as Aunt May so you know you can just skip the review and go.
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Director: Jon Watts
Release Date: July 2, 2019
Wanting to just have some time off and not think about hero stuff for a bit, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is joining his classmates on a trip through Europe that has some connection to science, even if the movie doesn’t make it clear why. Taking place eight months post-Endgame, Peter and the world are still reeling from the death of Tony Stark. (If that is a spoiler to you, then you have no one to blame but yourself.) Prior to the trip, Peter is being hounded by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) in an attempt to pull him into what’s left of the Avengers.
Right from the start, we are given a tribute to those who died reversing what Thanos (correctly) did. As well as some reverence to the fallen, we’re also given some rules as to what happened with the Hulk snap, now collectively known as the blip. Rules are laid out and used to great comedic effect not just in the opening segments but also throughout the movie.
As soon as Peter steps foot in Venice, a sentient body of water begins attacking the city, thankfully a man in a green suit is there to save the day. Named by the Italian news media as “Uomo di Misterio,” we have the first of what will be many updates to the classic character of Mysterio. I must confess that I’m a bit of a Jake Gyllenhaal fanboy and have really loved the darker characters he has been playing as of late, it was equally exciting for me to see him portray what is one of my favorite Spider-Man side characters. Mysterio aka Quentin Beck is from another Earth, specifically Earth-833, an Earth that was destroyed by the same forces that are now attacking Earth-616. Wanting to right the wrong that plagues him from his previous world, he wants to help save this world with Nick Fury and the Avengers.
The defining point of Far from Home is to wrap up the Infinity Saga that started 12 years ago and begin looking towards the future. In the same way that Homecoming felt like it leaned a little too much on the relationship between Parker and Stark, this one manages to pull in that relationship even if one of them is dead. I do hope that eventually Parker is allowed to operate on his own without other superheroes but for the time being, I understand that it fits because of his age and the need to shove as many characters into this story.
As well as continuing to lean on the relationship between Parker and Stark that was present in Homecoming, Far from Home mixes in a standard high school story with a superhero character. Throughout the entire movie, Peter is being forced to choose whether he wants to save the world, or tell MJ (Zendaya) how he feels about her. There’s a bit of The Graduate in here where it feels like Peter is being forced into a life he doesn’t want by adults who know better but the difference here is that Peter has superpowers and didn’t bang his mom’s friend.
Unfortunately, because of the school trip storyline, the pacing can feel very fast, with the scenery changing up at breakneck speed. With how many famous European shoot locations were used in this movie, I was surprised that the budget was only 160 million. Helps that you can pay a bunch of kids comparative pennies I guess. I only wish there was some downtime in the script to allow for a scene that is even comparable to the now famous car ride to prom scene in Homecoming.
There’s a lot I can’t talk about because of a spoilery twist in the movie that flips it on its head, so for the next two paragraphs there will be spoilers.
(Spoilers start here)
Alright so who even believed Mysterio? I wasn’t fooled for one second by what he was saying, so for a while that made me feel like the movie was dragging its feet. But when it kicked in, the way they updated the special effects wizard into a master of tech and disinformation was one of the best modern adaptations I’ve seen since the Dark Knight trilogy. When he is using his powers of deception against Spider-Man it was exactly how I’ve always envisioned the character playing out on screen.
At one point after Mysterio was revealed to be fooling everyone, my significant other leaned over to me and said she didn’t know what to believe. They never overdid the use of deception but pushed it right to its limit where for a while in the movie we were questioning everything. Mysterio’s desire to show his truth also fits a little too well in this post-truth era we find ourselves in today. By pulling some of the least expected cameos from the MCU past, even Mysterio’s gang is a bit of a look back at the past before leaping into the future.
At the end of it all, you have another superhero movie that somehow manages to shove a bunch of characters into the story and work. It exists mostly as a torch passing from the old to the young in the MCU, but along the way, you will have a lot of fun. Make sure to stay through the credits as post-credits scene make a return and they hit with a hard punch that has me super excited for what lies next in the Spider-Man saga.