Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Much like the web head himself, Spider-Man: Far From Home is a fluffy concoction of cheekiness, awkward teen humour and dizzying action all delivered with a full heart. Following on from the reality shredding and monumental events of Endgame, Far From Home is a welcome breather, a way to bring the MCU back down to earth (kinda) and to focus on more grounding stakes.

After losing his mentor / father figure in Endgame, young Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has the world on his shoulders. Society is still coming to terms with the un-snappening, or “The Blip” as it’s referred to here, and, much like those displaced by being brought back to reality, Parker is trying to find his place in all of it. On the one hand part of him wants to put the superhero life behind him and focus on being a teenager again, attempting to get the attention of his long time crush, MJ (Zendaya). On the other hand, he’s reckoning with living in Tony Stark’s shadow, especially when the Avengers are seemingly no more. Once someone to look up to, Parker now finds himself trying to outrun the legacy of Ironman, especially considering the world (or at least New York) is now looking at him as Earth’s protector. Travelling to Europe on a science trip with his conveniently un-snapped classmates, Pete’s drawn back into Avenging once more when otherworldly beings dubbed the Elementals show up and begin to wreak havoc. Finding a new ally in the multidimensional traveller, Quentin Beck aka Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), Parker needs to decide whether he’s going to be the next Ironman or the first Spider-Man all the while trying to snag the affection of his crush along the way.

As much as I adored EndgameFar From Home is a welcome reprieve from the ceiling kissing stakes of the previous film. While returning director Jon Watts and writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers do conjure up Avengers level threats by way of the Elementals, they almost take a back seat to the internal conflict Peter is experiencing and it gives the film a far more grounding and human feel. It continues the trend of making Spidey one of the more relatable characters of the MCU (or Marvel overall). The idea of trying to tell your crush exactly how you feel about them, without knowing whether the feeling is mutual is something that is painfully relatable for many of us. As the web slinger, Holland continues to deliver the goods, teetering between a dorky smart-arse who revels in the adrenaline of being a hero, while dealing with the immense self doubt of being a next generation Avenger. He’s a kid who just wants to do right by everyone while allowing himself the little bit of happiness he believes he deserves. The heart warming awkward chemistry between himself and Zendaya’s MJ continues to confirm, at least for me, that this direction of the character is a stroke of genius and gives her a far more interesting dimension.

As Parker searches for guidance in a world where his mentor is no more, Gyllenhaal’s Beck steps up to the plate as the other worldly soldier whose claims of being from another dimension is enough to put stars in our young hero’s eyes. Gyllenhaal is having a blast playing the hero, giving himself a near Superman level charm to his character and relishing in being the big brother to the little spider. In another world, he’d make for a wonderfully charismatic Uncle Ben.

As with all Marvel films there are two post credit scenes, but unlike previous iterations these seek to further develop and drastically change the MCU irrevocably albeit in a rather cheeky fashion. The mid credit sequence is a doozy for long time Spidey fans and don’t be surprised if your cinema erupts in applause (best stay off the IMDb casting list for this movie as well).

While not exactly a GotG level mould breaker, Far From Home is still top shelf Marvel, providing ample amounts of joy, laughs and grounded emotion in a universe where the laws of physics and quantum mechanics need not apply. It’s pure escapism that doesn’t skip out on heart filling moments and proves that Tom Holland may be one of the best casting decisions next to Robert Downey Jr’s genius billionaire playboy philanthropist.

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