A ‘Stark’ Reminder: Review of 'Spider-Man: Far From Home'
Given the very special friendship between Peter Parker and mentor Tony Stark; it’s only fitting that this Spider-Man: Far From Home becomes the coda for The Infinity Saga, providing closure of a sort, after Endgame. Marvel President Kevin Feige himself has referred to this film as the true last chapter of Phase 3 of the MCU.
Plot wise, it’s all about what happens post-Endgame, how the rest of the world copes with life after “The Blip” (when Thanos snapped his finger), and handling the correction that came when the Avengers fought and sacrificed to bring “normalcy” back. And central to this is Peter Parker/Spidey (Tom Holland) back in high school, and utilizing a summer school tour of Europe to cope with Tony Stark’s demise, reconnect to his regular life, and take steps to formalize his relationship with MJ (Zendaya).
As in previous Spider-Man installments, it’s that brilliant mix of teenage life, romance, hijinks and clumsiness, coupled with weightier issues, that makes this such a joy to watch. You add to this the action sequences and an impressive villain—and it’s Popcorn Nirvana.
In this film, the thorny character of Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) is introduced, and one doubts he’ll ever overstay his welcome, as Gyllenhaal imbues him with the right amount of megalomania, meanness, and the complicit look of “Come on, if you had thought of this first, it’d be you here, and not me!” He’s hammy, he’s almost ludicrous, but it’s done with swagger and enough false modesty for us to recognize how this Mysterio can be quite real—think politician or social media personality.
Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) reprise their MCU roles; but the one you’ll really enjoy to see back is Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau)—who was Spider-Man’s link to Iron Man, and here, expands his involvement in Peter’s life in ways unforeseen.
If there are two recurring characters who scene-steal their way through this film though; I would award the top prizes to Betty (Angourie Rice) and Peter's best friend, Ned (Fil-American Jacob Batalon). The two are a delight, and you’ll wish they had more scenes.
With Jon Watts directing this 23rd film of the MCU, there are moments when you wonder if tighter editing of this 129-minute film could have provided crisper story-telling—the Mysterio exposition and action scenes during the second half tend to be repetitive. But coming after Endgame, one is thankful for the relative restraint placed on the running time of this film.
The shadow of Iron Man being gone for good casts a long shadow over this film; so kudos to the director and the writers for knowing how to acknowledge this without losing the fun and joy that Spidey and his teenage life should still be about. As a result, the film is one timely “stark” reminder of why we loved the MCU from the very beginning.
Spider-Man: Far From Home will be in theaters nationwide on July 3.
Photos from Marvel