By Nick Maylor
Coming off the heels of Avengers: Endgame (2019), Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) serves as both a solid standalone entry for everybody’s favourite web-slinger; as well as letting fans know that even though the Infinity Saga has come to an end, the Marvel Cinematic Universe still has a bright future and stories to tell.
Having been resurrected five years later from the events of Thanos’ snap (referred to as the “blip”), Peter Parker (Tom Holland), along with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Aunt May (Marissa Tomei), Ned (Jacob Batalon), MJ (Zendaya) and several others are trying to get back to normal lives.
Peter and several of his classmates who were also gone during the blip are reunited at school as they prepare for a field trip to Europe. While in Venice, a large, humanoid water monster attacks the city. As Peter (minus his suit) tries to contain the chaos, a mysterious hero (Jake Gyllenhaal) arrives to stop the creature using what appear to be magic powers.
Nick Fury and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) introduce Peter to the new hero named Quentin Beck. Beck claims to be from an alternate parallel universe whose Earth was destroyed by creatures called the “Elementals”, utilizing earth, air, water and most dangerously, fire. Beck informs Peter that the same creatures are now trying to attack our world and the fire Elemental is going to attack next.
Outfitted with a new stealth suit, Peter and Beck (with Fury’s help) prepare to face the fire creature in Prague. After a harrowing battle that sees the creature defeated by Beck (labeled Mysterio by Peter’s classmates) and Spider-Man, Peter believes that Mysterio is the hero Earth needs following the death of Tony Stark.
One of the great things director John Watts and Marvel did with Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) was to focus on the high-school element of Peter Parker’s character. Much like that film, this one deals with the everyday struggles of a modern teenager, as any good Spider-Man story should. Peter chooses not to bring any of his super-suits to Europe, truly wanting to have his (richly earned) vacation. Peter longs to experience the joys of adolescence and tell the girl he likes how he feels about her. However, as John Lennon once said: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Threats emerge and Peter has to step up. This is a huge part of the boy’s internal conflict. He’s dealing with guilt over losing Tony Stark. Heavy lies the crown for people like Peter, of whom much is expected. Tony willingly “passed the torch” (in this film, a very expensive set of glasses) to Peter and the kid knows what is demanded of him. He truly shows the signs of someone who was once taught about how great power comes with great responsibility.
The cast is all on point, with a delightful turn from Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio. Jacob Batalon is as charming as expected and everyone plays their part in top form. As per usual, the action pieces are stunning and the film has plenty of humour.
Jon Favreau, director of the MCU’s first film Iron Man (2008) continues his role as Happy Hogan, who now keeps an eye on Peter and is getting close to Aunt May. Favreau’s role is great and it is wonderful to see him continue to be a part of the universe he so importantly helped shape 11 years ago.
Tom Holland continues to demonstrate that he is the best cinematic version of this character, perfectly playing both Peter Parker and his masked alter-ego.
The movie makes it clear that Marvel isn’t running out of ideas just yet and that they still have plenty of stories to tell. Iron Man’s journey may be over, but the legacy he began lives on and superhero fatigue clearly hasn’t quite settled in yet with audiences.
Although it cannot surpass the monumental achievement that was Avengers: Endgame it stands on its own as an exciting and worthy installment of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as an apt and satisfying Spider-Man film.
Remember: Things aren’t always as they seem.
Stick around for the Shawarma.
Nick is an actor/writer/comedian/musician from Hamilton, ON Canada. Having been a film nut since the early days of his life, Nick has had an obsession with cinema and popular entertainment. Nick has written for thecinemaholic.com and is the current Foote & Friends “expert” on all things geek/superhero/comic-book related. Nick is the host/producer of the official Foote & Friends On Film podcast. Nick met John when studying acting at the Toronto Film School, for which John H. Foote was director and Film History professor. The two have been arguing ever since.
Follow Nick on Twitter @NickMaylor