Coming hot on the heels of Avengers: Endgame (2019), Spider-Man: Far From Home smartly does not try and emulate the large scale spectacle of that film, being a much smaller scale affair. Well as small scale as a Marvel movie can be, with the film being packed with the energetic action set pieces that have become synonymous with the Marvel universe.
Set 8 months after the events of Endgame, and a clearly distraught Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is seriously rethinking his career as Spider-Man. Parker plans to put aside the super heroics for the time being, going on a two week field trip to Europe. His plan is to use this trip as a chance to tell classmate MJ (Zendaya) how he truly feels.
Before he leaves, he is told by Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) will soon be in contact, but Peter ends up ignoring his call. While in Venice, Peter and his schoolmates are attacked by a Water Elemental. With the large creature destroying the city, they are saved by the mysterious Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal).
Afterwards, Peter meets with Fury and Beck, who tells him that he is from an alternative dimension where the Elementals killed his entire family. Peter is initially reluctant to join up and help, but after some behind the scenes meddling where Fury makes sure Peter’s trip heads towards where the next Elemental is known to strike, Parker ends up joining up with Beck to take down the rest of the Elementals.
Of course, anyone with any knowledge of who Quentin Beck is in the comics will know that there is more to the plot than this, but this would only be spoiling it for those who do not.
Returning director Jon Watts once again gives us a refreshingly fun superhero movie that does not take itself overly serious like some of the other films in the MCU. It is much more in line with the likes of Ant-Man (2015) than Captain America: Civil War (2016). Perhaps not as funny as the first film, there is still a great deal of humour involved with Watts making no secret of the massive influence John Hughes has over this iteration of Spider-Man.
Watt’s additionally takes full advantage of the European locations, making this standout from every other Spider-Man film made so far. The action scenes are as expected, terrific. Watts perfectly shows the acrobatic athleticism of Spider-Man with his confrontation of the Fire Elemental and another battle around London’s Tower Bridge being major highlights.
Watts does not over-do it with the action, with him spending as much time on the character’s relationships as the super heroics, with the brewing romance between Peter and MJ being one of the films primary focuses
Out of the number of actors who have portrayed Peter Parker through the years, Tom Holland is probably the most satisfying. He is the first actor to play the character that has properly conveyed his teenage years and is more in line with how the character appears in the comics.
Zendaya gets a lot more to do this time round. Her version of MJ is quite the departure from the comics, but no less successful. Her scenes alongside Holland are some of the best of the film, with her delivering some wonderful dialogue in the characters appropriately deadpan way.
Jake Gyllenhaal is the main new addition to the cast, and has great fun as Beck. Playing up the hero aspects of the character, viewers will know as the film progresses that there is more to the character than meets the eye. Gyllenhaal brings a lot of humour to the part and at first seems to fill the void of the missing Tony Stark that Peter is struggling to get over
This is not the first time that Gyllenhaal has been associated with the Spider-Man franchise. He was almost cast as the character years ago when it looked as if Tobey Maguire would not be able to continue as the character in Spider-Man 2 (2004).
The remaining supporting cast also get their chance to shine, albeit to a lesser extent. Marisa Tomei is certainly the sexiest Aunt May we have had and the filmmakers do not let this fact go to waste. Jacob Batalon is once again on comic relief duty as Peter’s loyal friend Ned and Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan gets much more screen time than expected, which are both plus points. Marvel mainstays Samuel L Jackson and Cobie Smulders are additionally welcome, even in their limited capacity.
Another winning factor is the suitably light hearted score by Michael Giacchino, which accompanies the on screen action perfectly. There is also an amusing use of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” during the opening credits, which gives the audience an idea of what kind of film they are in for.
Bringing Phase 3 of the Marvel Universe to a close, it will be interesting to see where the franchise goes from here. No doubt, Spider-Man will play a part in this, but at this point it is unclear in what capacity.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is almost one of the best Spider-Man films to date, only bettered with last year’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018). Fans of the character will certainly not be disappointed, with the only drawback being wanting to see more adventures from the costumed web slinger.
Written by Guest Reviewer: Darren Murray (Facebook Profile)