★★★★½ | Zach Hester
There is no superhero better than Spider-Man, do not @ me. With that out of the way, we can go ahead and establish that I’m slightly biased toward loving another Spidey-related.
Spider-Man: Far From Home picks up eight months after “The Blip,” the event that caused half of life in the universe to cease to exist during the events of Avengers: Infinity War. In the wake of those events, the world is searching for a new “Iron Man” after Tony Stark *SPOILER ALERT TURN BACK NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ENDGAME* died saving everyone and bringing them back from the void after Thanos’ snap. Far From Home sees Peter Parker recruited by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and the charismatic Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) to fight against Elementals, who are rampaging across Europe during Parker’s summer school trip across the continent.
This film is exactly what I needed after just turning the corner into the second half of the year. It’s the perfect summer adventure movie with that special dose of thrill that can only be found in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The visual effects in this film are beyond belief. Most of the time when large CGI fights come on-screen you can zone out, but here, focus is required to stay on point during Mysterio’s many illusions. Gyllenhaal portrays him very well, even as the character takes a turn about halfway through the film. Mysterio has always been an interesting villain to me in Spidey’s large catalog, so it’s great to see him on the big screen, at last.
Over the course of the film, the real story established is the struggle is inside Peter Parker himself. He fights between wanting to just be a regular high school that moonlights as the “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man” and being a fully fledged Avenger. With the struggle of losing his mentor, it’s easy to understand Parker’s conflict with wanting to lead the new team of Avengers that we will see across the upcoming films.
Speaking of losing his mentor, Tony Stark’s (Iron Man) presence looms large over the film. The movie is about the adventures of a kid gallivanting across Europe while also being a superhero, but it’s more about the grief of losing the only male parental figure he’s ever known.
Tom Holland is still the perfect Spider-Man and Peter Parker. He plays this fight between innocence and confidence exceptionally as his character is pressured to fall into this new role that Fury has for him. I was hesitant back when Holland was announced, but after the Avengers films and these two solo movies, I know that Marvel finally got Spider-Man right.
While Spider-Man: Far From Home may continue the tradition of having more than a handful of hammy dialogue, this action-packed adventure across Europe is more than worth the ticket price. It’s a great finish for Phase Three of the MCU (even though, we all know it should’ve been the official start of Phase Four) and the world-building it does cements Tom Holland’s Spider-Man as more than a “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man,” it sets him up to take Tony Stark’s mantle as the next frontman for the Avengers.