Spider-Man: Far from Home is the second Spider-Man movie in the long running Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as the final entry in the MCU’s Phase 3 lineup. This film sees Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) as he goes on a summer vacation across Europe with his class, only to get swept into a global conflict between a man from another dimension named Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), dubbed “Mysterio” by Peter’s friends, and monstrous creatures known as the Elementals. Now I was not a big fan of Spider-Man: Homecoming, the first Spider-Man solo entry in the MCU, so I was not expecting to love Far from Home either. Thankfully, the latest Spider-Man impressed me more than I thought it would.
One of my main issues with Homecoming was that it didn’t feel director-driven enough, and Far from Home is definitely a step up in terms of filmmaking. Jon Watts returns for another MCU outing for the wall-crawler and, in the vein of this character, has grown as a director for a multimillion-dollar blockbuster. His presentation of action sequences had more of a visual flair this time around, especially for certain fights in the third act. His framing for non-action scenes sadly remains somewhat basic, despite a few moments of innovation here and there. Michael Giacchino also returns to compose musical score for Far from Home and once again delivers the same energy felt in Homecoming. It’s not his best work, but that “Far From Home Suite Home” is still a blast to listen to.
Obviously, I can’t discuss characters in a Spider-Man movie without first mentioning Spider-Man himself. Tom Holland continues to nail his interpretation of the web head. His Peter Parker is younger than those of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, so he feels more relatable to younger audiences much like his comic book counterpart. Watching him grow from Tony Stark’s pupil to his own hero was more fascinating this time around, probably because of the humanity Holland brought to his performance.
The other characters in Far from Home are mostly engaging as well. A large chunk of this movie focuses on how Peter has a crush on his classmate MJ, which gives Zendaya more to do this time around. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Colbie Smulders) appear in the film as the S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives forced to tackle the Elementals conflict. Jackson as usual brings his A-game as the S.H.I.E.L.D. director who remains unsure if Parker is fit for this assignment. The biggest standout, however, is Jake Gyllenhaal as the classic Spider-Man character Mysterio. I don’t want to say too much about his role in the film, but it’s interesting to say the least and Gyllenhaal absolutely nails it. Unfortunately, I did have problems with some characters such as Peter’s best friend Ned Leeds (Jacob Balaton) who I wasn’t quite as funny as in Homecoming.
Far from Home brings back Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, two of Homecoming’s six screenwriters, to write its script, which explains why it feels more focused this time around. The movie does a better job balancing out the high school drama and superhero antics since it isn’t juggling as many subplots, and most of the characters now feel familiar to anyone who already saw Homecoming. It also moves at a faster pace than its predecessor, so I never felt bored at all throughout the 129-minute runtime.
Most of the humor worked for me, although there are some jokes that just did not land. One of my bigger issues with the screenplay is that Peter’s inner-turmoil about being Spider-Man never hit me as hard compared to Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2, but that could simply be nostalgia talking. I was also unsure about how Far from Home handled the aftermath of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, but that too could change on repeat viewings. Thankfully, the MCU connections are not as forced this time around and some of them are actually quite mind-blowing.
Verdict: 3.5 out of 5
Spider-Man: Far from Home is not my favorite MCU movie or even my favorite Spider-Man movie, but it was surprisingly better than its predecessor. Exciting action scenes and fun character interactions make this movie a must-see for MCU fans and anyone in the mood for an entertaining blockbuster this Fourth of July weekend. As a warning, the film includes both a mid-credits and post-credits scene that absolutely need to be watched.