I have to say that I was fairly disappointed with Spider-Man: Homecoming when it came out. Sure, it was a good film, aided by strong performances from Tom Holland and Michael Keaton, but the film didn’t really have an emotional core for me to latch onto. Sure there was the relationship between Peter Parker and Tony Stark, but that didn’t connect with me in Homecoming the way I think it needed to. Even with this, there is still potential for the MCU to have a truly great Spider-Man film to rival Spider-Man 2 or Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, especially with Tom Holland, who is probably the best live action version of the character. However, even though I found this a more engaging experience than Homecoming, there is still something missing here to keep it from being a truly great film.
Now before I go into the plot, I will say that, as much as I will try to avoid spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, I can’t guarantee that there aren’t any, so consider this a spoiler warning. The film takes place several months after the events of Endgame with Peter Parker, who has now become more of a celebrity as Spider-Man, taking a break from being Spider-Man whilst he goes on holiday with his school across Europe, with Parker wanting to use the holiday to get closer to MJ. However, whilst in Venice, Parker is contacted by Nick Fury who recruits Parker to fight the Elementals alongside Mysterio, someone claiming to be from an alternate Earth which the Elementals already destroyed, although Mysterio may not be all that he claims to be. Now there is more of an emotional core in this film due to the fallout from Endgame. The way that Parker has reacted to the events of Endgame and what happened to Tony Stark is a stronger emotional core to the film and adds to the theme of legacy in the film. Going forward, there is the idea that Spider-Man will take the place of Iron Man in the MCU and that helps to inform the character, giving him more of a defined arc. I don’t want to say much more but I felt the arc of Parker feeling the responsibility he has more profoundly here than in Homecoming. Apart from that though, I felt more could have been done, especially with Mysterio. There are interesting ideas with Mysterio but I don’t think they were explored to the level they could have been, and I felt there should have been more one to one scenes between Parker and Mysterio to help build the relationship between the characters. The scenes they do have are good, but some story elements feel a little bit rushed as there weren’t more scenes between the two. I also feel the darker elements of the story don’t quite mesh with the teen comedy elements when Parker is not being Spider-Man, although those scenes do have a good heart to them.
The performances are solid across the board. Tom Holland has firmly established himself as Spider-Man, having the right level of awkwardness as Peter Parker and having a good sense of humour as Spider-Man, with Holland doing a good job at showing the burden that he feels and a lingering sense of guilt following the events of Endgame. Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio is a lot of fun, having good chemistry with Holland and there were some moments where there were similarities between his performance here and his one in Nightcrawler. Zendaya as MJ meanwhile is also a lot of fun, having this great dry sarcasm and having excellent chemistry with Holland which helps to sell the relationship between the two. Jacob Batalon and Angourie Rice are a lot of fun in the film, having good chemistry and bringing some of the biggest laughs in the film. Samuel L Jackson and Cobie Smulders have some good moments, but I don’t want to spoil them, and there are some good moments of humour and heart brought in by Jon Favreau and Marisa Tomei.
On a technical level, the film is impressive. Jon Watts has a better handle on the action scenes here than he did in Homecoming, creating some more exciting and dynamic moments that take more advantage of Spider-Man’s powers. The scenes with Mysterio though are the technical highlights. I don’t want to spoil all of them but there are some creative ways to show what Mysterio can do which are thematically appropriate and more surrealistic than other MCU films.
Overall, Spider-Man: Far From Home is a good piece of fun, but I did want something more from it. It could be that it’s the first MCU film after Endgame or that it’s the first Spider-Man film after Into the Spider-Verse, but I did feel like more could have been done with the characters. Again, this is fun and when it explores Peter’s reaction to the events of Endgame and the relationship between him and Mysterio and him and MJ the film works really well, but I wanted a bit more.
My Rating: 3.5/5