Look, I’ll admit right at the top that I don’t need an MCU superhero-movie fix every couple of months, especially considering how satisfying I found the last one, Avengers: Endgame, and that was only released in late April. I’ll also confess that as much as I enjoyed Spider-Man: Homecoming, and as much I flat-out loved Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, I'm not sure how many Spider-Man flicks and changes of actors playing him we need until we’re just, you know, done?
And the movie never lets us forget that Thanos has obliterated half of all humanity and that, post-blip, Peter is in deep mourning for a certain blazingly charismatic buddy-mentor-father figure who didn’t survive Avengers: Endgame. Plus, we’re told from the jump that the World Is Not Right, especially when residents of Ixtenco, Mexico, report how a "cyclone with a face" has decimated their entire town and that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) needs Peter to swing back in action; Peter tries to avoid him by ignoring his phone messages.
Now, sure, this whole section of the movie is strictly teen-com, coming-of-age stuff, but it’s done with such flair, lightheartedness and sideways, snarky laughs that it just wins you over. The letdown occurs when the superhero stuff begins to kick in. As the high schoolers explore Venice, Italy, we learn that Tony Stark has bequeathed Peter his tinted specs that put Peter in touch with a formidable, super-powerful “Edith”—think Siri, only one that can dispatch drones and gives its wearer direct access to a zillion-dollar intelligence and weaponry system.
It’s Tom Holland who most makes Far From Home the definition of fun, good-hearted summer-movie escapism.
These scenes seem so disconnected from the rest of the movie that you sit there waiting for the clock to run out. Or I did, at least. Fortunately, the chaos introduces us to another superhero warrior battling the Elementals—Quentin Beck, dubbed “Mysterio,” a greenish, fishbowl helmet-wearing magician dressed as a superhero and played by Jake Gyllenhaal with infectious glee and more than a whiff of mystery. Faster than you can say “father surrogate,” he and Peter band together to save Prague. And no, Mysterio can’t hold a candle to Iron Man, but he makes a fun sparring partner for Peter Parker. Spider-Man: Far From Home is filled with twists, reverses and whizbang gimmicks, but it’s Holland who most makes it the definition of fun, good-hearted summer-movie escapism.
Spider-Man: Far From Home
- Tom Holland helps the joyful film stand out amid the superhero glut
- 'Far From Home' is not free of the genre's somewhat-predictable tropes