Author: Tyler Grant
Spider-man: Far From Home takes a perfect hand-off from phase one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This retelling of the Spider-man story continues to be impressive both in its character development and quality of storytelling. Marvel has nearly perfected their superhero movie formula, with dashes of humor and cleverness masterfully connected to the broader storyline.
Reeling from the death of Iron Man, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) attempts to dive back into the extraterrestrial world of high school life by taking a class field trip to Europe.
Meanwhile, the universe is still recovering from Iron Man undoing Thanos’ dusting of half of all living things. This sudden return of everyone that vanished, what they call the “Blip,” has left a schism in the universe that Nick Fury tells Spider-man has opened a gateway for alternative universes and new characters such as Quinten Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal). Beck, nicknamed Mysterio by Spider-man, claims to have come to this iteration of Earth through the “Blip” and is fighting monsters called the “elementals,” Earth, water, wind, and fire, but more destructive.
There’s some fighting, lots of light beam shooting, and plenty of Spider-man swinging around and shooting steel cable-grade webs at stuff. But what is most compelling and interesting is Spider-man’s relationship with Iron Man. Without a doubt one of the most heart-wrenching moments in the entire series is in Avengers: Infinity Wars when Spider-man gets dusted and Tony Stark breaks down, and later in Endgame when Spider-man says goodbye to Iron Man.
To an extent, we have the inverse of what we are used to in the Spider-man story. In the past, Spider-man opens with an origin story — orphaned after parents leave for various top-secret missions, getting bit by a radioactive spider, being indirectly responsible for Uncle Ben’s death, and finding heroism after hoping to reclaim some vestige of his upbringing from his uncle and parents.
We have gotten little to none of that traditional origin story in this new adaptation of Spider-man. Instead, we get a Spider-man thrust into being an Avenger by Iron Man who then guides him and facilitates his rise with gear and gadgets and some “cool dad” parenting. Yet, now, in Spider-man: Far From Home, we see a Spider-man that is arcing toward an image of Spider-man we are used to: a Spider-man seeking to discover his worth with the loss of a father figure. It’s an idea that is perhaps more transcendent than any message from the other Marvel films as Spider-man, an unsure and timid hero, attempts to grow, mature, and develop.
As a film, Marvel delivers the kind of well-shot, crisp movie that we have grown accustomed to seeing on the big screen. A few beats with Jake Gyllenhaal don’t work for me. The audience probably could have gone for a bit more show, don’t tell in lieu of a weird monologue dubbed-over flashbacks to the original Iron Man trilogy. I also found MJ’s (Zendaya) performance to be a little stiff, which I believe might be because of how standoffish and curt she plays the character in Homecoming that she felt might require her to return to that mold despite exhibiting significant growth as an actress since then. These are minor critiques on a film that is well worth seeing.
Find time to see this movie. Spiderman: Far From Home will swing you through Europe on a deeply fun ride.