The next film after Endgame was always going to have a mountain to climb wasn’t it?
I can’t help being reminded of last years release of Ant-Man and the Wasp, having the enormous job of both having to follow Infinity War, and being largely inconsequential to the franchise at large, apart from slotting in the reason why Ant-Man wasn’t in Infinity War.
I feel like the task is somewhat larger for Spider-Man however, Endgame was somehow more amorphous than Infinity War was, and seemed like a perfect time to close the Third Phase of the MCU, instead this film is the closing chapter of that Phase, seems strange at first glance, but starts to make sense as the film unfolds.
This film also has the distinction of being the first live-action appearance of classic Spider-Man villain Mysterio, portrayed here by Jake Hyllenhaal, fans have long wondered what a film version of the character would be like, and now we know, so let’s take a look at the new Spider-Man.
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is taking a well-deserved vacation with his school friends. Unfortunately, fate, and Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), have other plans and his vacation soon turns into a fight against the very elements of the Earth.
I thought going in that this might be more like Ant-Man than it seemed at first glance. In that it had to follow the large event film, and was just filler to occupy space until the next big release, but it turns out I was wrong.
Far From Home is surprisingly layered for a film in its position, it would have been easy to make a by-the-numbers superhero film as a palate-cleanser between Phases, instead this is a fairly substantial entry in the series as a whole, more so as the intrigue of the main narrative unfolds.
It is a film that is trying to spin many plates at once, some more successfully than others, admittedly, there’s the MJ aspect of the plot, wherein Peter devises an overly-complicated plan to tell her about his feelings, and this is drawn-out and predictable, however, it is carried well by all parties involved, Tom Holland was his usual excellent self, and I find that the more I see of Zendaya, the more I like her. Her character in this is very against the grain for a typical love-interest and works well with Peter’s character.
There are also some clunky scene’s involving the teachers of the class who are supposed to be chaperoning the trip that I could have done without. A few exchanges raise a few chuckles, but by-and-large they don’t really have a lot to offer the plot.
Speaking of the plot, it gains a lot more depth as it goes on, and has surprisingly far-reaching consequences in the universe as a whole. It takes aspects dating back all the way to 2008’s Iron Man, the very beginning of the franchise. While the eventual reveals in its plots might seem contrived to a casual onlooker, there are a few rewards for the long-term viewer.
Like many MCU films, this is a very solid film, and a very strong entrant into the over-arching narrative as a whole, it certainly more than serves its purpose in moving the series on from Endgame, all the while adding to the events of the previous two Avengers films, by addressing some potential plot holes early on it establishes a firm timeline.
The performances are also strong all around, Tom Holland remains to me the best on-screen iteration of Spider-Man, and his assorted friends are all charming in their own ways. Jake Gyllenhaal also adds some colour to the films cheeks in his performance as Mysterio, adding layers of intrigue to the character, long-time fans will get a very satisfying pay-off to his inclusion, I feel.
In conclusion then, this film is a visual treat that has more than enough narrative weight to justify its existence, that gets over its early clunkiness quickly and ends up being a welcome addition to the franchise as a whole, with enjoyable performances and a rousing score, Far From Home is another triumph for Marvel Studios.