“Spider-Man: Far from Home” Movie Review


     “Spider-Man: Far from Home” concludes what has been billed as Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and inevitably functions as a sort of epilogue to “Avengers: Endgame”, as the fallout from the events of that film drive the action and shape the continuing lives of the lead characters.  Back in the director’s chair is “Spider-Man: Homecoming” helmer Jon Watts with screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers also returning.  Marking the 23rd feature film in the MCU, the latest Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man adventure sees the web slinger at a sort of crossroads as he deals with the loss of his mentor and father figure Tony Stark, and the frightening expectations that come with the possibility of becoming a full fledged superhero at the young age of just sixteen years old.

     The initial scenes in the film bring forth the details of a world recovering from the “Snap” as they also cope with the loss of a beloved hero.  And while Ironman has become both a symbol of unity and an icon after his death, people continue to deal with the ramifications of half the world’s population being gone for five years, but then suddenly returning.  In truth, the current state of the world appears fairly normal all things considered.  The filmmakers obviously chose not to go the route of say HBO’s “The Leftovers” and portray the masses as having gone completely wacko.  Instead, the students at Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) New York high school appear well adjusted to what happened with very little sign of anguish and instead seem to make a joke out of every reminder as perhaps their way of coping.  Though I doubt anything in this film is meant to be that deep. 

     In an opening segment, two students hosting the high school’s in house news cast refer to students who had once disappeared as being part of the “Blip”.  It is also mentioned that they came back 5 years later the same age, meaning high school has continued for those where they left off, as well as the ones who remained and aged but occupied a world where everything had been ravaged.  All that said, the school and students seem quite normal as Peter’s fellow science students embark on a class trip to Europe.  The perfect setting for the usual chaos to ensue.

     Peter, as we know, has a crush on his classmate, MJ (Zendaya), and sees this trip as a way to create the right scenario to tell her how he feels.  In his mind, there’s no time for superhero and Avengers stuff, which is likely why he continues to ignore calls from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) who needs his help on another matter.  When witnesses in Mexico claim a devastating cyclone had what was described as a face on it, Fury and Agent Hill (Cobie Smulders) respond and encounter a hero from another dimension called Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).  Mysterio warns of an extraterrestrial being who can draw power from the Earth’s core and transform into a massive tornado or giant fire that will leave the planet in ruin.  With all of the other Avengers unavailable, Fury calls in Spider-Man to assist Mysterio in stopping the threat.

     But that’s where Peter begins to wonder if he is ready for the assignment, or if he still wants to be a superhero at all.  When asked, he says he wants to be with his friends and get closer to MJ, and perhaps considers ignoring his alter ego Spider-Man all together in hopes of having a more normal childhood.  There is also the Tony Stark factor, where Fury gives Peter a pair of glasses that allow him to utilize the considerable technologies behind E.D.I.T.H., Stark’s artificial intelligence assistant.  All of which begs the question.  Is Peter intended to be the next Iron Man?

     The “Avengers level threat” as the antagonist calls it in the film, brings forth the standard high octane action sequences involving Spider-Man’s considerable, yet limited, bad guy fighting arsenal as the filmmakers unleash the full power of CGI at various European locations.  There isn’t anything here you haven’t already seen before, and yet the sheer storytelling power of the last 22 films still seems to support the material and give it the necessary emotional heft needed to make “Spider-Man: Far from Home” more than just a basic superhero premise.  

     There are answers here  you will actually find you wanted all along, but couldn’t be stuffed into the 3 hour plus running time of “Avengers: Endgame”.  And the two post credit scenes (one is mid credit and one is at the end) are both important enough to stick around for given their ramifications on this film, as well as the upcoming Phase 4 and where it may be heading.  As time goes by, “Far from Home” may end up being the least remembered of the MCU “Spider-Man” films since it lacks the freshness of “Homecoming” and the high stakes of the character’s appearances in “Civil War”, “Infinity War”, and “Endgame”, but it still manages to satisfy as a lighthearted excursion into the immediate aftermath of the Infinity Saga.  GRADE: B