Naturally, with Spider-Man being my favorite comic book character, I couldn’t wait for Spider-Man: Far From Home to hit theaters. Now that I’ve seen it, I can say that the wait was more than worth it. This review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS, so if you haven’t seen the film and you continue reading, you’ve been warned!
Starting with the story of the film, it felt very natural not only as a sort of epilogue to Endgame but also as the next step in Peter’s independence as Spider-Man moving forward in the MCU. The crux of the plot is that Peter is struggling internally with feeling obligated to fill Tony’s shoes and simultaneously wanting some semblance of a normal life for himself. Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers seamlessly wrote the story as a continuation of Peter’s journey from Spider-Man: Homecoming. In his first solo outing, Peter was desperately trying to live up to Tony Stark’s expectation. After his passing in Avengers: Endgame, Tony Stark now leaves behind the pressure of living up to his legacy. It is so compelling that Mysterio then comes in, after probably monitoring Peter for some time, and capitalizes on his emotions to trick him into handing over control of an entire arsenal of Stark Industry drones. More on Mysterio later, but the way that he deceives and then goes head to head with Spidey is a pivotal growth point for Peter because he then realizes that living up to Tony’s legacy just means continuing the journey to becoming his own hero.
The characterization in Far From Home is exceptional. Not only do we get internal growth from Peter, but the supporting characters and their relationships with Peter really help establish his identity post-Endgame. Characters such as Ned, Mr. Harrington, Mr. Dell, and Flash all interact with Peter to bring levity to his present predicament. Some more meaningful interactions happen with the likes of MJ, Mysterio, and Nick Fury.
Zendaya as MJ knocks it out of the park. One of my main concerns on this front was that Marvel/Sony had blown the ‘MJ’ reveal at the end of Homecoming because the character’s name is Michelle Jones, not Mary-Jane Watson. Homecoming, however, didn’t shine much light on her, so when we see her again in Far From Home, it is very clear that she shares more traits with her comic book counterpart than expected. Sure, on the surface she is awkward and socially anxious, with a pretty dark sense of humor. But at her core, she is developing into Peter’s love interest who is strong, independent, and ready at his side to help, even without powers. Their relationship felt very natural and it will be awesome to see that develop in the next film.
Mysterio’s dual role – a potential new mentor figure for Peter turned villain – is tremendous. Jake Gyllenhaal really sells the character of Quentin Beck as this sinister, vengeful mastermind who is able to turn his personality 180 degrees so that people believe in his “heroism”. Up until his monologue about his villainous plan, the audience is put in the same position as Peter, that we believe he could actually be trying to help defeat the Elementals as a hero. What their relationship does for Peter is that it helps him to realize that he has a responsibility as a hero and can’t try to pawn it off on someone else. It is an outstanding play on the revelation that with great power, there must also come great responsibility!
Nick Fury also helps to sort of light a fire underneath Peter in the same way he did for Iron Man. Fury knows that Tony chose him for a reason to be responsible for the massive drone system, whether he would admit it or not. He gives Peter the tough love he needs to really look within and decide whether or not he has what it takes to beSpider-Man. However, it did turn out in one of the post-credit sequences that Nick Fury and Maria Hill were a couple of Skrulls from Captain Marvel, while the real Nick Fury was on a Skrull ship somewhere in space, so who’s to say that the real Nick Fury’s interactions with Spider-Man would’ve been the same.
Far From Home was visually stunning. Peter’s new costumes, and how they were used within the plot, were spectacular. I’m partial to the final black and red suit because it so clearly is a callback to Spider-Man’s first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15. Mysterio’s costume looked like the perfect MCU translation of the character from the comic. It adds to the enjoyment that Quentin Beck designed for the sole purpose of getting attention, stating that having “a cape and lasers” is the only way to get people to listen to you. Being a fan of campy and garish costumes, I’m a sucker for the in-universe explanation for Mysterio’s.
Mysterio’s illusions were, in my opinion, top tier MCU visual effects. Creating surreal environmental traps for Spider-Man really felt claustrophobic, and the audience could really get a sense of how maniacal Quentin Beck truly is. Rather than being a physically imposing villain, he became more of a psychological enemy to Spider-Man. Seeing Spider-Man go from being overwhelmed by the illusions to using his Spider-Sense (jokingly called “Peter Tingle”) to navigate through them showed physical growth in the use of powers as well as his confidence. I also enjoyed the fact that this movie went a little meta and gave us Mysterio operating in a motion-capture suit, given that is what behind-the-scenes looks like for pretty much all of these comic book blockbusters.
To web up the conclusion, Spider-Man: Far From Home is worthy of a spot in my top 3 MCU entry list, and might even be my favorite live action Spider film to date. It also helps that J.K. Simmons reprised his role as J. Jonah Jameson in a post-credits scene. I may or may not have screamed when I saw him appear on screen. The film is fun, emotional, and true to the heart of any authentic Spider-Man story.
What are your thoughts? Where does Far From Home rank in comparison to other MCU films, or other Spider-Man films? Let us know in the comments as well as on Twitter and Instagram!