Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever. (from IMDb)
With 22 films culminating into something as monumental as Avengers: Endgame, it may leave fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) wondering: what's next? Spider-Man: Far From Home is the first film to follow Endgame, and serves as a sort of epilogue to the events from that film. If you were left with a world of questions regarding what life after Endgame might look for people living in this world, Far From Home does an impressive job taking the baton and continuing the race.
OK, here it is. This is a SPOILER WARNING for Avengers: Endgame. To talk about Spider-Man: Far From Home appropriately, I need to talk about the events at the end of Endgame. If you've seen Endgame, read on with confidence. If you still haven't, please stop reading this review right now. Again, spoilers for Avengers: Endgame will follow below (Except for the closing three paragraphs). This movie's major plot is, alone, a spoiler for Endgame, so don't see this one before the latest Avengers movie. If you've seen Endgame, however, then you know a great void was left within the MCU. We lost a few heroes, and Spider-Man: Far From Home takes a moment to pay tribute to each of them, even if it's only in passing. But, in a similar way that Endgame paid tribute to the movies that preceded it, Far From Home actually does as well (but I'm getting ahead of myself, I suppose). The biggest thing Spider-Man: Far From Home dwells on from the opening moments until its finale, is the loss of Tony Stark and Iron Man. This movie is very much about Tony's legacy, how he believed in Peter Parker, and what the Avengers stand to look like without him. But his life impacts the story in ways that make this feel like a cousin to a standalone Iron Man film. In some ways, this movie feels like an Iron Man film without the titular character. Still, it's very much a Spider-Man film... even though it definitely feels less like a Spider-Man film with it being removed from the usual New York setting. (Despite the fact we have six other standalone Spider-Man movies, I did find myself missing the iconic web-slinging throughout New York moments. But it was definitely a fresh take to remove the character from his iconic settings.) This movie dwells so much on Iron Man and how he's impacted his world that it doubly serves as some closure for fans. Yes, I think it also reminds us how much we miss him (and will continue to miss him), but it also helps us accept things more so that life goes on and his spirit still lives within the MCU (as does his impact. It's not like the MCU will ignore that he exists). Tom Holland is no Robert Downey, Jr; Peter Parker is no Tony Stark; and Spider-Man is no Iron Man, but it's something that is addressed here, and it becomes a compelling influence and pressure on Peter as he feels as though he needs to fill some pretty significant shoes.
Taking the core kid cast on a field trip abroad is a neat idea, and it makes for some great set and action pieces along the way. However, at the same time, it also reveals the weaknesses of some of the supporting cast and characters. I never felt there was any kind of spark between Holland's Peter and Zendaya's dreary take on MJ, and that hasn't changed here, unfortunately. Her prickly demeanor isn't quite as bizarrely charming as, say, Aubrey Plaza's April Ludgate in Parks and Recreation, and so Zendaya's grim persona is often more drab than it needs to be. Peter's longing for MJ makes no sense in that it doesn't seem natural. At no point do I feel like you can look at the two of them and see why he would like her--especially after seeing how much he yearned for Liz in Homecoming, who was a completely different kind of personality (not that people can't like more than one person and of different personalities, but I think you can grasp what I'm trying to say). To the film's--and Zendaya's--credit, MJ does lighten up before film's end (even giving us some moments to kind of like her), but her character ultimately feels miscast and forgettable, which is a real shame for these films. The Peter/MJ relationship is iconic, and it just doesn't have the right feel here. Peter's pal Ned is actually more likeable this time around, and is utilized more sparingly, and Tony Revolori's Flash is given a couple amusing moments (although the funniest and most memorable line he has, albeit vulgar, was spoiled in the first trailer). Otherwise, Peter's S.H.I.E.L.D. involvement and journey of self-discovery (so to speak) gets more screen time. The rest of his field trip team is largely forgettable if not completely in the way, unfortunately. Still, it's nice to see Fury and Hill back in action, and Jon Favreau playing a much warmer version of Happy Hogan this time around.
I have to admit, while I've enjoyed Jake Gyllenhaal in many films before, I was nervous about him playing the villain in this one. However, it wasn't too long into Far From Home that I felt very at-ease with his performance. In fact, he leans into it so passionately that he just really sells his performance. I loved watching his character develop, and to learn how he fits into this MCU was a real treat. I think fans of the series up until this point will really like what they do here. (Granted, not all of the science or practicality of what he does in the film makes a whole lot of sense, but it's pretty cool and is fun to watch.) The effects-heavy action scenes are a bit overwhelming at times, too, though, which does hurt some of the scenes a little. Sometimes you just can't really tell what exactly is happening, but it ultimately doesn't detract too much from the overall presentation.
The content for Far From Home is a bit lighter this time around. There is some dreamlike imagery in the film, around the middle or so, that will almost definitely frighten younger viewers, but most of the film's content seems to have been toned down from the first one. There are still 2 "S" words present this time, a middle finger flipping, a couple crude phrases, and a joke about how Peter apparently ordered an adult film in his hotel room during the events of Captain America: Civil War, though. There are a few other slightly off-color jokes, but nothing exceptionally crude. The only blasphemy, thankfully, is a couple uses of "Oh my G-d" as exclamations. The rest of the content is mostly violence, which is also predominantly comic book style action violence. However, things get a bit dark a couple times, with the main villain threatening to kill and "eliminate" multiple main characters. At one point, a character nearly shoots another character in the head, but is stopped at the last moment.
If you liked Spider-Man: Homecoming, chances are you'll also enjoy Far From Home. This film also serves as a worthy follow-up to Endgame, offering some closure for some aspect of that film. Some of the characters are a bit too forgettable to help the film rise above just being good, while Gyllenhaal proves to be a worthy addition to this franchise. It's not quite the best superhero movie of the year, or even the best Spider-Man outing, but it's definitely a fun and impactful one. If you're fully invested in this emotional and exciting MCU, Far From Home is just what the doctor ordered. What's also especially intriguing about this film is that the mid-credits additional scene, AND the post-credits scene both offer up some seriously significant twists. If you miss those, you will surely be missing a lot. They do pose new questions that may or may not ever get answered, but the first additional scene is a game-changer AND a treat for Spider-Man fans, while the scene after the credits finish rolling significantly references a recent MCU film and offers up a puzzling new twist on things...- John DiBiase (reviewed: 7/3/19)
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
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