Twenty-three entries into the Marvel Cinematic Universe later, and we finally have a Spider-Man film that best targets it’s teen audience.
Spider-Man Far From Home is the second Sony/Marvel crossover and Tom Holland Spider-Man film, this time taking place five years since the Snap (colloquially known in-film as “The Blip”). As Tony Stark’s prodigy, Peter Parker (Holland) is the logical choice for Head Avenger, but conflicted by teenage priorities and grief for his mentor, Parker questions his ability to lead the super-team. When a new powerful character arrives, Peter does his best to pass on the mantle to him – to catastrophic consequences.
When Spider-Man Into The Spiderverse was released last year, I distinctly remember thinking we could never replicate that energy in a live-action Spider-Man movie. But I was wrong. With a combination of campy teen humour and, dare I say it, Spiderverse’s visual influence, Tom Holland’s second Spider-Man outing might be my favourite* yet.
Far From Home begins with the most original opener we’ve seen in ten years, setting the humour for the film immediately. It also gives a quick run-down, conversationally recapping the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame succinctly and cheerfully. If you wondered whether there’d be spoilers in FFH – you’d be correct. If anything, this film is inextricably linked to Endgame addressing not only the events, but the implications of certain… departures.
And regarding those departures, it’s a more solemn Holland!Peter than we’re used to, and while I’d have liked a closer examination of the anxiety (no spoilers, but in particular an elaboration on a scene where Peter almost seems agoraphobic and overwhelmed), especially as with a recent Thor development, Marvel seems to skate over what could be considerable, relevant discussions, Holland’s portrayal of grief was deeper than I expected.
But this is essentially a comedy film as much as a superhero one. Less on the nose than Ragnarok and not quite Guardians of the Galaxy, a lot of the humour stems from Peter’s classmates, a much better ensemble than any other** Spider-Man outing we’ve seen, and having grown up with exposure to the comics, it was refreshing to see a light-hearted teen comedy Peter. The supporting cast’s performances were wonderful too – while I’ve been partial to an Angourie Rice performance since Jasper Jones in 2017, it’s really Jacob Batalon and Tony Revolori who stole the show. While Zendaya also brought a layer of sardonic humour to the film, I’m still not totally on-board, however that’s more likely Marvel’s thinly spread “strong-female-character” attempts.
Visually, as I mentioned, it almost seems like Far From Home was influenced by Spider-Verse’s creativity. While they avoided the onomatopoeia present in the animated film, this was the most comic-book-y aesthetic Marvel film I think we’ve ever seen and it’s obvious that Marvel/Sony are attempting to up their game. This was also the least fight-heavy scene we’ve seen in recent years (or perhaps the scenes were seamless enough that even I could deal with them), allowing for more exposition and less gratuitous violence throughout the movie.
Finally, this was one of a few movies this year where I actually noticed the score. You all know I’m not a music person, but I actually felt the swell and ebb of the underlying sounds here and I’m not surprised to find out that we have Michael Giacchino to thank (i.e. the composer behind Inside Out, Bad Times at the El Royale and just about every blockbuster from Jurassic World to Rogue One). Far From Home was an incredibly solemn movie in parts and the music did a good job at pointing that out (can you tell I’m not a sound girl).
Overall I was pleasantly surprised by Spider-Man far from home. It doesn’t take much to invest me in a Marvel movie, I’m totally a basic bitch that way, but this one seemed special. It was fun, it was light, but it didn’t betray the significance of Endgame and Phase 4’s parting. I actively went out of my way to check in with friends who had decided they were done with the MCU after Avengers and even a few of them begrudgingly said this was a good one. Definitely worth checking out if you’re still on the fence.
Spider-Man Far From Home is in UK, US & Australian cinemas now.
* Excluding Spider-verse obviously.
** AGAIN, excluding Spider-verse. In fact, you can just assume I mean live-action Spidey at any point here.
IMAGINE THE CREDITS ROLLING HERE
Ooh, a bonus.
If you’d like to see a spoiler filled chat about Spider-Man Far From Home, you can check it out on my channel here.