Spider-Man: Far From Home hits cinemas with several comparative obstacles to overcome. As good as its predecessor, Spider-Man: Homecoming, was, animated Oscar-winner Into the Spider-Verse blew away audiences and critics as the ultimate Spider-Man film experience. Then there was the acclaimed Spider-Man PS4 game, putting players in the tights of Peter Parker to defend New York City against assorted super-powered criminal menaces. And, of course, Far From Home is the first Marvel movie to release after the era-concluding Avengers: Endgame, which packed an emotional wallop to equal a punch from the Hulk.

The point is that Spider-Man: Far From Home has multiple tough acts to follow. Going into the cinema, the question was whether it would still be able to stand out, or simply sit limp and unremarkable in the shadow of all the other recent Spidey and Marvel Cinematic Universe properties? Fans will be pleased to know that Far From Home is still an enjoyable time, but it doesn’t quite climb the heights of its predecessor, frequently getting tangled up in overly long and overly bombastic CGI battles.

For the record, Far From Home can be viewed as a film-length Endgame epilogue. Although it doesn’t deep dive into the repercussions of Thanos’s “snap”, known here as “The Blip,” it explores how the world is adjusting to the reappearance of half its population after a five-year absence. This applies both to ordinary civilians and non-powered individuals whose lives entwined with the Avengers, such as Tony Stark’s head of security Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), former SHIELD commander Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Fury’s second-in-command Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders).

Fortunately for high schooler Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his classmates, they basically all “blipped” together, meaning post Endgame they’re still the same age, and keen for a European vacation to celebrate the end of the school year. Disaster strikes almost immediately, though, with the emergence of powerful elemental monsters that want to destroy the Earth and no Avengers around to stop them. Cue the appearance of Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) a charming superhero from the Multiverse who appears as a melding of Doctor Strange, Thor, Iron Man and Captain America, and who immediately bonds with Peter.

That’s only about half of Far From Home, and due to the movie’s twisty nature, it’s practically impossible to talk about what happens after the one-hour mark without spoilers. That said, the film does become a more interesting experience from this point: sometimes trippy and even topical about the nature of real-life society today.

But before the gear-shift (which is very reminiscent of Iron Man 3 for the record), you may find yourself wondering if you’re watching one of the Sam Raimi-Tobey Maguire Spider-Man films. The fight scenes are stylistically very reminiscent of the Noughties trilogy – colourful and comic booky. A large chunk of Far From Home feels like a Saturday morning cartoon, which is great for kids and adults who appreciate slick superficiality, but it may alienate viewers who responded more positively to the solemnity of the last Avengers two-parter.

There’s also honestly something lost by moving the action away from New York City. We may have explored that setting onscreen many times now but the novelty (and tourist clichés) of Spider-man: EuroTrip here doesn’t compare to the few exhilarating moments where our hero is in his element, swinging between Big Apple skyscrapers.

Thank goodness then for Tom Holland, who continues to inject Peter Parker with emotional authenticity and relatability. A good chunk of Far From Home has a teary-eyed Peter dealing with the loss of a certain mentor, and the legacy expectations placed on him as a result. Balancing this angst out is Peter’s believably awkward but adorable relationship with MJ (Zendaya). The young entertainer does similarly excellent work in making the series’ love interest far more than a damsel to be continually rescued.

As for high-profile Gyllenhaal, he’s good, but his character isn’t nearly as nuanced as Michael Keaton’s grey-hued villain Vulture in Homecoming. Although Far From Home’s predecessor also inevitably shoved characters aside for an overblown climax, the effect is even more pronounced this time around.

Still, for its succumbing to the usual symptoms of sequel-itus and mistakenly believing more is more, Spider-Man: Far From Home is full of tender tributes to the MCU and greater Spider-Man franchise. It’s also grounded by the heartfelt, authentic performances of its leads. The resulting score then? While Spider-Man: Homecoming was a strong 9/10 for me personally, Far from Home is a solid 8.

Last Updated: July 3, 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home
It could have benefited from a little more character development and less CGI action overdose, but Spider-Man: Far From Home works as a satisfying big screen epilogue to Avengers: Endgame. It’s also likely to remind you of the cartoony Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies in parts, but given what happens in this twisty superheroics-meets-tourism tale, that may be the point.
8.0
/10

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