TL;DR – As the swan song for the Phase 3 it delivers of nearly every front but mostly in heaping amounts of charm
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and post-credit scene (you 100% need to stay for the mid-credit at least)
To be a bit honest I had some concerns about this film before I walked into the cinemas. I quite liked the first Spider-Man and the films since has showed that Tom Holland was one of Marvel’s best casting choices. However, this film was coming off the double whammy of being the follow up to both Endgame and also the first film since the revolutionary Into the Spider-Verse, and they are tough acts to follow. However, literally five minutes into the movie I knew I was in for a good time, but I didn’t know was how much of an impact this film would have on the greater landscape.
So to set the scene, we open with a quick recap of everyone who dies in Endgame, so if you have not seen it yet get ready for that band aid to get ripped off real quick. It also gives a little perspective as to how the world adapted to what they now call the blip with half of the people disappearing then reappearing 5 years later. It looks like most of Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) friends got snapped and have to suffer through doing the school year all over again. Well after all the stress of Endgame, Peter is happy that he is able to take a break because he and his friends MJ (Zendaya), Jacob (Jacob Batalon), Betty (Angourie Rice) and unfortunately Flash (Tony Revolori) are going to Europe on a school trip. However, before he leaves Happy (Jon Favreau) arrives at his aunt May’s (Marisa Tomei) charity dinner to let Peter know that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is looking for him and Peter does the only normal thing and ghosts Nick Fury. Well you can guess how well that went.
into this film, I wondered what tone it was going to take, was it going to be
the light-hearted epitaph that Ant-Man
was to the end of Phase 2, well there humour but that is not the direction I
would go. Instead it feels like tonally this film fits more in the realm of Iron Man 3. Where we have a character,
in this case Peter, dealing with the repercussions of what just happened. In this
case, it is the death of Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), who kind of killed
himself in part to bring Peter back. That is a heavy burden to bare and that is
before he is overwhelmed with Tony’s image where ever he goes. You can feel the
weight of those actions and the effect it has on Peter and why he is reluctant
to give up on his school trip.
One of the reasons this film works as well as it does, is the cast has such a good rapport with each other, and is game for almost everything. As a teacher I had to say that I kind of adored the weird duality of the different teacher chaperone models on display. Peter and his friends are just amazing together, and since we are spending a lot of time with them this is core to the film working as well as it does. It also means that this is a film where a lot of the tension comes from those silly teenage will they-won’t they and with a cast this charming it is just a delight.
add to all this, it is a really well produced film, with the locations,
effects, and music. By setting the film in several locations across Europe, it
gives you the chance to show off some places that don’t often get seen in the MCU
(okay bar London that has been in seven films and counting at this point). For
me there was a little bit of joy when they arrived in Prague because that is
one of the places that I have visited (and you should go there). So it was nice
to see them in those familiar locations. Though I do have to say even at
midnight, there is no way you would be on the Charles Bridge by yourself. This
is a Marvel film so of course the effects are great. The elementals all look reasonably
threating, and Mysterio’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) green rays all have this
interesting particle effect that really fits in the film’s tone. To add to all
this, of course Michael Giacchino always brings a quality score to his films,
and this is no exception.
Now to talk about the story, we need to talk about the villains and that means heading into [SPOILER] territory, so if you have not seen the film you may want to slip to the end. I don’t think it will be a surprise that Mysterio turns out to be a bad guy, but the reason I am putting this behind a spoiler wall is that I was really impressed in how they made him a villain, and that was spoiled for me going in and I hope it wasn’t for you. While we don’t get Okja level Jake Gyllenhaal here, we do get a quality performance out of Jake, and I loved the banter he had with Tom’s Peter. One of the cool touches is that his consume for most of the end of the film is the same motion capture suit that you see people like Mark Ruffalo wear in behind the scenes shots of Marvel films. All of this leads to the mid-credit scene, which as this is the first time I have ever talked about a mid-credit scene in a review I am going to put a [SUPER SPOILER] warning in effect. The end of this film likely dramatically shifts the tone for future films, not just by having J. K. Simmons reimagine his classic J. Jonah Jameson character as a Alex Jones-like internet denizen, but it likely that superheroes will be on the offensive publically in a way they have never been before.
In the end, do we recommend Spider-Man: Far From Home? Yes, yes we do. I mean I would recommend it just on the charm of Tom Holland alone. But we get some interesting villains, a good story, great characters, and it works as both an ending for Phase 3 and a jumping off point for Phase 4 and well I am here for wherever Spider-Man goes next.
By Brian MacNamara:
You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV,
he’ll be talking about International Relations,
or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Spider-Man: Far From Home
Directed by – Jon Watts
Written by – Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers
Based On – Spider-Man created by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko
Music by – Michael Giacchino
Cinematography by – Matthew J. Lloyd
Edited by – Dan Lebental & Leigh Folsom-Boyd
Production/Distribution Companies – Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures & Marvel Studios
Starring – Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Tony Revolori, Angourie Rice, Remy Hii, J. B. Smoove, Martin Starr, Marisa Tomei, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, Peter Billingsley, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Numan Acar, Zach Barack, Zoha Rahman, Yasmin Mwanza, Joshua Sinclair-Evans, Tyler Luke Cunningham, Sebastian Viveros, Toni Garrn, Peter Billingsley, Clare Dunne, Nicholas Gleaves, Claire Rushbrook & Dawn Michelle King with Jeff Bridges and Robert Downey, Jr. and [SPOILERS] J. K. Simmons, Ben Mendelsohn & Sharon Blynn
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Germany: 12; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13