Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home

Last Updated on August 5, 2021


PLOT: Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his school friends take a summer science club trip to Europe. While there, he’s approached by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and forced to assist an inter-dimensional traveler, Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) defeat a planet-consuming group called “The Elementals.”

REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME is being called the end of Marvel Phase 3, but if anything it’s more like an epilogue to AVENGERS: ENDGAME. It’s the “what happens now” chapter after everything’s gone haywire. Conveniently, Peter Parker, along with virtually the entire returning cast from SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING were among those taken in what’s now being called “The Blip” (the term everyone has for the five years everyone was gone for after Thanos snapped his fingers). Parker and most of his pals are all still high-school age. This is one of my few issues with the movie – as there would have been an interesting dynamic going on if say maybe Ned had now been five years older, but then again I suppose it would have been hard to keep those characters in Parker’s orbit had that happened.

Otherwise, this is pretty textbook MCU, and I mean that in the best way possible. The studio has these films down to a science, alternating the “fun” installments like “ANT-MAN & THE WASP” with the origin tales (CAPTAIN MARVEL, BLACK PANTHER) and the heavy-duty “epics” like AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and AVENGERS: ENDGAME. This is one of the “fun” entries, and probably the break we all needed after ENDGAME.

Director Jon Watts continues with the teen coming-of-age vibe he displayed in HOMECOMING, with this being a take on the classic teen movie right-of-passage, the class trip to Europe. Here, Peter tries to finally take things between him and MJ beyond the friendzone. In classic teen fashion, that’s given almost as much weight as Spidey and “Mysterio’s” fight with the Elementals – and it works. Holland is good as always, with him the nice guy hero. It’s fun to finally have a Spider-Man who really does seem like a teen as Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, as good as they both were, always felt like 18 going on 35. His arc this time is mainly about him coming to terms with the fact that “The Avengers”, as he knows it, are gone and now people like Fury are looking at him like he’s the next Tony Stark.

If you know your Spider-Man movie lore, you’ll be amused by Jake Gyllenhaal being cast as Mysterio, as he famously almost took over as the web-slinger before SPIDER-MAN 2. Here, he brings a solid dose of leading-man charisma to the part, having fun as the square-jawed hero, Beck, and working lots of humor into the part, such as his whole-hearted embrace of his nick-name Mysterio.

This time, Zendaya also really gets to shine as MJ, a unique spin on the classic character. She’s doing her own thing- it’s very modern, kinda edgy and it works. Meanwhile, Jacob Batalon is on-hand for comic relief as Ned, who gets a fun summer fling of his own. Marisa Tomei also returns as the sexy Aunt May, with the fact that everyone’s in love with her once again being a running joke. Jon Favreau also shows up in a much bigger part than usual as Happy, who has to step up and mentor Peter now that Tony’s gone. I could see him being a mainstay of the Spider-Man movies, just as he was in the IRON MAN movies. Also returning is Michael Giacchino, who contributes a light, breezy superhero score that’s pretty perfect throughout. There are even a few light nods to the Sony Spider-verse, such as the talk of “multi-verse” dimensions, making it feel like they’re planting the seeds for Holland to one day make his way into those movies.

Now, given that’s its Marvel I’m not gonna dive into spoilers, but things happen here that alter the universe in a pretty significant way. Specifically, they happen during the end credits. It’s kind of insane that the most important thing to happen in the film is tucked away in the credits, but by this point, people know they have to stick around. Suffice to say, the first scene is a big one, but even the final one is more important than usual. You get more than an ant playing drums or a cat coughing up a cosmic cube. So stay for both even if your friends are hassling you to leave!

While SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME isn’t one of the hardcore Marvel epics, it’s not designed to be. This is the break we all needed after ENDGAME and a nice way to end Phase 3 on a triumphant high note, even if it tees up some pretty major changes being in store for the next slate of movies. I can’t wait – and it’s hard to imagine even casual Marvel fans not having a blast with this.





About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.