SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME review

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Spider-Man: Far From Home is directed by Jon Watts and stars Tom Holland as Peter Parker, the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. It is scheduled for release in the UK on July 3, 2019 and North America on July 2.

Synopsis

Peter Parker returns in Spider-Man™: Far From Home, the next chapter of the Spider-Man™: Homecoming series! Our friendly neighborhood Super Hero decides to join his best friends Ned, MJ, and the rest of the gang on a European vacation. However, Peter’s plan to leave super heroics behind for a few weeks are quickly scrapped when he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks, creating havoc across the continent!

Review

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hugely anticipating Spider-Man: Far From Home. The joint Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios production has easily been one of my most anticipated movies of 2019.

Of course with that comes the concern that it may not live up to the hype, especially following a movie like Avengers: Endgame as we all saw how following Infinity War impacted on Ant-Man and The Wasp.

Thankfully that curse doesn’t seem to have repeated itself here.

In fact I’d say that Far From Home – after one watch – could quite possibly be my new favourite movie in the entire of the MCU. A bold statement I know.

Where Far From Home accomplishes itself is in bringing the MCU back down to Earth following such a hugely intergalactic adventure. Though the scope is still pretty big, for Spidey anyway, the movie itself is much more contained.

I need to point out at this stage that Sony executives ask that we follow the #dontspoilspidey hashtag and try not to reveal too much about the movie. We’ll discuss the opening and some other key details but review will be relatively spoiler light.

I felt that in the wake of Endgame, Far From Home did a great job of dealing with the aftermath. The movie wastes no time in catching the audience up on those who we lost in the battle and explaining about what is now referred to as “The Blip”.

Fans worrying about the weird age gap between students at Midtown High need not worry as this is explained away both quickly and rationally. I was impressed with how it was able to inject some humour into the catastrophes of Infinity War and Endgame. For a moment I felt concerned that I should be offended it was making light of it but actually in the context of the movie it works excellently.

Writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers have crafted a story which weaves in the brilliant teen comedy of Homecoming but with some more mature struggles for Peter (Tom Holland) to go through.

The opening scenes in New York, prior to Peter’s trip to Europe, setup his reluctance to continue on as an Avenger following the loss of Tony. That particular death in Endgame weighs heavily on Far From Home throughout.

What is nice about the New York scenes is we get a glimpse in to the Peter/Aunt May (Maurissa Tomei) relationship. Although we glimpsed her in Endgame our last real moment with her was when she opened Peter’s bedroom door and caught him in the Spidey costume.

I particularly enjoyed seeing them work as a double-act and charity fundraising for Blip victims. It was a nice way to take that aspect of the story rather than have her play the overly concerned parent. In fact it is May who pushes Peter to take his costume to Europe and then stows it in his suitcase when he “forgets” it.

The dynamic between the two is a highlight of the movie and made all the more hilarious given May’s blossoming relationship with Happy.

But it’s when the teens head to Europe that the movie finally gets moving. There’s something to be said for the school trip to Europe being a gimmick for the story but McKenna and Sommers really make it work for them.

The various European locations offer up some great challenges for Peter, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and Mysterio/Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal). The locations also play in to the powers of the villainous Elementals.

The scenes in Venice are a particular favourite as, without a costume, Peter is much more vulnerable but also the stunts seem much more practical. The remainder of the movie features the usual insane levels of CGI but it was nice to see Spider-Man portrayed more practically in stunt sequences.

Of course the European locations also offer up plenty of chance for romance between Peter and MJ. Their storyline plays much more important to Far From Home than it did in Homecoming but in bringing it to the fore the writers have also really beefed up Zendaya’s character.

She doesn’t suddenly become a fully realised comic book MJ, she is still very much in the same vein as she was in Homecoming only know she’s bring some serious comedy to the piece.

The introduction of Quentin Beck is actually the cold opening of the movie. It’s a fun little sequence which sets up some serious intrigued for the storyline ahead. I felt I had his character pegged from the start and was pleasantly surprised to find out that I wasn’t entirely correct.

Gyllenhaal and Holland have some great chemistry. He does become a replacement figure for Tony Stark at times with a clearly defined fatherly figure role. But this is Marvel so we know there is far more to him that meets the eye here.

The rest of the supporting cast are all well realised characters. The teens have their individual personalities and all have their moments to shine throughout the movie. Likewise it was great having Maria Hill and Nick Fury back in a more leading role.

I can’t tell you too much more about the story without giving away spoilers. What I can tell you was that as the film wrapped up I felt both satisfied by it and immediately felt the need to watch it again.

There are enough twists and turns to keep it fresh although I did feel that fans with more comic book knowledge may find aspects of the plot predictable. Whilst that could be a let down for some it’s more than made up for by two revelatory credit scenes.

Marvel Studios has its usual setup of a mid and post-credit scene with one a little more serious and the other more comedy. One of those two caused the crowd to scream and the other caused a slightly head scratch. I’ll let you decide which is which.

The production on Far From Home is excellent. Cinematography is quite lively for a Marvel Studios movie and makes great using of the stunning European scenery. We were lucky enough to see the movie at an IMAX press screening and I can confirm that the film is beautifully formatted for the larger screen. The aspect ratio and direction really play in to the larger format.

Visual effect are, on the whole, excellent. There are some patchy moments where Spidey looks a bit elastic-y and fluid but nothing which detracts from the movie. The Elementals look brilliant and the special effects used for Mysterio whilst he is flying around are equally cool.

The costume designs are equally fun. Spidey wears a total of five different outfits across the movie. So far we’ve seen the Homecoming suit, Iron Spider, Stealth and Black/Red costumes in the trailers but there is a little more going on in the movie.

What’s more important is that this isn’t an excuse to sell more toys. All of the costumes worn in the movie has aesthetic and contextual reasons for existing. This isn’t like when George Clooney’s Batman needed to fight Mr Freeze so added some silver accents to his Batsuit in Batman and Robin.

Michael Giacchino provides another excellent score for this movie. Themes from the previous movie carry over and there are some accents of Avengers in there just to show the growth in his character. It’s well worth a listen and is available now on all digital platforms.

I have to be honest in and that after my first – and so far only – screening there’s is very little to criticise Spider-Man: Far From Home for. If this is a sign of the MCU to come then we are heading in to a particularly fun and fresh era for the long lasting franchise.

Verdict

Spider-Man: Far From Home is easily one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s finest movies. Fast-paced, bombastic action is paired with some genuine humour and heart to create a truly awesome cinema going experience.

10/10


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About Neil Vagg 4087 Articles
Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & Tv and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG