Still reeling from the events of the war against Thanos, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) leaves New York and Spider-man behind to go on holiday in Europe with his class. But soon he is drawn into an inter-dimensional war against immense beings called elementals. He is aided in his fight by Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson), Maria Hill (Cobbie Smulders) and the mysterious Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal). Will Spider-man be able to defeat the elementals and still enjoy some of his holiday?
Perhaps all I needed Far From Home to be was an assurance that life and the MCU will indeed go on. It’s the main issue that Peter is struggling with after the death of Tony Stark, and maybe after the titanic Endgame, it’s all we needed too. This might be a fairly middling Marvel adventure, and handily the weakest of the year, it is undeniably a Marvel adventure. It’s funny, it’s slick and it’s crowd-pleasing. As the future of this colossal franchise is mysterious for the first time in eight years, it’s nice to know that in addition to more movies of Black Panther or Captain Marvel standards, we will also be getting the odd Thor The Dark World. It’s comforting in its own way. I find this standard of mundane far more pleasing than others on offer.
The film does, however, dramatically improve around halfway through when a dramatic reveal unveils a much more interesting plot than the one set up in the first half. This new plot no longer focuses on multi-dimensional forces or an alien war, but instead on the nature of truth. Peter has to learn some difficult lessons that recall, though do not come close to recapturing, the harsh realities facing Miles Morales in Into The Spiderverse.
But there are some aspects of the story I would have enjoyed more focus on. Peter was erased from existence for five years. He felt the phenomenon of fading away and is now five years young than all of his friends. I’d have loved the impact of this to have been more evident in the character’s difficulty in dealing with grief and getting older. Tom Holland is still an excellent Spider-man, capturing the nervous energy of Peter Parker and the playful would-be hero as Spider-man. He is convincingly out of his depth both in romance and war. His chemistry with Zendaya as the charming and sardonic MJ is very charming. Jake Gyllenhaal is a little stiff as the alien hero, Mysterio, but this is eventually explained and he becomes much more charismatic and engaging as the film goes on.
After an immense year of success and celebration for Marvel, Far From Home is a refreshing reminder that there’s still plenty of fun to come from the worlds biggest blockbuster factory. It’s lacking in those big moments of insight or invention that define the best Marvel movies, but it’s an enjoyable adventure movie featuring beloved characters.