In the wake of the harrowing events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, Marvel Studios wrap up their third phase of cinematic adaptations with a feel-good title following another adventure for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
Spider-Man: Far From Home doesn’t skip a beat as it hits the ground running. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) meet a new face, Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), soon to be known as Mysterio, within the first scene. The pacing of the film is consistent, moving quickly throughout the run time. Each scene transitions smoothly, each plot point joints with near perfection, and the film supports itself from promising opening sequence to comical end-credit featurettes.
With great power, comes great responsibility. Tom Holland stands out even more so as Earth 616’s Peter “Spider-Man” Parker, the sixteen-year-old webslinger who feels like he has to carry the weight of the recently-deceased Tony Stark. The death of Iron Man is mentioned frequently, leaving Parker questioning whether his actions are just. There are many instances where the young hero will simply ask himself “what would Stark do?” and allow his intuition to guide him. Holland truly delivers his best performance yet as the teenage webhead, balancing grief and inevitable adolescent awkwardness while determining where his morals and values lie.
For a majority of teen boys, “getting the girl” is an important achievement. Zendaya returns as the dry-humored and brutally honest Michelle “MJ” Jones, the object of Peter’s affection. Her forthright personality is refreshing for a love interest to have, and challenges any previous takes on the Mary Jane template. Parker, trying to enjoy his summer escape to Europe, is pursued by Fury and Hill as they encourage that he team up with Beck and take down an unwanted foe: The Elementals. It’s insinuated at one point by Beck that there’s a multiverse, but in this case, seeing isn’t always believing.
Gyllenhaal harnesses the motivations of Mysterio and his interpretation of the character is one that you’ll hate to love. He commands an audience with his presence alone. He holds a deep understanding of Beck’s character development. It’s incredible to see how well Gyllenhaal can bring the fishbowl-headed miscreant to life. His rousing monologues are not only delivered with fiery passion and tainted ambition, but the fever dream-like hallucinations and illusions are visually executed with excellence and vibrancy.
On a similar note, the visual effects are original and outstanding, leaving a lasting impression. The Elementals, created from whatever terrestrial substances surround them, are dramatic in appearance and detail. The effects that create their features are meticulously crafted, combining both human aspects and brutish rage for a particularly memorable on-screen threat.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is clever, lighthearted and brimming with humor. It doesn’t allow itself to take itself too seriously and hosts a heartening story upheld by a cheerful score composed by Michael Giacchino, as well as sharp screenwriting that flows without heed. This is definitely a triumph for Marvel.
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