SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME is the twenty-third film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; the last entry of the MCU’s Phase Three and the final movie in what is now known as The Infinity Saga. It follows AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019) and contains some events that connect back to the defeat of Thanos and the death of Iron Man.
The movie is written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers and directed by Jon Watts who also directed the previous Spider-Man MCU film SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING. It does not link with Sony’s SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE (2018). Yet. (Or ever. Who knows?)
In a bracingly fast opening sequence, we are told that the world is still adjusting after the event that is now described as The Blip; the time when certain people disappeared for five years, then reappeared on Earth. There is a certain amount of disorientation as the world seeks to re-balance itself in the aftermath.
Teenager Peter Parker (Tom Holland), would prefer not to be Spider-Man for now and is more interested in travelling to Europe with his friends as part of an organised high school excursion. He particularly wants to get closer to his classmate MJ (Zendaya). However, the world still needs super heroes. Former S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury and agent Maria Hill attempt to deal with planet-wide cataclysms using a very different set of personnel and resources than existed before AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018). They are finding this work challenging. The world has changed, then changed again and nothing is quite what it was. Fortunately, a character called Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) has offered his assistance in these difficult times.
SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME is a gear-shift from the size and seriousness of END GAME and INFINITY WAR. As with a number of other entries in the MCU, the superhero formula has been genetically spliced with other movie genres and successfully Marvelised. The story is a mash-up of a teen romantic comedy and a European road movie. And where other US films in these categories might have more romance if they’re PG or sex and drug humour if they’re R-rated, FAR FROM HOME instead has numerous CG scenes of creatures smashing architecture and scaring the good people of Europe.
We, the audience, know Peter Parker and watching him attempt to re-establish some kind of normal life is something we can get behind. There’s a lot of fun to be had watching him and his classmates react to the different places they travel to and the obstacles they have to face as they cross the European continent. As usual, in the MCU of late, the balance of emotion, action and comedy is excellent.
Tom Holland and Zendaya very watchable and entertaining as their awkward friendship unfolds. Jacob Batalon, Toni Revolori and Australia’s Angourie Rice are terrific as the other featured students. For us older folk, JB Smoove and Martin Starr do a solid comedic turn as mediocre teachers. Marisa Tomei as Aunt May and Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan make a welcome return to our screens. Jake Gyllenhaal’s debut into the MCU is as memorable as fans might hope.
SPIDER MAN: FAR FROM HOME is well-made entertainment that is the perfect coda to this phase of the MCU and the Infinity Saga.