One of the things I love about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the interconnectedness of it all. While you can watch each movie on its own (except for probably Infinity War and Endgame), it’s so much richer as a story and experience if you follow them all. As a writer, I really think you could use the MCU as a college level course in storytelling and worldbuilding. Spider-Man: Far From Home works as a sequel to Homecoming, a follow up to Endgame, and a continuation of the larger Marvel Universe. While I will do my best to keep this spoiler-free for Far From Home, there will be spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. Be warned.
In the wake of the end of Endgame and the events of Infinity War, the Marvel Universe is forever changed. One of the first things they do in the movie is address both the fallen Avengers and the big time jump in Endgame. Both are handled really well with some interesting details I’m not I would have come up with on my own. One of the recurring things throughout the movie are shrines and memorials all over the place to Tony Stark, the late, great, Iron Man. The loss of his mentor weighs heavily on Peter all through this, made worse by the fact that he can’t talk to most people about it.
The two major themes in the movie you probably already have from the trailers and commercials: Peter’s class goes on a trip to Europe, and Mysterio shows up to battle huge monsters with some help from, if not exactly SHIELD, at least Nick Fury and Maria Hill. If you know the character of Mysterio from the comics, you might have an idea what’s happening. I will say that, as usual, the Marvel writers have made changes and tweaks from the source material, and also, as usual, they did that very, very well. How the perpetually broke and down on his luck Peter Parker affords to go to Europe is never touched on.
Other subplots include some developments in various love lives, several of which were surprising, Peter wrestling with the demands on his life, and the whole issue of Stark’s legacy. What really impressed me about this was how they handled Peter Parker. He’s sixteen, dealing with things no kid that age should have to, and he comes across very believably as a kid doing his best but sometimes out of his depth. There are several touching scenes, especially with Happy Hogan, Tony Stark’s friend and bodyguard. A great example of fantastic writing and saying a lot with next to nothing is a scene near the end when we get some insight as to why Peter’s long-time antagonist is the way he is.
I’m going to take a moment to talk about a supporting character: Ned Leeds, played by Jacob Batalon. While they mostly use Ned for comic relief, he’s more than that. He’s Peter’s best friend, and he does everything he can to help out his superhero/pal. Friendship gets overlooked a lot in movies, and Ned isn’t selfish, jealous, or scheming to stab his friend in the back. He’s a good guy, helping out a great guy, and it’s really good Peter has someone like that in his life.
It’s Marvel, so, as any fan knows by now, there are end scenes. Specifically, two. The first is a sort of revenge scene, and is going to make Spider-Man’s life a LOT more complicated, as well as bringing a familiar character, played by an amazing actor, into the MCU. The second not only hints at what’s to come in the wider Marvel Universe, but explains a few things people might have been wondering about from this movie.
What I liked: It’s a great story. The writing is fantastic, the action is so much fun to watch, and it’s full of good to great performances. So much of what happens is believable, follows naturally, and even what might seem like a few strange things in the story get explained by the very end. Tom Holland does an amazing job as, well, the Amazing Spider-Man. Jon Favreau gets some good scenes as Happy Hogan, and Zendaya’s MJ is fantastic. All the kids are very believably kids.
What I didn’t: I mentioned the money issue. The class has two chaperons who are, as a very perceptive person I know described them, more caricatures than characters. Fury and Hill seem to be largely off on their own without much SHIELD support. Even though that is sort of touched on, it’s a bit jarring and not fully explained. There’s a trend in most hero movies and shows to go away from a classic superhero trope that is intrinsic to the concept, and it looks like they did that here.
My gripes above aside, it was a wonderful movie. I really, really enjoyed it. I’m a long-time fan of the character, when he’s done right, so maybe I’m biased, but I’m giving this my rare 5 out of 5.