This is the eighth film starring everyone’s favorite webslinger Spider-Man. Yes, I am including Into the Spider-Verse because it deserves it, and I’m not including the 70’s Spidey films, because they were made for TV, even though they had those groovy disco jams every time he climbed up a skyscraper. Spider-Man: Far From Home also marks the 23rd film in the Marvel Cinematic universe. And after the exhausting and unprecedented one-two punch of Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame is this Marvel movie train losing its steam? Or is it just starting to pick up?
After the ‘snap’ of the Infinity Gauntlet where half the world was wiped out of existence, followed five years later by the ‘snap’ of the Iron Gauntlet where everyone who disappeared was returned, we find Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his buddy Ned (Jacob Batalon) back at school finishing the year at Midtown School of Science and Technology. As his class takes a European vacation of sorts, Peter is planing to tell MJ (Zendaya) how he really feels about her. Little does he know that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) plan to highjack his vacation by enlisting Spider-Man’s help against Elemental creatures planning on destroying the earth. In Spidey’s corner is Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) aka: Mysterio, a hero from an alternate Earth who has come to stop the Elementals reign of terror.
Far From Home director Jon Watts returns with a film that is much bolder and action packed than his previous work on Homecoming. Where that film focused on Peter striving to prove himself worthy of being an Avenger, here he is looking to return to just being a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Holland continues to crush it as Peter/Spidey, and Zendaya as MJ is given a lot more to do as their relationship develops in a super cute and believable way, considering this is a comic book movie. This outing is also a lot funnier than the previous film, though J.B. Smoove and Martin Starr as the kids chaperones feel at times like they were in a different movie.
What still works is the powerful storytelling that is a Marvel staple and a very solid final action sequence that I dare say is the best of all the other Spider-Man films thus far. We also get some fantastic old school Mysterio action just like in the comics. The stakes of the film really work on multiple levels as the plot unfolds and the mid-credit stinger is one mind-blowing moment after another.
I know I should not be so surprised by the quality of filmmaking from these Marvel films, but it genuinely still astonishes me that we are here now. It felt like just a few years ago, it was the 90’s and I was reading the abandoned James Cameron Spider-Man script and even though parts of it were terrible I still found myself pining for what we have now: the greatest super hero film era, that will be remembered and written about for generations to come.