This review contains some minor spoilers for the movie.
As the first post-Avengers: Endgame film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man: Far From Home definitely fills in some of the gaps as to what the world now looks like following Thanos’ Snap. Directed by Jon Watts, with a script by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, Far From Home has a spirited energy and is an enjoyable return to the world of Spider-Man, even while the main plot is the weakest link.
Per an update from Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) classmates, the global event of Thanos’ Decimation, called the “Blip,” has left thousands of people displaced and struggling to adjust to a life that went on for five years without them. Peter (Tom Holland) and Ned (Jacob Batalon) are shown to have less trouble adjusting, which is strange considering their lives were turned upside down. Conveniently, the core group of students were all dusted (as was Aunt May (Marisa Tomei)), so the effects of having been gone aren’t as noticeable.
The film follows the students on their trip touring Europe. Peter is busy trying to woo MJ (Zendaya) and keeps getting interrupted, but his trip takes a turn when the Elementals, creatures who have powers from, well, the elements of the Earth appear and wreak havoc on several cities. Luckily, Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) is there to help and befriends Peter. Together, they work to defeat the Elementals, all while Peter is constantly pressured by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to “step up”.
Zendaya and Holland have wonderful chemistry as Peter and MJ and it’s so easy to get caught up in all of their awkward flirting and rambling. Peter tries his hardest to stay true to his plans to tell MJ how he feels and his attempts add a sense of earnestness to the action-heavy film. Peter is very much an emotional hero and while Far From Home tries to make him into something he’s not, the film is also a reminder that Peter’s priorities are his friends and family, not being an Avenger. He just wants to be a regular guy, which is something the narrative makes sure to explain, all while also developing him as a capable hero without the help of said Avengers.
There’s also a running theme throughout the film about employees being screwed over by their bosses–a theme that also plays a major role in Spider-Man: Homecoming. And it’s a stark reminder that Peter himself is the everyman, the kid from Queens who doesn’t come from money and, interestingly, now that Tony is out of the picture, he can be that once more without having to rely on the shortcuts he’s received from his very rich mentor. Another fascinating theme, and one that sticks out in our current political climate, is the manipulation of truth and what’s real vs. what isn’t. The truth, while obviously a powerful thing, is also weaponized by whomever wields it and the film highlights how important it is to distinguish between fact and fiction.
Aside from the film’s themes, the action is simply average. What stands apart from the usual (and basic) outdoor and structural destruction of Venice and Prague are the fight scenes that take place inside a hologram. They incite fear and mess with Peter psychologically in a way that the physical fight scenes don’t. That ultimately makes them far more interesting to watch. Far From Home’s weakest aspect is actually the plot. It’s simple, which is fine, but it’s disorganized, caught between being Avenger level in its scope and being grounded. The film could’ve definitely benefited from more high school and New York City focus because Peter, MJ, and their friends are the highlights of the film. Without the strengths of its lead and supporting cast, the film’s plot certainly would’ve become tedious.
All in all, Spider-Man: Far From Home is an enjoyable adventure ultimately weighted down by Tony’s memory and the pressure for Peter to act like an Avenger. The best parts of the film are when it centers Peter, MJ, Ned, and their classmates’ entertaining adventures throughout Europe. Otherwise, the film serves its purpose as being a stepping stone for the next major story within the MCU. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing remains to be seen.
All in all, Spider-Man: Far From Home is an enjoyable adventure ultimately weighted down by Tony's memory and the pressure for Peter to act like an Avenger.