When we see Peter Parker at the outset of Spider-Man: Far From Home, he’s helping his aunt at a charity fundraiser by wearing the spider suit and saying a few words to the crowd. Aunt May gives a speech about how difficult it’s been for people like her to reappear after what they’re calling ‘the blip’ into a house no longer their own and how difficult it’s been for all those returning people who are now homeless to readjust to this new way of life.
Peter then heads off to pack for his school trip to Europe, purposely leaving the suit behind because he wants – and needs – a break. Of course, it’s not long before the trip is disrupted by the arrival of Nick Fury with news on some new big bads, the Elementals, and a mysterious man from an alternative Earth who’s here to help destroy them.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is jam-packed with action from the very beginning along with plenty of humour and surprises along the way. There’s so much destruction of European landmarks that it often feels more like a disaster movie than a comic book one. Yet it works because the filmmakers never forget to root the spectacle in the story.
Because along with all the fun and adventure, there is the extra weight of responsibility and grief post-Endgame. It’s really moving to see Peter struggling so much with picking up the mantle after Tony’s death now that the responsibility of saving the world rests so firmly on his shoulders. (Though why none of the remaining Avengers are on hand to help remains something of a mystery.) Tom Holland does a superb job of dealing with the complexity of Peter’s situation, making every strand of this story believable, be it the loss of another father figure, his desperate need for normality or his feelings for MJ. The conflict is also made so much worse by his having to keep this enormous secret about his identity.
That said, it’s not all doom and gloom for our Peter. His Spidey senses are tingling after all and he even gets time to show off his genius on occasion, offering up some delightful throwbacks to earlier Tony moments as we see him getting to grips with some pretty complex tech. We are frequently told just how young Peter is so it’s easy to forget that he’s also incredibly smart. It’s another great throwback to be reminded of just what Tony saw in him beyond that all-important spider bite.
Secondary characters, who have now all been firmly introduced, get more time to shine here, too, with Aunt May (Tomei), Happy (Favreau) and many of Peter’s schoolmates getting far more to do this time around. Zendaya’s MJ, in particular, is a real treat. She brings a twisted and hilarious wit to the proceedings that cuts through any moment – be it silly or sad – with delicious comedic timing. It’s a delight to watch both her character and the chemistry between MJ and Peter develop.
Of course, aside from bringing back some great characters, Spider-Man: Far From Home also brings us a brand new one and Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio is a welcome and worthy addition to the MCU, stepping in to fill a void left by some very large and expensive shoes.
Like Peter himself, this latest Spider-Man offering has grown up a fair amount while still retaining its adorable charm and sense of fun and adventure. It’s just that it also knows not to forget the enormity of what came before.
Make sure you stay all the way to the end for a couple of spectacular credit scenes that show fans that while Endgame may have brought many of our heroes’ stories to an end, the magic and mystery of the MCU is far from over.