Published Jun 28, 2019Homecoming, Tom Holland's first spin around the block as Spider-Man, was a surprising delight. After all, in a cluttered superhero film landscape it was unclear how he'd fit in, particularly so close to the lukewarm Andrew Garfield outing. Since then, however, the stakes have raised drastically. Into the Spider-Verse offered us a feverish acid trip of Spider people, and that's not to mention Spidey's involvement in the mammoth Avengers franchise. With all of that in mind, how could a standard sequel possibly fare?
If anything, the added pressure makes Spider-Man: Far From Home feel like an underdog once more, a stance from which Jon Watts' budding series appears to thrive.
Like so many classic sequels before it, this one sees the gang uproot their lives in New York for a trip through Europe. Peter Parker (Holland) wants to stop saving the world and focus on being a teen for once, specifically so he can catch the affection of MJ (Zendaya) but unfortunately, as we've heard so many times before, crime doesn't take a vacation.
While it still works as a standalone Sony film, Far From Home is very much a part of the Avengers franchise, as evidenced by the constant references to Iron Man's Endgame fate. Happy (Jon Favreau) is now at Spidey's side, and helps the teen dodge calls from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) for as long as possible before things get too hectic to ignore and the world must be saved.
Ultimately, the film sets itself up in an all-too-standard way, the jokes have as many misses as hits, and the set pieces look like a Marvel TV series or a straight-up kids movie. There are times when it feels like this Spidey might be a dud, but to borrow a phrase from Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), the film eventually finds its tingle.
That's all thanks to Jake Gyllenhaal's Quentin Beck character, a new hero whose story line provides plenty of exciting action and a downright excellent twist that provides plenty of room for some tripped-out, perception-expanding visuals worthy of the Spider-Verse torch.
In the end, Far From Home offers very little by way of freshness and ultimately feels like a smaller entry in the glut of superhero movies. That said, it's visually and comedically fun enough to warrant a trip to the movies on a hot summer day. What else are you going to do?