Sony and Marvel Studios‘ Spider-Man Far From Home kicks off with Peter Parker (Tom Holland) grieving the loss of his Avengers mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). He’s ghosting Nick Fury’s (Samuel L. Jackson) calls for duty and is ready to run away from reality on a school trip to Europe. Of course, no hero is ever off-duty, and Spider-Man finds himself slipping into an all-black ninja-esque outfit, causing the population of Europe to know him as “the Night Monkey.”
But Spider-Man isn’t the only hero we run into. Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) pops up on to the scene — a crime-fighter who dawns a cape and fish-bowl helmet, with powers that allow him to shoot out green lighting, a real nostalgic-looking visual effect. Parker and his friends nickname him “Mysterio,” and it sticks, as he becomes a new hero and Peter’s new mentor. When Parker asks him to try on Tony Stark’s Edith glasses, containing ground-breaking AR tech, there’s a lovely moment where Gyllenhaal’s Beck resembles Tony Stark, and tbh, even I trusted him, Peter.
At its heart — and by that, I truly mean where the movie packs in all of its sentimental value and “feels,” if you will — Spider-Man Far From Home is its best when it focuses on Peter’s life as a 16-year-old boy. His all-encompassing crush on MJ (Zendaya), his friendship with Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon), and his attempt to just go on a school trip with his peers give Holland’s Parker a lot of boyish charm. Mix that in with the fact that he is in way over his head as Spider-Man, and Holland is in the running for the most lovable — and relatable — Spidey yet.
This internal conflict finds Parker struggling with being a teenage boy and having all the responsibility Nick Fury is trying to bestow upon him as Spider-Man, forcing him to grow up faster than he would like. It makes him the perfect target for Mysterio, who gains Parker’s trust enough to have him turn over Tony’s Edith glasses to him, claiming he’s the one to be the new Iron Man. In a routine superhero movie twist, our dear friend Quentin doesn’t end up being as trustworthy as we have hoped, and ends up using the illusion of reality as his biggest weapon.
The action scenes mostly find Spider-Man battling against drones that create illusions that Mysterio can control remotely, allowing him to fight without actually fighting. He can control Europe’s perception of him using this tech, making him look like a hero, a foundation for the twist at the end (check out those end credits bbs). The visual effects of floating through illusions and reality are done in an artistic way that makes them as jolting as Parker would experience them, without being completely overwhelming to the viewer. Although you’re briefly jumping between reality and illusion, it doesn’t take away from the action in the slightest — complete with those iconic Spidey swings.
The b-plots, such as the love (or is it just a fling?!) story between Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) and Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), or the two school chaperones (Martin Starr and JB Smoove as Mr. Harrington and Mr. Dell, respectively) trying to maintain control of a school trip gone very awry, add even more color and humor to the story, rounding it out without complicating the plot too much.
Truthfully, the movie is everything you’re looking for in a Spider-Man film, and I’m sure we’ve all got a fully formed checklist of those things since we’ve been exposed to many, many Spider-Man movies. It’s got all the awkwardness of being a teenager, the conflict of a hero who we’ve always loved in Marvel stories, and a pretty simple plot line that leaves plenty of room for that conflict to shine and serve as the movie’s heart. Overall, Spider-Man Far From Home is a solid kick-off to a post Endgame life, and gives the franchise even more room to grow.