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Spider-Man: Far From Home - Review

Spider-Man: Far From Home

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

MUCH like one of its central characters, Spider-Man: Far From Home is a film that deceives on many levels – and is all the more enjoyable for it.

For while, on the surface, this would appear to be a breezy addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the wake of the far heavier, more epic Avengers: Endgame, there’s actually a lot going on: emotionally, thematically and furthering the bigger picture.

And yet, the emphasis is clearly on having fun, as the laughs fly as thick and fast as some of Spidey’s webs, providing a crowd-pleasing adventure that only really delivers its biggest emotional hits late on.

But as with most Marvel productions, to say too much more would be ruining the game.

Picking up in a post-Endgame, post-blip world, Far From Home does quickly acknowledge the debt of gratitude Earth’s citizens owe the Avengers now that they have found a way of defeating Thanos, albeit at cost. But it does so in an amusing way, thereby establishing that early, deceptive tone.

Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is still coming to terms with the loss of his mentor, as well as his new place in the Avengers, and opts for a class trip to Europe, where instead he can be a kid again and tell MJ (Zendaya) how he feels about her.

But Earth is soon facing a new threat from the Elementals, beasts constructed out of fire, water and wind, who wreak death and destruction wherever they surface, and who – according to Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), the superhero who has followed them – could bring about another catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions.

As Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) urges Spider-Man to step up, Parker must weigh up his responsibilities and feelings, juggling the need to come-of-age as a regular teen, or assume the ‘new Iron Man’ tag that everyone seems to want to bestow upon him.

The ensuing adventure takes Spider-Man and his class around Europe – Venice, Prague, Paris and London – and provides bucket-loads of spectacle as the web-slinger and Mysterio attempt to thwart the Elementals. The set pieces are as grand as we’ve come to expect, mixing dizzying action with plenty of humour.

And that comedy is also heightened during Parker’s more human struggles, as he attempts to realise his feelings for MJ, while his classmates (including best friend Ned) and teachers battle to stay out of trouble as superhero stuff continually explodes around them.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

But, ironically, it’s in the quieter moments that Far From Home delivers best, really allowing Holland to grow in the role of Spider-Man and explore the personal dilemmas eating away at him. It’s here that Jon Watts’ film really poses the bigger questions about responsibility, love, life and identity.

A couple of the scenes between Holland and Zendaya are particularly thrilling in a way that the John Hughes coming-of-age comedy-dramas of old would be proud of, and really give the film its heart, while exchanges about the nature of heroism and the sacrifices it entails, between Spider-Man and Mysterio, are nicely written and provide both men with plenty to chew on.

Hence, when the dust settles on all that’s going on in the foreground of this movie – and there’s a lot, including a developing relationship between Happy and Aunt May, the answering of some unanswered Endgame questions about how the post-snap world shapes up and where the MCU might be heading next – the last act revelations not only set things up on a hugely personal level for Spider-Man but neatly – and ironically – subvert another key moment at the start of an MCU journey [no spoilers here, though].

It’s only really when reflecting on Far From Home from a distance that you appreciate just how much is going on… and how much of a barnstorming time you’ve had taking the journey. Watts – as he did with Homecoming – has really delivered on a lot of levels.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 2hrs 12mins
UK Release Date: July 2, 2019