Image: Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Holland in Spider-Man © Property of Marvel Studios [Source: IMDB]
Following the universal scale threat of Endgame. We scale down to our neighbourhood Spiderman and the challenges that face him…like getting the girl to fall in love with him. In a neighbourhood that is changed forever with heroes that will no longer be the same. Far From Home is the final brush-stroke on Marvel’s grand first era.
Director: Jon Watts. Starring: Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Jon Favreau, Jacob Batalon [12A]
Spider-Man revels in all the delights of the following something as astronomically huge as Endgame. Most notably by drastically reducing its focus down to just Peter Parker and how he is dealing with the aftermath of Endgame.
Why is this such a masterful decision to follow up the biggest blockbuster of all time with Spider-Man? Simply put. He’s us. He is a teenage boy with all the typical teenage problems we’ve come to expect from Spidey. But that is why this movie shines so strongly. We’ve had our big world-ending crisis, this summer we just want to sit back, relax and see if Peter gets the girl. Marvel and Watts know this. Which is why the film is equal parts rom-com, vacation movie with some action to keep it very much a superhero flick. Spider-Man here echos the loss the audience has seen and the metaphorical hardship of transition phases. Peter is unsure of himself, being a hero and what lays ahead for Earth.
Part of what makes this film so strong also is it’s the antagonist. It’s not a universe destroying Thanos. It’s a guy trying to prove to the world that he is worth a damn after what the world considers it’s the greatest hero pushed him aside. Not only is this another greatly written villain for Marvel which hopefully is a sign they are going to keep growing in quality. And not only is it played superbly by Gyllenhaal and executed with great cinematic quality and gravitas. But it explores issues prevalent in our society. Tech, surveillance, news and belief. It does well to bring these issues to light in a gentle and discussive manner without feeling ham-fisted.
Granted where it begins to falter is in its exploration of these issues to which there is none, in fact, it teases the exploration of depth in its final moments. Instead, this character and poignant tone are pushed aside for the typical action blockbusting finale that not only comes across as less interesting but is creatively dull compared to the dazzling action scenes that have come before it. It’s a real shame when these earlier moments had me excited like a child again for new spider man movies, I wanted more Mysterio.
Beyond these pitfalls, however, in my opinion, lies not only the most entertaining Spider-Man film but the most gripping and highlighting of Spider-Man/Peter Parker and what makes him such a captivating hero. I cannot understate just how pleasant, surprising, entertaining, attention-grabbing and pleasing this film really is. A true summer blockbuster to rival almost everything Marvel has released before. A pleasing finish to this era and powerful indication for the next.