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Film Review: Spider-Man - Far From Home

10 July 19 words: Jamie Morris

While Endgame was an excellent conclusion to the first decade of the Avengers saga, it left moviegoers with a lot of questions regarding the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The big task of answering these just so happens to fall on the shoulders of our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man - but is Far From Home a satisfying follow-up to this year’s biggest film?

Director: Jon Watts

Starring: Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson

Running time: 129 mins

Far From Home follows Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his classmates as they take a residential trip around Europe, just a year after the Avengers’ final battle. When they arrive in Venice, Peter and friends are attacked by a giant monster made of water, until the dashing Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) swoops in to save the day. Still grieving from the death of the iron-clad Tony Stark in the previous film, Peter sees in this new superhero what he lost in his mentor, and suits up to help him fight as Spider-Man.

As it turns out, the story has relatively little to do with Marvel’s wider narrative and instead uses Peter’s time with the Avengers as a means of driving forward his own personal character development. Director Jon Watts prioritises giving us a light-hearted film about teenagers growing up in a world of superheroes first, and an action blockbuster second - and it’s better for it.

Tom Holland nails the characterisation of the dorky-yet-smart protagonist, with co-star Zendaya giving a fresh take on classic Spidey love-interest Mary Jane that keeps the spirit of the iconic couple intact. MJ and Peter’s peers from Spider-Man: Homecoming return for more high-school hijinks including best bud Ned (Jacob Batalon) and arrogant rival “Flash” (Tony Revolori). While the movie’s gags and one-liners can get a little childish at times, the talented cast give us a bunch of genuinely funny moments that will entertain viewers throughout.

Beneath the laughs, however, the story is rather thin, with poor excuses for plot twists and very little narrative depth. Outside of some messages about role models and a line from Mysterio about people believing everything they see, the film just doesn’t have much to say. The traditional ‘power and responsibility’ moral is still there in some capacity, but without an Uncle Ben to drive it home, Jon Watts’ Spider-Man unfortunately lacks the weight of previous depictions.

Beneath the laughs, however, the story is rather thin, with poor excuses for plot twists and very little narrative depth

That being said, Far From Home still has a number of memorable scenes to add to the Spidey pantheon, such as a wacky battle in the final act that flexes its CGI to feel like something straight out of a comic book. Additionally, the costume design is superb - Spider-Man’s new suits look really cool, and Mysterio’s is easily one of the best comic-to-screen adaptations yet.

Some extra flavour is added to the film by its upbeat soundtrack, featuring songs from The Jam, Ramones, and various European artists from the countries visited on the school trip. There’s even a callback to an earlier Marvel film with a certain track by AC/DC (or according to the out-of-touch Peter, Led Zeppelin).

Viewers should definitely stay seated at least until Vacation by The Go-Go’s has finished playing, as the movie’s mid-credits scene is one of its highlights. Featuring a surprise appearance that will have long-time Spider-Man fans grinning from ear-to-ear and an even more surprising cliffhanger, the short clip ends the film on a high. The following post-credits sequence, on the other hand, will be lost on those who haven’t been religiously following all of Marvel’s recent releases, and a little baffling even for those who have.

While there are plenty of references to past films and comics, the movie can easily be enjoyed as a standalone experience and seems to be geared towards winning over a new generation of Spider-Man fans. Far From Home might not be particularly groundbreaking, but it’s a fun and fresh take on a beloved character that will satisfy the appetite of anyone craving more superhero shenanigans.

Did you know? This is the final movie in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Spider-Man: Far From Home is in cinemas now

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