Peter Parker: I think Nick Fury just hijacked our summer vacation.
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
In 2017 we had Spider-Man’s first solo MCU movie. While not flawless, it proved to be a nice surprise in capturing the spirit of the classic web-slinger in a new fresh way. As of 2019 we now have a sequel. In some aspects it is better than Homecoming. In other aspects, Homecoming is a lot better.
The story involves young Peter Parker joining his best friend Ned, his love interest Michelle Jones aka MJ, and the rest of his fellow classmates on a European vacation. Peter has planned to leave his super heroics as Spider-Man behind for a couple of weeks to kick back, have some fun, and tell MJ how he feels about her. But that all changes when a series of elemental attacks wreck havoc across the world and Nick Fury, Maria Hill, and a new ally named Quentin Beck aka Mysterio need his help to stop it.
One of the aspects I liked about this movie was the use of the hi-tech suits. In the first movie, Peter’s suit had all sorts of things like a homing beacon, various web shooter combinations, a reconnaissance drone, and an AI that he was heavily reliant on until the climax. Here, while Peter still utilizes the sources Stark gave to him, when it comes to the action sequences, it comes down to his wits and his natural abilities rather than the gadgetry which is much more toned down. The suit he designs for himself in the final battle in particular, feels very much like the traditional Spider-Man suit with the colors paying homage to Steve Ditko’s original design and outside of the web wings, no other gadgets. It develops very much on what Tony taught Peter in that he defines the suit and the hero, they don’t define him.
The first thing that stands out about this movie is that it’s not entirely in New York like the rest of the Spider-Man movies and it allows things to be fresh. The story once again portrays the “with great power comes great responsibility” message as a coming of age story. But it’s not done in a way that’s a retread of the first movie. He has a lot of pressure on him with the public thinking he’s going to be the next Iron Man, wanting a normal high school life, and having to be Spider-Man and an Avenger and it really shines in the movie and shows what Spider-Man ought to be. The movie always gives Peter some sort of adventure and he’s never given much relaxation in any activity.
Jonn Watts did much better with the action this time around. The scenes felt a lot more intense and it felt like Peter was actually applying what he learned in the last couple movies. The illusion sequence was mesmerizing and applied some very impressive looking CGI. The final battle had a lot of intensity than the one in the first movie, there was lot more happening and a lot more lives at stake. Even though Peter had an upgraded suit he still felt like the little guy up against this giant threat and unlike last time he actually does manage to take down the villain.
The first movie showed a nice slice of life to Peter and his life and him being Spider-Man with him struggling to balance the two. And the two felt even in terms of pacing with scenes of both going hand in hand in making him come of age. Here, the pacing felt a tad more off. Some of the stuff involving the field trip felt more like a high school comedy with not much of Spider-Man getting to do his thing. If the movie had to cut down a bit it would probably be from the first half such as some scenes with Ned and his new girlfriend and some comedic scenes of the trip. It’s too bad cause I did enjoy Ned in the first movie and while he was enjoyable here, we don’t get to see him and Peter have the same moments together. However once the movie goes into the second half with Fury hijacking the vacation and Peter getting dragged into battle the movie goes into drive with the action, the humor, and the heart. That being said there are a couple of moments that didn’t make sense and they try to play it off as funny and it can get really distracting at some points.
Tom Holland was once again great at playing the classic web slinger and Samuel L. Jackson made the most of his time as Nick Fury and just about returning every cast member did well in playing the parts. However, there were a couple of actors that really stood out in this movie. Zendaya as MJ was a lot more enjoyable in this movie, she and Holland had cute chemistry with one another, and the movie did relatively well in expanding on their relationship. While they still aren’t on the same level as Peter and Gwen, I genuinely wanted to see the two get together and be happy. And while it was nice to see her know that Peter was Spider-Man it could have been earlier and the dynamic can’t be explored much further considering the ending for this movie (which I’ll get to in a bit).
Jake Gylenhall definitely looked like he was having a great time as Mysterio and him and Holland had amazing chemistry in their scenes together before he’s revealed as a bad guy and it makes you feel upset when he does betray Peter. I will say however, Michael Keaton as Vulture felt far more compelling in terms of humanity. There was nothing wrong performance-wise but it was more story-wise. Toomes was set up pretty well in the beginning and capped it with the great twist of the personal connection to Peter. But that scene where we find out Mysterio’s real motives through exposition while Gyenhall’s delivery of it was entertaining it didn’t feel nearly as connected.
The thing that really felt exciting however was the mid-credits scene. Firstly they brought back JK Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson and thank god they did that because no one can play that role any better. And Simmons felt as natural and amazing as ever. But this did amazing in elevating Mysterio into a far bigger threat than expected with the doctored footage of the incident in London making it look like Peter was responsible for causing it and Mysterio’s death and revealing his identity on TV for everyone to see. This really shakes things up and it really feels like they are shifting towards Spider-Man becoming his own person and it leaves you curious as to what’s gonna happen next.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is a satisfying sequel to its predecessor. Some aspects were done better in the first movie but for the most part it really feels like the Spider-Man movies are upping themselves in scale and overall quality. It has great action, great story, good villain, and adequate pacing. Did it have everything I would have hoped for? No. Does every joke work? Definitely not. But it improved upon the flaws of the first movie in fresh and unique ways that I didn’t expect and it feels like the MCU Spidey is moving towards being his own man but keeping in line with the rest of the MCU.