I think I was one of the few people that was ultimately disappointed by Spider-Man: Homecoming. After Spider-Man’s impressive and thrilling introduction to the Marvel universe during Captain America: Civil War, I felt Homecoming to be somewhat lacking – big set pieces that had already been revealed in the trailers, bigger set pieces that were difficult to follow on screen and, to quote my review, “too much awkward teen, not enough action hero”. I even used the phrase “superhero fatigue”, which funnily enough is a phrase currently being bandied around by some people with regard to this next Spider-Man venture, Far From Home, particularly in the wake of the intensely epic Avengers: Endgame earlier this year. So, I was cautiously optimistic heading in to see this particular movie.
We kick things off with a very brief introduction to what will dominate the rest of the movie – Nick Fury and Maria Hill arrive in Mexico, where “a cyclone with a face” has completely destroyed a small town. As this new threat returns to wreak yet more havoc, a mysterious new hero arrives to face it square on in battle, dramatically declaring to the startled S.H.I.E.L.D agents, “you don’t want any part of this”. From there, we switch to a lighthearted wrap-up of the devastating events surrounding Infinity War/Endgame, in the form of an amateur high school news report. Mourning the loss of fallen heroes (accompanied by Whitney Houston singing ‘I Will Always Love You’!), the report goes on to explain how “The Blip” – the term many are using to describe the effects of the 5 year period where half of the population were wiped from existence. Having the remaining population age 5 years while the returning half haven’t aged at all naturally has humorous consequences when it comes to students and their school life, but essentially humanity has managed to move on and learnt to deal with it.
Someone who is still struggling to deal with life and move on, particularly from the loss of mentor and surrogate father Tony Stark, is young Peter Parker. Desperately in need of a summer vacation and a break from being Spider-Man, Parker cannot wait to join the rest of his friends, and crucially MJ (Zendaya), on an upcoming school trip which will take them to a number of different European cities.
But there’s no chance of any kind of break for Spider-Man just yet, as Nick Fury has other plans for him. Peter does the unthinkable though and ignores the numerous phone calls from Fury, until he eventually just shows up for a face to face meeting in his Venice hotel room. Since the incident in Mexico, S.H.I.E.L.D have been working with the mysterious new hero, Quentin Beck, or ‘Mysterio’ as he has now been dubbed, and Peter (along with us) are now brought up to speed on the origins of Quentin and the new global threats. Turns out Quentin actually comes from an alternate Earth where these creatures, known as The Elementals (monstrous versions of wind, fire, water and air), were responsible for the destruction of not only his version of Earth but his entire family too. The most powerful Elemental, fire, is yet to appear on our Earth and Mysterio, along with the help of S.H.I.E.L.D and Spider-Man, need to locate and stop it before it becomes too powerful for them to defeat.
Peter isn’t initially interested though, being more concerned about potentially jeopardising his school trip and exposing his identity, not to mention ruining his chances of finally hooking up with MJ. So, the rest of the movie nicely splits itself between teen high school banter/comedy drama and international superhero action. Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) features prominently throughout the movie, helping to guide and mentor Peter in the absence of his old boss Tony Stark, and provides plenty of additional comic relief along the way too. He also passes onto Peter a gift from Tony Stark – a pair of Jarvis-like talking shades called EDITH (Even Dead I’m The Hero) – which initially act as a funny but powerful accessory for Peter, but proves to be a hugely important part when it comes to how the rest of the movie plays out.
Beyond that, I’m struggling to avoid spoilers. And there are a lot of them. If you’re familiar with the comics though (and despite having some vague familiarity with them, I’d completely forgotten everything!), you’ll be able to predict a lot of what comes next anyway. But, once again, I have to say how amazed I am that Marvel managed to produce trailers for this movie which not only mislead you into believing that you know exactly which direction this movie is heading in, but also feature scenes which aren’t in the final movie! As a result, I found Far From Home to be a truly wonderful surprise, and even if you know how it’s all going to play out, you should still manage to get a huge amount of enjoyment from seeing the masters of storytelling at work yet again. This movie gave me Endgame-level thrills and goose-bump moments, over and over again throughout. Visually, it’s outstanding – with impressive action scenes and trippy sequences the likes of which we haven’t seen since Doctor Strange. Jake Gyllenhaal is perfect as Mysterio too, really bringing the character to life, and by the end of it all I was just completely blown away. So when the mid credit sequence hit, opening up some shocking possibilities for future movies, I was almost hyperventilating with excitement! I’m certainly not experiencing any signs of superhero fatigue just yet!