Your friendly neighborhood wall crawler is back. This week, Spidey swings back into action with Spider-Man: Far From Home, the completion of the third phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes, Phase Three of the MCU is over, with Peter Parker ushering in a new era for the expansive comic book universe. If that seems like an unlikely candidate, know that this film is more than up to the challenge. Mixing the task of moving a massive property forward, as well as having fun with a more down to earth setting, this is a worthy follow up to the breezy enjoyment of Spider-Man: Homecoming. When it comes to this character, Marvel (working in conjunction with Sony here) knows what they’re doing.
Taking place directly following Avengers: Endgame, we again follow Peter Parker (Tom Holland) as he navigates both being a high school student as well as being Spider-Man. Of course, in this new world, he’s also the most famous living superhero, following Tony Stark/Iron Man’s sacrifice. Mourning the loss of his mentor, Pete jumps at the chance to take a science class trip with his friends/classmates (who all returned after the Snap, in what’s called The Blink and explained here in a very clever/humorous manner) to Europe. Ignoring the plea of Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) to answer a call from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), he hops on a plane with MJ (Zendaya), Ned (Jacob Batalon), and others to let loose. It’s only due to Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) sneaking his costume into his suitcase does he come equipped with any superhero equipment at all. Pete plans to tell MJ his feelings for her, but in short order, that gets upended by Fury. You see, elemental monsters are popping up around the world, spurred on in this new world by a rift between dimensions. That same rift has brought another world’s hero in Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), christened by the public as Mysterio. Fury has them working together to fight the elementals, while Parker tries to actually enjoy his vacation. That’s only the first half of the film, too. The rest would be a spoiler, so I’ll leave it be, but it does change the course of the Marvel universe in some fundamental ways. Jon Watts returns to direct, helming a script by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers. Cinematography is by Matthew J. Boyd, while the score comes from Michael Giacchino. Supporting players, both new and returning, include Remy Hii, Tony Revolori, Angourie Rice, J.B. Smoove, Cobie Smulders, Martin Starr, and more (though it’s best not to consult the cast list on IMDb, as it spoils a cameo you’d rather be surprised by).
Not only is Spider-Man: Far From Home another great Spidey adventure, one that ties into the past and future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s also another tremendous high school story. Tom Holland is the best Peter Parker and the best Spider-Man yet, Jake Gyllenhaal is tremendously fun (in a role I won’t spoil, besides to say that Mysterio is handled differently than you might expect), Zendaya continues to be an absolute spark plug, and the entire product is just a tremendous amount of fun. Plus, this movie has one of the best post credits sequences for the MCU yet, both of which are actually pretty important, plot wise. One actually works as a final scene for the adventure audiences just watched, which is a really bold move. It’s not spoiling anything to say that it really does change what you saw before. That’s the mark of a rock solid feature, that even the final moments can add to the enjoyment. Jon Watts and company really set the stage for Phase Four of the universe in a compelling and surprising manner.
While I loved every bit of it, a special mention has to go out to Gyllenhaal and his performance. Finally taking up a comic book film mantle, he takes a potentially hard to play character in Mysterio and really makes it his own. Mixing Marvel lore, a new backstory, different ideals/motivations, and his own acting mixture, Gyllenhaal does something compelling and unique here. Whatever you’re expecting from him, this isn’t it. The long wait for him to join the genre in some way is rewarded. Of course, he was once poised to potentially replace Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 2, which never happened, but now he officially is a part of the Spider-Man universe.
Starting tonight, Spider-Man swings into action across the pond, as Spider-Man: Far From Home opens up. It’s in the upper echelon of Marvel offerings, which is no small feat. The MCU is going to go to some very unusual new places with Phase Four, but this sets things up in a very pleasing manner. Moreover, this is literally the best time ever to be a fan of your friendly neighborhood web slinger. Between the MCU appearance, last year’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and the recent Playstation video game, Spidey is in a great place right now. Embrace Peter Parker and give this one a shot. It’s a great time at the movies, plain and simple.
Be sure to check out Spider-Man: Far From Home (stay for the end credits too, obviously), in theaters everywhere today!