Phase 3 of the MCU officially comes to a close with the second Spider-Man collaboration between Sony and Marvel. It picks up following the return of those who were snapped, referred to as the blip, and the death of its greatest defender in Tony Stark.
The MCU leaned heavily into the fact that Peter Parker is a high school kid during the first film, Homecoming, making it a blend of coming-of-age comedy and Superhero action. That’s is something that Director Jon Watts and the writers have leaned even harder into with a lot of the film being based around a high school trip abroad. They do a great job of blending this with the Superhero action.
And that is where a lot of the heart and emotion from the film comes from. Since the loss of Tony Stark the world is crying out for some kind of inspirational figure who can step into his shoes. That obviously puts a huge amount of pressure of Peter, who is one of the few Earth bound heroes left around and who has clearly been a protégé of Tony’s previously. And that is Peter’s journey in this film.
However that is confused a little by the arrival of Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio, who offers his services to Nick Fury to help defend some major cities from several elemental beings who cause huge destruction wherever they go. Beck also forms a kind of mentor relationship with Peter, not in the same way that Tony had, but more as someone that Peter is able to talk to about the pressures he is under, and how that conflicts with his high school life.
Now anyone with even the most passing knowledge of Spider-Man comic books knows that Mysterio is one of his classic antagonists, who manipulates his enemies with trickery and illusions. That is something that the design team and creatives behind Far From Home did an incredible job of translating, not just in a believable way, but one that jels with the overall story of the MCU perfectly. The casting of Jake Gyllenhaal in the role was a great choice, as he is able to play all sides of the character fantastically, even managing to make a several minute exposition dump wildly entertaining.
Far From Home does an incredible job of building on not only Homecoming, but the whole of Phase 3 of the MCU. It does a great job of building on Peter’s journey, particularly now he can no longer rely on Tony to bail him out, and that will address a lot of the criticism from the original that he’s not his own hero. It also does a great job of finishing this phase, as we can see the fallout from Infinity War and Endgame without compromising Spider-Man’s story.
All of that comes before we even talk about the comedy elements of the film. This is often something that is criticised in Marvel films, but it feels perfect in a film the draws so heavily from the classic coming-of-age comedies of the 80s. Tom Holland is a fantastic all round actor, but it is his comedy chops, especially in combination with Zendeya’s MJ, that really shine here. Not every joke lands, but the majority do, and certainly more than enough for the comedy to work.