Spider-Man: Far from Home has a terrific and tangled web they weave, and you’ll love every minute of it.
Imagine a sort of sweeter National Lampoon’s European Vacation, or an 80s John Hughes teen movie, but halfway through some villain doses our hero with a tab of LSD. That’s approaching the sort of fun, twisty tone fans will find from screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers and director Jon Watts in the wildly entertaining Spider-Man: Far from Home. They kept the best qualities of Spider-Man: Homecoming, and added elements like the trippy intensity in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and a little Shakespearean-level betrayal, which, it turns out, was a great idea.
Rather than really saying much about the plot and the neck-wrenching twists therein, you just need to know that Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is going on a European trip with his classmates, where he expects to hang with his bestie Ned (Jacob Batalon) and hopes to get closer to his crush MJ (Zendaya). Figures from his part-time job with the Avengers show up, as does fellow superhero Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), and life-threatening events cause all his plans to go to heck. Adding charm and parental guidance into the proceedings are his aunt, May (Marisa Tomei), who is fast becoming the at once the hottest and coolest onscreen aunt ever, and Iron Man’s consigliere Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), who commiserates with him on the loss of their friend Tony, and helps guide his super-heroic choices. Fellow classmates offer opportunities for Peter to experience teen angst, growing pains, jealousy, a bit of bullying, and the other usual pre-adult concerns. It’s great to see Remi Hii, an actor of Chinese Malaysian descent playing a potential heartthrob, given how rarely Asian actors get those roles. Clearly the casting department of Spiderman: Homecoming has proven they had game, as characters Ned, Betty Brant (Angourie Rice), and Flash (Tony Revolori) get added character development, with each one of the actors proving compelling enough to draw their own fans. That’s saying something in a superhero movie.
Tom Holland, and, because she is onscreen far less, to a lesser degree Zendaya, are so winning in their portrayals, they will soon eclipse all the other actors who played the roles before them.
What makes this film increase my esteem for all things Spider-Man is the way it is not only exciting and surprising, but maintains a consistent tone throughout, regardless of how funny and light or dire the circumstances or stakes. That’s not an easy thing to achieve. It is entertaining from start to finish, and even injects political messaging of sorts without breaking its stride.
I’ve said nearly nothing about a number of things in the movie. You’ll thank me for that. You’ll also thank me to telling you to stay till the very bitter end, or you’ll be sorry. This is all to say if you are any sort of Spider-Man or superhero fan, and you hanker for the reality erasure that sitting in the big dark room filled with people watching a bright screen offers, Spider-Man: Far From Home weaves the perfect cinematic web. This one’s for you.
5 out of 5 stars.