The friendly-neighborhood superhero has been a staple in popular culture for years. According to a graph in 2016, Spider-Man has made $1.6 billion in global retail sales (yes, more than The Avengers, Batman, and Superman combined). He has appeared on toys, lunchboxes, cereal boxes, candy wrappers, video games, television shows, and, of course, movies. After being famously played by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, British actor Tom Holland swung into action to make his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War.
With everyone’s expectations went through the roof, he went onto appear in his standalone film, the surprisingly terrific Spider-Man: Homecoming, which contained amusing elements to ‘80s-nostalgia. With it paying tribute to John Hughes, Spider-Man: Far From Home pays tribute to the National Lampoon’s Vacation films. It’s a pitch-perfect film set in a post-Avengers: Endgame era.
Peter Parker (Holland) struggles to get back to his normal life; trying to ace his classes as a high school student by day and fight criminals as Spider-Man by night. He is excited to go on his trip to Europe with his best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) among other students, because it will give him a chance to tell MJ (Zendaya) on how he truly feels about her. Great power comes great responsibility when Peter witnesses one of four monsters, known as The Elementals (that make up of earth, fire, air, and water), wreak havoc through Venice. Illusionist Quentin Beck a.k.a. Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) comes into save Peter and his friends. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Agent Hill (Cobie Smulders) assign Peter to help Mysterio take down The Elementals once and for all.
Yes, there are plenty of thrilling action set pieces, particularly one set at a festival in Prague in which he tries to save Ned and his girlfriend Betty Brant (Angourie Rice, The Nice Guys). However, the movie shines bright when Peter interacts with his peers, getting into trouble (at times) in humorous ways, or when he is stricken with grief. Holland plays a more angsty Peter, yet, he still manages to bring enough charm and awkwardness to the table. Whenever he gets upset, we feel his pain. Whenever he swings into action, we cheer.
He leads a gifted supporting cast. From knowing him in the Spider-Man 2 video game, it’s exciting to see Mysterio (or Quentin Beck) makes his first on-screen appearance. Gyllenhaal couldn’t be more perfect for the role! If Tony Stark was a father figure to Peter, Beck is viewed as the “cool uncle”, as director John Watts describes him. He and Holland have some great chemistry. Jon Favreau returns as Happy Hogan, who has a bigger role than in the previous entries in the MCU, and provides some good laughs, especially when he flirts with Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). Batalon’s Ned still has perfect comedic-timing and Zendaya’s MJ is as dark as she is engaging.
After the heart-breaking finales of both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, it’s about time Watts and screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers give some of what made Homecoming great; a light-hearted, energetic, hilarious, and visually dazzling sequel with plenty of dark, emotional moments and pleasant surprises sprinkled throughout. Spider-Man: Far From Home is a much-needed light-hearted escapism after Endgame. Although I wanted more, it’s just as fun as Homecoming. It ends with plenty of room for Spider-Man and what is yet to come in Phase Four.