Spider-Man: Far from Home ★★★★

2019 sees the release of three Marvel films, and they couldn’t be more different from each other. Captain Marvel is your typical ‘save the universe’ origin story sprinkled with feminist ideals. Avengers Endgame has epic-of-old aspirations, with a narrative spanning multiple years and characters dealing with tragedy and grief. Spider-Man: Far From Home is more preoccupied with love and teen hormones, with a few spare moments to save kids on a bus. This isn’t to say that one is more important or better than the other. In terms of pure, unadulterated enjoyment, Far From Home is perhaps only rivaled by Ragnarok, except Jon Watts’ film adds a layer of character development that greatly benefits the narrative. 

Here, we find Peter reckoning with the classic Spider-Man theme: “with great power, comes great responsibility.” In this case, the power is an A.I. device entrusted by Tony Stark. And the responsibility? To mature and become the next leader of The Avengers. But Peter is only a 16-year-old kid who has a crush on a girl. And that seems much more important. It’s in these egotistical, but perfectly logical choices for a teen where Watts’ film really shines. There’s a real sense of play and a John Hughes-ian feel to the interactions, promoting the awkwardness, insecurities, and desperate need for approval that really kicks into high-gear during the high-school years. It’s at the intersection of selfish wants and altruistic needs that we see in Peter the best of Tony Stark, and why he’s worthy of such a hefty mantle. But Far From Home is also Mysterio, the greatest trick Marvel ever pulled. In what ends up being a beautifully crafted self-reflection (and even critique) at the super-hero genre, Marvel shows that at the epilogue of Phase 3, there’s still room to explore and grow, without ever forgetting: The Avengers may come every few years, bringing the “event” tag with them, but this is their bread and butter, and what they do so well— rewarding popcorn entertainment. 

In the central role, Tom Holland once again knocks it out of the park, consolidating his place as the best casting decision of the MCU alongside Downey Jr. In Europe, we find him at his most scrappy and conflicted, but also at his most personal. For the first time, in a real way, Peter has to face the consequences of his actions and embark in a coming-of-age, soul-fulfilling journey. When it’s all said and done, Far From Home consolidates the Spider-Man films as the freshest, most inventive and appropriately sized of the MCU.

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