James’s review published on Letterboxd:
At this point it'd be almost lazy to repeat the same tired old cynicism about Marvel movies - how perfectly machine tooled, preview audience tested, inoffensive and production-line packaged for the masses they are, but ultimately you go to these screenings to be entertained, to escape the outside world and just have some fun.
Of course Marvel know this and have been using the same winning formula for years, with barely a slip up in their impressive back catalogue. Spider-Man: Far from Home is a breezy summer popcorn flick, like a refreshing ice lolly during a heatwave (things are pretty tropical here in the UK at the moment) it's sweet and colourful, but rather short-lived and inconsequential. We're taken on a whirlwind tour of Europe courtesy of returning director Jon Watts, of course complete with the usual postcard tourist attractions - obligatory tulip fields and windmills in The Netherlands, a strangely deserted Charles Bridge in Prague etc. The special effects look great, fight sequences are well choreographed and the narrative refreshingly unpredictable.
There's a nice balance of action, romance and heart but it's all so sanitised and PG friendly it sometimes feels like it belongs on the Disney Channel, lacking the grit of its franchise companions. Luckily the cast are more than worth their salt - few would disagree that Tom Holland is the best live action Spider-Man we've had so far and it's great to see Jake Gyllenhaal having fun hamming it up with his usual intensity, but in a less serious role. As a standalone film it doesn't quite work, requiring some familiarity with recent MCU events and there's some awfully clunky exposition, but as far as fan service goes, devotees of the web slinger shouldn't be disappointed.