Austin’s review published on Letterboxd:
Spider-Man is my favorite fictional character; he means a great deal to me, and before <Far from Home, I haven't been entirely thrilled with the MCU's interpretation of his character. Although Holland's performance has been charmingly heroic, I struggled with his devotion to Iron Man. Of course, within MCU itself, it's logical for Peter Parker to idolize Tony Stark but it has been at the detriment of his own growth and responsibility. And while there are still major motivating absences, this feels like Spider-Man proper.
Unlike (much of) Homecoming this has genuine style, an energy that translates visually to quite a few creative moments. The change in geography is embedded in Peter's growth: he feels like a realized version of his own identity by the film's end, no longer an Iron Man sidekick.
Watts uses Endgame as a means to enhance this movie's story, something a connected universe perhaps should do. Mysterio feels like a logical antagonist for this story, both narratively and thematically. Watts uses Mysterio's "powers" to great visual effect, using hallucination to challenge Peter's psyche. And when Gyllenhaal is untethered, he is near-manic and totally wonderful.
Man, I liked this so much more than I was expecting. I'm pretty darn happy and quite looking forward to the next Spidey movie.
Some Other Thoughts:
-Love Peter and MJ's relationship here. Across mediums they're destined for each other and their awkward sweetness was just damn cute
-That first post-credit scene 😲
-Bring back Rosemary Harris; Tomei's AUNT May is just a source of flirtation
-Uncle Ben's erasure from the mythos is horrific
-I don't understand the odd desire to have Ned Leeds and Flash Thompson exist in name alone without a trace of their comic personas beyond surface-level similarities