Spider-Man: Far from Home ★★★★

Far From Home is probably exactly what this series needed after the massive and heavy epic that was Endgame. I wasn't sure what to expect from this, as after Marvel followed up their nearly as huge Infinity War with the massively average Ant-Man and the Wasp, I was expecting something along those lines, but this surprised me in several ways I didn't expect.

Following from the events after Endgame, humanity has pretty much recovered from everyone returning to life after Thanos' snap and things are pretty much back to normal. It does also answer some lingering questions about the implications of bringing all these people back to life when people had moved on in the mean-time. Parker returns to college and his school trip to Europe is interrupted (Obviously) by some elemental demons being hunted by Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio and Nick Fury looks to Spider-Man to live up to Tony Stark's name.

Far From Home manages to balance things a lot better than I'd imagine. Peter progresses a lot here as he struggles with both living up to the hero Tony Stark was and dealing with his new responsibilities while also wanting the normal life of a teenager by attending school and getting a girlfriend. The awkward John Hughes inspired teen stuff from the first film is thankfully intact, as the awkward chemistry between Peter and MJ make for some of the funniest and surprisingly sweet scenes in the film.

While there are huge CGI set-pieces, Far From Home is pretty much character focused first, which I always appreciate. We spend lots of time with Peter as he struggles with his responsibilities and it shows in Holland's ever growing performance as Spider-Man, who is just the right amount of awkward, smart-mouthed and easy to root for. At this point I'd say he's definitely surpassed Tobey Maguire in the role and easily Andrew Garfield's weird, almost special needs like Marty McFly impression he bought to the misguided Amazing Spider-Man films.

A lot of these MCU films also suffer from humour problems, but the tone works really well with these characters. It makes sense that teenage characters would take things a little less seriously and be cracking a joke every now and then, it also helps a lot of the writing seems to be a lot stronger than the usual stuff we get in these films and the hit rate is also a lot stronger. Not everything lands, but some of the funniest stuff of the whole series is in here, especially the two absolutely gold post-credit scenes. I wish the MCU would keep tone down the humour a bit and leave it to separate films like this, as hearing middle-aged men making the same quips you'd here from teenagers is one of the main reasons I find the jokes in these films so cringe, but in the context of a high-school setting, it works.

While none of the action is massively spectacular, it still has a lot of energy to it, while it sadly amounts to big CGI things hitting each other. The more interesting set-pieces are saved for Mysterio's mind tricks, which creates a sequence so zany and out-there, it was close to Doctor Strange in terms of mad imagery and it made perfect use of the character to create that scenario for Spider-Man.

Mysterio himself is a little bit of a mixed bag. Jake Gyllenhaal utterly commits to such a barmy and crazy character, bringing a lot of his usual charm and charisma to the role, he honestly steals every scene he's in, but I just wish they spent more time with his motivation, which honestly isn't the most convincing. It connects to previous MCU films in a fun way and the reveal might divide fans the same way Iron Man 3's twist did. While his motivation isn't the best, the film certainly got more interesting once his intentions are clear and leaves Gyllenhaal much more room to ham it up to incredible effect.

Far From Home is another excellent film from the MCU (Who are also 3 for 3 this year), it ups everything I loved about the first one, continues to develop Spider-Man in new and interesting ways, while delivering a screen-grabbing, but flawed villain. Looking forward to how the third film wraps up this trilogy, especially with THAT post-credit scene.

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