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– by Nick Doll

 

You know what’s hard? Reviewing a Marvel Studios movie and determining what is too spoilerific and what is not. It seemed like Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame were impossible to review without Spoilers, but our top reviewer Fox pulled it off. Thanks to Sony’s trailer revealing a lot, I seem to have more leeway, though I’ll keep this as clear as spoilers as I can. To protect you, the readers of LRM Online.

The plot of Spider-Man: Far From Home is simple (or is it?), concerning Spider-Man aka Peter Parker (Tom Holland) on a European vacation sponsored by the science club, with Mr. Harrington (Martin Starr) returning from Spider-Man Homecoming and and newly introduced Mr. Bell (the hilarious J.B. Smoove) chaperoning the European trip. Following the Snap/Decimation, or now, “The Blip,” fully explained as the Russo Brothers promised — if not over-explained to hilarious effect — some students are where we left them with 5 years missing, and others have grown up, often from unfaltering freshmen to sexy seniors… plus?

Anyway, Peter Parker and his pals are off to Europe, when, as the trailer reveals, their trip is hijacked by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). You see, Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) has contacted Nick Fury, a superhero from another Earth, as the multiverse was opened following the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. Beck’s planet was destroyed by “The Elementals,” and he knows exactly when and where these super-beings, based on Earth, Fire, Water, and Fire, will appear on our Earth. The trick is, Nick Fury and Beck think they need to last standing… available Avenger, Spider-Man, to help them stop the Earth destroying Elementals, in a world without Tony Stark and Captain America (don’t worry, the film will NOT let you forget Endgame).

Is everything as it seems? Is Mysterio a hero from another Earth? You’ll have to see to Spider-Man: Far From Home to find out!.

What I can say is Spider-Man: Far From Home continues the tradition of a fascinating adventure of a younger Peter Parker, trying to balance his life as a high school student, and now Avenger, in a world without Iron Man. More so than Spider-Man: Homecoming, Peter Parker’s friends and classmates are put in immediate danger as Nick Fury sends his trip to locations where Mysterio knows the next elemental will pop up. With great power, comes great responsibility, and more than any previous MCU appearance of Spider-Man, whether it be Homecoming, Civil War, or an Avengers movie, Peter must balance his personal life and his Avengers life, protecting and abandoning his friends, and MJ (Zendaya), in order to be “the next Iron Man” in a world devoid of heroes except newcomer Mysterio.

The film, as a whole, is pitch perfect Spider-Man film, made more unique than previous entries by getting the wall-crawler out of New York. Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio is exactly what you want from a comic book performance, and the action scenes in this film truly are one of a kind, often trippy in a manner that recalls Doctor Strange.

If I had to compare Homecoming and Far From Home, as one must not only compare superhero films to their distinguished competition as well as earlier films in the same franchise, I do prefer Homecoming, which is not an attack on Far From Home. They are very different movies with very different versions of Spider-Man, the friendly neighborhood hero in the first, and the Avenger returned from space who fought Thanos in the latter. There are fantastic twists, including one put into an envelope that we reviewers are NOT allowed to cover, but nothing as shocking as Vulture opening the door on the night of Homecoming. Still, it’s another case of a trailer where you think Sony botched the marketing, but the film is still full of twists.

Similarly, a “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man” on a smaller scale is more interesting than Spidey hired to replace the Avengers, as were the first film was a nice break from worldwide destruction, we follow up Endgame with a finale as big as any Avengers film. My biggest issue with the film is the villains have a very, very familiar motivation that has grown tired. You’ll know exactly what I mean when a certain scene hits.

That’s not to say Spider-Man: Far From Home isn’t a great film in its own right, it’s just quite a departure from Homecoming no matter how many recurring characters they continue to use. Though it does pack the same heart. And humor!

Finally, all you really wanted to know: is this a stumble or another huge success for Marvel Studios and us fans? Well… it’s another rousing success and I can’t wait to rewatch it for years to come.

Oh, and you should know this — though Endgame did trick us — there are two post-credits scenes on this one. Though the first feels like it was just chopped off the end and thrown after some credits, the second just might reveal the entire direction of the MCU heading forward.

Recommended if you enjoyed: Spider-Man: Far From Home, Spider-Man (2002), Avengers: Endgame

FINAL GRADE: A

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