Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Spider-Man Far From Home poster.jpgDirector: Jon Watts
Running Time: 129 Minutes
Starring: Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, J.B. Smoove, Jacob Batalon, Martin Starr, Marisa Tomei, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tony Revolori, Angourie Rice, Numan Acar, Remy Hill

With its release date so soon after the grand finale to the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Infinity Saga, one was wondering why this story was considered so necessary. What about the famous webslinger going on a school trip could justify not being released after some time has elapsed? Shrewd as Marvel Studios are, this serves the same purpose as last year's Ant-Man and The Wasp, which is to allow a fun breather after the heavy occurrences of the previous Avengers feature. Only this time, with wider reaching implications for the franchise, and its characters.

Following on from the events of Avengers: Endgame, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is struggling to find his place in the world left behind. His plan is to enjoy a two week summer vacation around Europe, where he can profess his love for classmate MJ (Zendaya). Along the way, he's recruited by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to help stop a threat called the Elementals, teaming up with a new hero who goes by the name of Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal).

In bringing to screen the next adventures of Marvel's famous wallcrawler, screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers takes the character out of his comfort zone, as he contends with threats outside of Queens. His heroic adventures throughout Europe unfold like a globetrotting spy thriller, while the class trip comes off more like an outright comedy, and both succeed thanks to director Jon Watts having a confident handling of both tones. The action sequences are thrilling to witness, with the threat being sold so well, while the comedic beats land with such efficiency, but crucially, the character moments feel earned, and it's utterly satisfying to watch them occur.

Once again, Tom Holland shows how perfectly he embodies the character, perfectly capturing his duality. Peter just wants to have fun with his friends, the way a teenager should, but knows duty calls when it comes to protecting innocents and saving the world. Most importantly though, the weight of expectations are feeling overwhelming to him, especially while he copes with grief, which lends themselves to a touching arc for the character. He seeks solace in new friend, and potential mentor, named Quentin Beck (though he's taken a liking to the name Mysterio). Jake Gyllenhaal does a magnificent job capturing the many facets of the character, allowing us to believe his motivations, his determination, and in his burgeoning friendship with Peter. He also has a wonderful set of skills which are uniquely brought to to screen, given life in a phenomenal sequence which showcases the cinematic capabilities of the character, and truly setting him apart from the many powerful beings we've seen throughout this franchise.

As for the supporting cast, Zendaya shines as the sarcastic MJ, while ably showing her vulnerability when necessary. She's the object of Peter's affections, but crucially, that isn't the limits to her character, as she's proactive, and willing to help her friends wherever necessary. Samuel L. Jackson continues on a great year as Nick Fury, bouncing off the teenage hero so fantastically, while Jon Favreau lends able support to Peter however possible. Jacob Batalon and Angourie Rice are central to some of the films funniest moments, while Martin Starr and J.B. Smoove steal any scenes they appear in. It's a shame Marisa Tomei couldn't get more to do, especially considering the big discovery she made in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

A wonderful blending of humour, action, and emotional vulnerability, Spider-Man: Far From Home is a touching epilogue to the franchise so far, and the start of bold new avenues coming up. Stay for both credits scenes, they're utterly worth it.