We ventured out for a special holiday week Tuesday opening of Spiderman: Far From Home, playing to a pretty crowded house for the late show. This is the first major Marvel Comics Universe (MCU) release since Avengers: Endgame, and this fits squarely into the universe with constant reminders to what has come before. I’m not saying that’s a good thing.
The movie retains a healthy reliance on Peter Parker’s high school experience, and the writers continue to seem to know their way around the teenager mentality. After the obligatory opening action scene, we move into a pretty expansive exploration of the class trip to Europe with Peter, MJ, and Flash, along with major roles for Brad and Betty this time around. Tom Holland and Zendaya and the supporting cast continue to impress in these roles.
Even so, this particular incarnation of the Spiderman arc is decidedly different than anything I’ve seen before. Peter is no longer the poor kid, as evidently he has the resources to get on a plane and jump the pond. Tony Stark (still Robert Downey, Jr.) seems to have stepped in for his Uncle Ben as the father figure, and now Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) actually knows Peter’s secret identity, too (!).
Because this is the MCU thing, we also get a very healthy dose of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, which is generally a good thing, but it is also instructive as to the gets at this Spidey as the heir apparent to Iron Man as the leader of the Avengers. Jake Gyllenhaal also shows up as the somewhat “mysterious” Quentin Beck, and he plays a rather pronounced role as the would-be hero. So the movie has more than its fair share of star power.
The verdict: If you like Spiderman or you generally like the MCU (or both), you will likely enjoy what this has to offer. I’m guessing that’s enough folks to make this one the smash hit that it’s become. My kids both saw it on Tuesday and my son was especially excited about the “big twist.” It’s playing in Peoria.
As for me, I mostly enjoyed it, but thought that it was a decided step down from 2017’s excellent Homecoming. And it would certainly not crack the top three if L&D were ever to get around to publishing our Best Spiderman Movie Rankings (available upon request). Word has it that L might unleash a surprise Into the Spiderverse review on us.