Spider-Man: Far From Home review – Possibly the best Spider-Man film yet

Spider-Man: Far From Home brings Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to a fitting conclusion. Some spoilers follow.

Spider-Man: Far From Home will be the conclusion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for many casual fans, as it serves as the epilogue to Phase Three of the MCU. As chapter 23 of an eleven-year journey, it doesn’t disappoint if viewers choose to make it their exit point.

It’s been eight months since Thanos and his minions were defeated during Avengers: Endgame and the half of the population wiped out since The Snap (which normal humans called The Decimation) were returned (referred to as “The Blip”) without aging a day.

That’s taken some getting used to for everyone. For example, Peter and his snapped classmates had to restart their junior year of high school, and Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) is working for/running an organization helping displaced people trying to find their way in the world again.

The world misses the departed Avengers greatly, as the opening moments show with Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” playing behind a news report as the movie opens.

Peter Parker (Tom Holland) just wants to go on a normal vacation through Europe with a group of his classmates at the start of the summer and forget about being Spider-Man for a while.

The world, however, has other ideas, because things can never be that simple for Avengers, especially nerdy teens from Queens.

Aunt May and Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) are dating, his nerdy best friend Ned Leeds (Jacob Batalon) has a girlfriend, and there are monsters called Elementals wreaking havoc around the world. Plus, a multiverse exists, since that’s where a solder named Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) comes from.

There are several fantastic callbacks and homages scattered throughout, paying tribute to the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire trilogy, the Andrew Garfield duology, and the early years of the MCU.

For action fans, the battles are frenetic and dazzling, taking CGI to a level that it’s never been to both inside and outside the story. But Far From Home also manages to walk that strange tightrope that Turner and Hooch did of being able to be both incredibly violent yet retain a gentle overall tone.

One of the most fascinating and interesting things about Spider-Man as a character is how normal Peter Parker is, and that’s something this movie hones in on.

Gyllenhaal was a perfect casting choice for the antagonist, and his motivations are somewhat understandable, always an important trait. His origins as a Hollywood special-effects expert are updated very well in a way to mesh perfectly into the MCU.

Just like in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Michelle “MJ” Jones (Zendaya) still comes off as awkward and stiff, but high school is often like that, especially when dealing with crushes.

The Homecoming bit parts of frazzled teacher Roger Harrington (Martin Starr) and news girl Betty Brant (Angourie Rice) are upgraded to minor characters here, and they both provide a lot of humor, and in Mr. Harrington’s case, some pathos, to the film.

His status as a social media celebrity personality makes Peter’s irritating classmate Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) an unintentional new “guy in the chair” for Spider-Man and his allies, which he would love if he knew.

Peter’s struggle to bear the weight of Tony Stark’s legacy provides a solid counterbalance to the lighthearted hijinks of his classmates, and gives Happy a chance to play the mentor as they grieve his absence together.

It was good to see Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) have a large role in what’s going on after seeing the younger version of the character earlier this year in Captain Marvel. Fury is understandably disgruntled at having to rebuild his entire intelligence organization from scratch again after five years away.

The European scenery provides good scenery as well, as the characters visit Venice, Prague, Berlin and London on their trip.

We also see several familiar faces make cameo appearances throughout the movie, reminding viewers once again that “it’s all connected.”

There are two scenes during and after the credits, both of which, while funny, will have major ramifications on MCU going forward.

It’s not a perfect movie – the usual problem MCU areas are still there, particularly in wrapping up the villain’s fate a little too neatly and in shortchanging romantic relationships,  but Spider-Man: Far From Home works as maybe the best Spider-Man movie ever. It does this while also serving as the close of this era of the MCU, while setting up intriguing possibilities for what lies ahead.