The Marvel Comics Universe keeps rolling along with “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” the second in the latest live-action reboot (but third film in the last three years if you include the animated “Into the Spider-Verse”).
The latest film isn’t all web slinging and teenage angst, serving as a bridge between “Avengers: End Game” and the next phase of the Marvel World. On that level, “Far From Home” exceeds quite well – raising the stakes from the previous chapter, while also capturing a lot of the charm that made “Homecoming” so much fun.
That fun is still here, thanks in large part to Tom Holland’s agreeable turn in the lead role, but it’s also a more reflective Spider-Man as the young hero comes into his own – hoping to carry the torch of those who came before him.
“Far From Home” picks up shortly after the events from “Avengers: End Game,” with Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Holland) and most of his classmates back in the swing of the things now that the world has been restored to its normal state. The effects from the battle with Thanos still linger. Not only are many of the students who were part of the snap forced back to school, but Parker is looking to fill the void left by the loss of Iron Man.
Parker gets the chance when he is approached by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to help fight a band of creatures known as the Elementals – an aftershock of the previous battles – with a man named Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) arriving from another dimension with the key of how to defeat these entities.
This call to action leaves Parker torn between becoming the hero the world needs and being the kid he longs to be – going on a class trip to Europe and perhaps professing his true feelings for fellow classmate MJ (Zendaya).
“Far From Home” builds off the playfulness of the first film – with Parker’s teen angst once again taking center stage. Scenes with his classmates provide the same kind of John Hughes vibe as “Homecoming,” with the budding relationship between Parker and MJ a nice bonus. (The chemistry between Holland and Zendaya really give this budding romance its spark.)
But director Jon Watts also balances it with some action set pieces that serve as a nice balance. Mysterio’s powers – and purpose – lead to some really interesting visual sequences that Watts stages well, while Gyllenhaal proves to be a welcome addition to the ever expanding cast in the MCU.
It all builds to a rousing final battle that is fun, but not the real kicker. That comes in two end credit scenes which set the stage for Marvel’s next phase (and include a cameo that received a ton of applause during my screening).
The two end credit scenes are game-changers that have me hopeful of where Marvel – and Spider-Man – go from here.