Opening July 4, 2019
Directed by: Jon Watts
Writing credits: Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers
Principal actors: Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Jon Favreau, Samuel L. Jackson, Marisa Tomei
There is no doubt that Avengers: Endgame, the finale of the first phase of Marvel films and the second-highest grossing movie ever, is a tough act to follow. Our friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man has the unenviable job of revitalizing the franchise which is coming down from the dramatic highs of the Infinity War and Endgame. The good news is that Spider-Man: Far From Home manages to deftly accomplish the goal of moving the franchise forward while also being an enjoyable romp with the teenage superhero.
After the dramatic conclusion of Endgame, it was clear that Peter Parker (Tom Holland) would have some emotional baggage to deal with. The kid is only sixteen after all and on both a worldwide and personal level the world has dramatically changed. He just wants to go on a school trip to Europe with his friends and not have to think about the whole saving the world thing. Yet when mysterious elemental creatures begin to wreak havoc, Peter finds that in this new world he has to step up, no matter how much he might not want to.
While there is a rather silly villain and a whole lot of endless CGI fight scenes which require more than a little suspension of disbelief, the real meat of the film is with its lead. Tom Holland gives a heartfelt performance throughout as his character struggles with how his role has gone from neighborhood superhero to defender of the planet. His interactions with his classmates bring to mind the awkward ridiculousness of high school in the best possible way. This is what Spider-Man is supposed to be, an allegory for young-adult life and challenges of growing up. Peter might want to hold to the relative simplicity of being a teen, but this is not possible as he is faced with greater responsibilities that he must somehow reconcile and make peace with. While we might not be web-slinging superheroes, this is an aspect of growing up which everyone can connect with and gives this latest Spider-Man jaunt some genuine heart. In a time when maybe some are feeling a bit fatigued with the genre, Spider-Man: Far From Home is a good reminder that there are still places to grow and fun to be had with these familiar characters. (Rose F.)