Spider-Man entrance in to the MCU has been a god send as Marvel had managed to touch on areas of the character that we haven’t seen before, while also fleshing out much if his universe and world. After the epics of “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers: Endgame,” Jon Watts’ “Far from Home” is a nice detour in to the MCU where the studio is able to book end their biggest event thus far. Closing out phase three of the MCU, “Far From Home” is a vastly superior film to “Homecoming” that benefits from the lack of Iron Man, believe it or not.
After the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” Peter Parker finds himself trying to return to normalcy along with the rest of the world. Anxious to take a break from the pressures of Spider-Man, he decides to join his best friends Ned, crush M.J., and the rest of the group on a European vacation. However, Peter’s plan to leave super heroics behind for a few weeks is quickly scrapped when he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury and SHIELD uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks, all of whom are creating havoc across the continent. With the aide of enigmatic SHIELD agent Mysterio, he tries to figure out the source of their attacks.
Director Jon Watts gets a second chance to deliver more Spider-Man fodder and he has a grasp on the character that we haven’t seen since Sam Raimi’s original movies. While “Homecoming” was absolutely a return to form for the character, “Far From Home” is infinitely superior for the reasons that it pulls Spider-Man out of his element and gives him much more independence as a character. The events from “Endgame” and the fall out leaves Peter Parker pretty much self reliant and having to build enough self confidence to find the hero within himself. In “Homecoming” he touted himself as the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man, but became too dependent on Tony Stark. In “Far From Home,” we meet Parker pretty much flying on his own and expanding his world before him.
He has no uncle, he has no mentor, and his only moral center, May, is now pursuing her own personal interests. The way the writers adapt Mysterio creates a wonderful dynamic for Peter, as he manages to become something of a pseudo-Tony Stark for Peter. Mysterio is changed from a Hollywood reject, in to someone working alongside Nick Fury who promises to change the world with the way he perceives the idea of multiple realities we saw in “Endgame.” Shocking enough, the writers turn Mysterio in to a mystifying, and deadly foe that not only causes Spider-Man to doubt himself, but also doubt the very man he turned to for inspiration. Jake Gyllenhaal is fantastic as Quentin Beck, presenting a dual role as a pseudo-Stark and proto-Peter that somewhere along the line went astray.
Watts manages to balance both of Peter’s biggest conflicts well, as we jump back and forth between Peter realizing his feelings for friend M.J. during their big trip, while also trying to figure out who he is as Spider-Man, and if he’s even fit to call himself a hero. The fact that Watts relies a lot less on establishing this as an MCU extension works in favor of the narrative, allowing Peter Parker and Spider-Man to evolve and flourish as engaging, flawed, and compelling characters. Giving meatier roles to Jacob Batalon and Zendaya also compliments Peter’s story vastly, especially with the palpable chemistry Tom Holland and Zendaya share. “Far From Home” is a stellar book end to phase three of the MCU and it’s easily the best “Spider-Man” feature film to date. I hope we see more of this iteration as Holland has presented the most human and vulnerable Spider-Man/Peter Parker yet.