NOTE: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ spoilers below. Please read at your own discretion.
Two spectres haunt Spider-Man: Far From Home, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The first is the ghost of Avengers: Endgame, the three-hour-plus blockbuster that might even still be playing in some theatres. Obviously, as an offshoot in the MCU, it makes sense that events in the movie would spill over into Far From Home. Here, we see the teenaged Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) questioning his future: does he want to be a superhero, or just live a normal teen life? Can he balance both? Pressure from the remaining Avengers for him to take on the hero role is high, to put it lightly.
That brings us to our second (quite literal) ghost — Tony Stark. A huge influence on Parker and on the Avengers as a whole, he comes up every 10 minutes or so, and is a beacon to the young man trying to figure out which direction he wants to go.
Do the constant Stark references get old or annoying?
Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark is so damn lovable, despite all of his quirky arrogance, that it never gets old. Even though he doesn’t physically appear in the movie, his presence is strong and felt throughout. Many of his technological innovations get prominent play, and Spider-Man is constantly asked if he’s the “next Tony Stark” or the “Iron Man replacement.” It’s kind of cool to get a front seat to Parker’s slow, eventual acceptance of Stark’s death, which he mulls over and contemplates from the first scene of the movie.
How’s the acting this time around?
Holland is an amazing Spider-Man (sorry) and doesn’t disappoint. He’s the perfect balance of innocent and naive, yet somehow commanding. Zendaya as love interest Michelle Jones is another story, and her wooden delivery of lines is jarring; it almost always detracts from the scene and pulls you out of it. Thankfully, supporting costar Jacob Batalon, who returns as Parker’s pal Ned, provides many laughs and comes in to save numerous scenes with his easy humour.
What about Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio?
From the outset, Gyllenhaal sticks out like a sore thumb, almost like an A-list actor stopped by the local theatre to take part in a play as a lark. As the movie goes on, he becomes part of the fabric and less of an outsider, and at least he and Holland have great onscreen chemistry.
Should I see ‘Endgame’ before I see this?
Yes, I highly recommend seeing Endgame prior to seeing this, since it provides much-needed context and extra resonance for the audience. It’s not make-or-break, however; you can still watch and understand Far From Home without seeing it.
So what’s the bottom line?
Fun for Spider-Man fans and casual Marvel viewers alike, Far From Home is a nice, sweet and saccharine offshoot of Endgame. It provides a side wrap-up that we didn’t know we needed, and further solidifies Holland into superhero canon. Both kids and adults will be entertained by the film, and there are enough laughs (thank you, Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury) to keep you engaged.
‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ opens in theatres across Canada on July 2.
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