I was a little concerned that after Endgame, any other movie would feel insignificant. Endgame was so grand, and after half the universe’s population was wiped out, any other threat would feel small.
I am glad to report that this was not the case in Far from Home. The key, I think, to avoiding that, was by grounding the story with Peter Parker’s own personal story. Yes there are cities being destroyed, yes there are most likely tons of off-screen casualties, but the movie mostly focuses on Peter
Peter is a teen split by two worlds. On one hand, he feels this tremendous burden to step into the shoes of the late Tony Stark. Iron Man doesn’t appear in the movie unless you count a hologram of a zombie Iron Man crawling out of a grave, but he still weighs heavy on Peter. Tony was Peter’s mentor, one of his most important relationships. Everyone is saying that someone needs to replace him as Earth’s Guardian, and many look to Petr, including Nick Fury. But Peter also has his own wants. He wants to be a normal teen for a bit. He wants to explore his awkward relationship with MJ. MJ and Peter have more chemistry than almost any other Marvel couple. Usually, these romances are among the worst parts of Marvel movies. Some have been bad, some have just been fine. But this one really worked well. It felt real. The awkwardness made it fun to watch, but it never was never forced. He spent the last movie wanting more responsibility, but now that he has it, he really just wants to remain the friendly neighborhood Spider-MAn that Tony had once asked him to be.
Much of the movie focuses on this dynamic. This pressure pushes Peter to make some missteps, and give away the responsibility Tony put upon him onto someone, Mysterio, who is not trustworthy. It leads to a lot of trouble, and in the end, Peter begins to realize that he doesn’t need to run from his responsibility, but that he also does not need to put quite so much pressure on himself. And while the rest of the movie good, Peter Parker’s personal story is the driving force, and what makes it a really good movie. And a lot of that is because of the great performance by Tom Holland. He sells the character as good as any actor has in any Superhero movie. I will say he is definitively the best Spider-MAn Actor. I could argue Raimi’s Spider-MAn 2 is the best movie, but Holland is the best actor. He plays both Peter Parker and Spider-Man perfectly.
When it is not focusing on Peter’s personal journey, it does have some good action. It has several action set pieces. A fight with a water monster, a fire monster, a bunch of drones with Mysterio. But by far, the best action set piece was Peter’s initial fight with Mysterio. Mysterio creates this room of illusions and messes with Peter’s mind. It is fast-paced, it looks awesome, and it is tense as hell. The fights with the hologram Elementals are fine. They are fun, but we have seen stuff like that before. Same goes with the drones at the end. It is fun, but also really hectic and a bit messy. But the Mysterio fight at the end of the 2nd act is amazing. It is one of the cooler sequences in a movie I have seen in a while.
Mysterio himself is really cool. He does not have a ton of development, but Jake Gyllenhaal’s charisma and talent sells the character. His motivations are a bit thin, but the way they show his “powers” is really cool to see, he is intimidating, and as I said, he has charisma. You can see why people fell for his lies. They made the costume look great, with isn’t easy with the very comic booky nature of his costume, i.e. the fishbowl helmet. But it looked amazing.
Overall I really liked it. It had a few problems. There is some exposition dumping by Mysterio when he reveals he is not a real hero. I suppose they kind of had to explain how he did everything, but the way they did it could have been better, not just Mysterio standing on a bar bragging about how he pulled it off.
What did impress me though is how much Jon Watts improved as a director. The first Spider-Man was under directed. Most of the camera work was just shot-reverse-shot, and the way everything was presented, even in the action scenes, was very standard. It was presented like most American comedies are, which is to say, boring. What made the first one great was the writing. But while there is still a little of that, there was a lot more creativity in how the scenes were presented. Hopefully, he will keep improving.
Oh, and the end credit scenes, were amazing. I wanted to jump out of my seat when JK Simmons came on screen.