After the dark ages of Sony's floundering Spider-Man reboot, there's one thing fans and critics can all agree on: We love the new Peter Parker.
Tom Holland has brought fresh life to a character seemingly long-abandoned, and director Jon Watts cemented Spider-Man's comeback with the highly praised
Spider-Man: Homecoming. But sequels are notoriously hard to get right, so Spiderman: Far From Home had a very big suit to fill.
And it filled the suit well. The main glowing achievement in this film, as with the previous one, was the superb acting from the main and supporting cast. Every single character was a pure delight to watch, and returning director Watts managed to keep a youthful, light-hearted tone throughout the whole film.
It was a little disappointing that Far From Home wasn't as much a buddy-comedy with Peter and Ned as it was in Homecoming. But what was lost in bromance was made up for with actual romance. MJ (played by the exceptional Zendaya) comes into the fold as the coolest kid you never actually spoke to in high school. Her chemistry with Peter is charming and undeniable; they play off each other effortlessly. I honestly haven't been this invested in a teen romance since Freaks and Geeks was taken off the air (RIP Lindsay and Daniel's misplaced love).
Jake Gyllenhaal's presence in the film is very appreciated, even if it seems to come out of nowhere. His is a really interesting take on the Mysterio character, replacing the magical element of his illusions with science and future-tech. Without delving too deep into spoiler territory, Mysterio's motivation ends up being a bit hackneyed.
It could be argued that this was intentional, poking fun at the tired "bad-guy" trope that's permeated the Marvel universe since the first Iron Man. But being tongue-in-cheek doesn't make the premise any more compelling, even if it is playful. Not a huge sticking point, but compared to the spectacularly menacing performance from Micheal Keaton as Vulture in the last Spider-Man film, Mysterio leaves a bit to be desired.
The only real complaint I can see being made about this film is that Spider-Man doesn't really have a character arc. His main goal in the film is to relax and tell MJ how he feels. Maybe what Watt was trying to do was show Peter attempting to have a normal life, then deciding that he needs to step up and take responsibility for his powers.
But that doesn't really happen. Instead, Peter says he wants to have a normal vacation and tell MJ how he feels, but at the first sign of chaos he jumps straight into action. For the rest of the film, he's complaining about having to fight evil, but he doesn't actually make any decisions about it. He just kind of does what he's told.
No one really cares about character arcs, though, so odds are that you won't really be bothered by this. The movie gets so many things right: authentic romance, genuine laughs, touching character moments, and top-notch special effects. The battle scenes, in particular, were thrilling, maybe even making it worth an IMAX ticket. If you loved the first movie, you're going to love this one. And stick around for the post-credit scene, which has definitely been spoiled online at this point—I think we're all ready for the next Spider-Man installment.