Far From Home is a very good time. It’s a great Spider-Man movie, a brilliant round off to Phase III, a better start for Phase IV and massively fun in its own right. Seriously, Homecoming is legitimately a high point for the MCU to date. There is a strong case for Far From Home being better. It’s funnier, Peter’s class get more to do, it’s more focused on his struggle to be a kid and a superhero. There’s a really funny running gag involving what Spider-Man’s name is in Europe. It’s a good time.
It’s also a movie that combines Peter’s motto/curse, with great power comes great responsibility, with the process of grieving. Peter is literally overshadowed by Tony Stark everywhere he goes. This is despite the fact Peter refuses to take his costume on holiday with him. Being Spider-Man is a constant reminder that his mentor is dead. Again. Plus, while it’s never said out loud it’s clear Peter blames himself for Tony’s death. Marvel’s Goodest Boy has almost as much guilt as he does heart and the movie is at its best when it gives Tom Holland a chance to show both.
But its very best moment comes at the end of the second act. Beaten up, terrified and cut off from everything, Peter does the one thing he can still do; call Happy Hogan. Alfred Pennyworth’s grumpy New York compatriot rescues him and the pair, finally, process their feelings. Tom Holland is one of those actors who is instantly likable on the cellular level but seeing him, tears flooding his eyes, admitting that he isn’t good enough and that he misses Tony will just rip your heart out and show it to you. Being analytical, it’s a perfect culmination of this version of Peter’s desperate need for a father figure and his total absence of luck. Being honest, it makes you want to hug the little guy and tell him everything will be okay.
Its Favreau who really gets you. Underplaying like an absolute champ , he lets Peter into the secret about adulthood we all find out in the end; no one has any idea what they’re doing, including and especially Tony Stark. Peter has, definitely, screwed up on an epic scale. But that doesn’t mean he’s unworthy of a damn thing. It just means he’s exactly the man Tony thought he was.
Far From Home does this a lot, constantly building new stories and perspectives in the established structures of the MCU but it’s never more poignant than it is here. There’s a moment where Happy looks at the kid with something between paternal pride and sadness that will break your heart all over again. There is the most perfectly, carefully deployed Avengers fanfare. There’s a moment where you realize what’s about to happen and preemptively tear up. Then it happens, and the movie instantly hits you with a joke so you’re laughing and crying at the same time. It’s sweet and kind, sad and funny and just masterful storytelling.
The movie never stops building on it too, right up through a great third act fight, a truly mesmerizing villain and to the first of the two most important end credit scenes Marvel have done in years. Breathless, enthusiastic, brimming with optimism and kindness and funny as all Hell, Far From Home works as hard as it’s lead character and is in cinemas now.
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