Before Far From Home, there was The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and before that there was Raimi’s Spider-Man 2. One of these was a disappointment in countless ways, and the other stood out as one of the most incredible Spider-Man films of all time. We will let you decide which is which.
After years of superhero movies from many different studios, constant criticism claiming that the day ‘superhero fatigue’ would come and swiftly wipe out the entire genre, we as moviegoers stand above it all at the height of hero flicks, with Sony and Marvel Studios teaming up for what is objectively the most beautiful representation of Peter Parker and his wall-crawler persona. Enter Far From Home.
Now, before you start going ham and telling us that we are nuts for suggesting that we are claiming Raimi’s trilogy was not a masterpiece (we are, because it wasn’t – insert emo_peter_dancing.gif), let us be clear about something- just because it came first, does not make it the best. And just because you feel nostalgic about it, does not make the movie untouchable and immune to criticism. The fact is, Raimi’s first Spider-Man movie was fun, brilliant for the time, but does not hold up so much when compared to the MCU. Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 fares better, holding up withstanding the improved effects since it was released, and can still be your favorite film for any reason you want to dispute. However, objectively, it is not better than Far From Home. So, let’s talk about why.
Warning- Spoilers to Follow
Spider-Man: Far From Home had a lot of weight on its shoulders, being the first sequel to the dramatic climax to Endgame, and giving us a look into the world that suffered and moved on from the Infinity War, and the 50% of the world that didn’t because they had been dusted out of existence for five years. That is a lot to take on in a movie.
Peter and company are struggling with the changes to their world with more super-powered beings than ever before. And to think, 10 or so years prior, Iron Man was born, and before that, superheroes were the thing of comic books and Greek mythology. Now, a superhero himself, Peter has to come to terms that his mentor and idol is gone, and he has to step up into the role of the hero he never knew he was meant to be-but decides he needs a vacation first.
Peter and his classmates are headed to Europe on a trip to take their minds off of the horrors of recent years, and to broaden their minds to culture that vastly covers the majority of the modern world, but is yet absent, to an extent, from present day America. It is during this time that Peter struggles with loss of a mentor, the gains of being an Avenger, and understanding teenage youth- particularly the female sex.
Meanwhile, danger is afoot, and right behind it follows a threat that puts the entire world in jeopardy once again. Nick Fury and trusted agent Maria Hill are working on trying to neutralize said threat, with the help of Quentin Beck, a super-being with a fish bowl helmet that warns them of the elementals- four creatures with unfathomable power that will destroy the earth if he does not stop them. These elementals consists of behemoths in the forms of Water (Hydro-Man but not really), Fire (Lava-Man but not really), Earth (Sand-Man but not really), and Air. I say ‘not really’ because these elementals are based off of other villains within the Marvel universe that may or may not actually exist (yet).
Eventually, Nick Fury comes to Peter in his hotel in Europe requesting (more like demanding) his help, as Peter had been ignoring Fury’s calls to focus on being a teen in love and to enjoy the break. Elementals attack and Peter dawns a new black costume to avoid suspicion that Spider-Man would be in Europe at the same time as their class trip (since Spider-Man also appeared during their previous class trip in Homecoming).
Spider-Man is joined by Beck and the two develop a sort of bond that reminds Peter of his relationship with Stark, leaving Peter vulnerable to manipulation. Beck explains what it means to be a hero (more or less) and discusses with Peter that he lost so much on his own earth, which is a parallel to the earth that Peter and the others occupy. He says that the elementals destroyed his world and his family and that he has come to stop them from doing the same to this world.
Peter, being gullible, believes Beck and reveals that Stark had left him access and control to various Stark technology as Stark believed Peter to be a worthy predecessor. Beck uses this as an opportunity to manipulate Peter who feels that he is not worthy to be a hero as Beck is, and hands over access to the tech, which Beck accepts. Peter goes back to his classmates in the hotel and Beck is revealed to have been using illusion and hologram tech that was revealed to be the very same that Stark presented in Civil War. As it turns out, Quentin Beck designed this tech, and was backstage during Stark’s presentation. Angry that Stark scrapped this tech for being a hobby project that was too expensive, Beck enlists the help of other ex-employees from Stark industries to join him, including the guy that Obadiah Stane scolded for not being able to develop the same tech Stark put together in a cave with a box of scraps in the first Iron Man.
With the help of these ex-employees, Beck developed various hologram tech with the help of drones to convince the likes of Nick Fury that a real threat was looming, manipulated Peter into handing over the Stark security protocols and technology, and essentially giving them the opportunity to take over the planet, more or less.
Eventually Peter and company realize that Beck is a fraud and that they all made a bunch of rookie mistakes- which makes you wonder just how Nick Fury, THE super spy, could be fooled (which we will touch base on later).
Once Spider-Man faces off against Mysterio (Italian for ‘mystery’), I was blown away. Yeah, sure, we have seen tons of superheroes fighting bad guys over the last 10+ years within the MCU, but this was different. Mysterio is not an easy villain to bring to the screen. He does not have any superpowers and he does not have a supersuit like Stark. All he has is his wits and some drones that project holographic images. To pull this off from a studio production side and translate into a film is impressive. Period. But to make this a worthy foe for Spider-Man in a movie was incredible.
The first time I saw the sequences where Beck was messing with Peter’s head, I was blown away. And Tom Holland being able to perform as an actor under such circumstances was amazing. As a viewer in the audience, I was stressed. Like, legitimately stressed. I had no idea what was real and I had no clue what direction this was going to go. Yeah, we know Spider-Man wins in the end, but its the how that gripped me so tightly.
Every time they had a bout, my heart raced. I didn’t know what to believe. Quentin Beck was not only fooling Peter Parker, but he was fooling the audience. And I loved it.
The visuals were awesome, the acting performances were top notch, and the story fell perfectly in-line as a post-Endgame continuation. There was romance, and Ned humor, and secret spy stuff, and all the Happy Hogan you could want. The only thing missing was that there were no other Avenger cameos, considering that they are all really busy at this time. But the Avengers still felt so much a part of this world with all the verbal references and decisions made by characters in this movie that while it was missing, I didn’t actually miss it.
The writing was superb and overall, Far From Home was just so fun. It played with every single of my emotions and the resolve for each paid off in a satisfying way. There was depth and there was sadness and there was anger and frustration and it was just so, so wonderful.
Oh, and J.K. Simmons returns as J.Jonah Jameson as a sort of Alex Jones type video blogger for the DailyBugle.net. That was great to see as well, though someone spoiled this for me as Simmons was actually at the red carpet event for Far From Home and was confirmed to appear in the movie before I even saw it. But it was still great.
Now, the two mid/end of credits scene are what really got me. First, why was Nick Fury such a bumbling idiot who could be fooled so easily? Well, it turns out that Nick Fury was not actually Nick Fury. It was actually Talos, the shape-shifting Skrull from Captain Marvel, masquerading as Fury while the real one was off-world on an intergalactic vacation. So that was a wonderful loose end that was taken care of.
Far From Home gave fans everything they could want in a superhero film, and so much more. If you left the theater wanting, then you are simply incapable of being appeased
The other scene, which is far more significant, depicts Quentin Beck and his team of bad guys having doctored footage of Spider-Man and the whole elemental debacle as a plot that paints Spider-Man as the villain. In the footage, a dying Quentin Beck claims that he is a hero and that Spider-Man killed him and set the whole thing up due to Spidey’s alleged obsession for wanting to be the next Iron Man, killing Beck to remove him from the spotlight. The final moments of the footage, Beck has Spider-Man’s identity revealed to the world, meaning that everyone in the MCU now knows that Peter Parker is the no-longer-beloved web-slinger from Queens.
This throws so much chaos into Parker’s world, and leaves audiences begging for the next movie to see just how this is handled. In the comics, Peter makes a literal deal with the devil to keep his identity secret, though this is highly unlikely to happen within the MCU, so maybe an X-Men crossover could see Prof X wipe the minds of everyone or something? Also unlikely, but who knows?
All-in-all, Far From Home gave fans everything they could want in a superhero film, and so much more. If you left the theater wanting, then you are simply incapable of being appeased and pleased. There were no moments that left me feeling unsatisfied and the writing was so well covered that no loose ends were left unattended.
Fun, exciting, emotional, impactful, and full of suspense, Spider-Man: Far From Home easily takes the no.1 spot as the greatest live-action Spider-Man film to date.