Spider-Man: Far From Home full review

As the first Marvel movie to arrive after Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home has to pull triple duty: it’s the epilogue to the Avengers, the set-up to the MCU’s Phase Four, and also has to actually work as a Spider-Man sequel.

It’s as the latter that the film works best, with a sweet, heartfelt exploration of Peter Parker’s challenged relationship with heroism and teenage life that occasionally gets bogged down in MCU baggage.

Far From Home is out in both the US and the UK from 2 July, and you can book tickets now - head to Fandango or Atom Tickets if you’re in the States, or direct to your cinema of choice in the UK: Cineworld, Vue, or Odeon. If you are planning to check it out, you might also want our spoiler-free guide to the movie's post-credit scenes.

Oh, and fair warning: I’ll keep out any Spidey spoilers from this review, but I’ll be going right into Avengers: Endgame spoilers, so stay clear if you still haven’t seen that MCU epic.

Like Homecoming before it, Far From Home is as much a teen movie as it is a superhero flick, taking on one of the classic American high school tropes: a trip to Europe, with jaunts to Venice, Prague, and London in between all the usual spandex stuff.

Smartly, the film uses it as an excuse to flip Homecoming’s dilemma on its head: that film saw Peter Parker struggling to prove he deserved to be an Avenger, while here he’s pushing back against those responsibilities, desperate to be a friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man once more - and so in turn free to just be Peter Parker while he’s out of Queens.

What’s changed is the death of Tony Stark, but strangely the film never delves too deeply into Peter’s grief - instead it’s more worried about how the loss of Iron Man will affect Spider-Man. There’s lots of chat about who’ll be the next Iron Man or lead the Avengers, but not a whole lot about Peter’s loss of a father figure.

Iron Man’s influence hangs heavy over the rest of the plot too, which centres around Jake Gyllenhaal’s interdimensional hero Mysterio and the sudden appearance of various Elementals - monstrous, anthropomorphised forces of nature raining destruction down on Europe.

Obviously Spider-Man is there to help out, but really his mind is elsewhere: Zendaya’s MJ, upgraded from occasional quips in Homecoming to a major role here. Her sardonic side hasn’t been sweetened any in the transition to fully fledged love interest, and while her position in the narrative hits most of the traditional beats, her characterisation still feels anything but.

More importantly, the chemistry between her and Holland is undeniable, and this is one of the best expressions of the teenage crush in years: equal parts tender and excruciating, filled with uncertainty and sideways glances. This isn’t a love for the ages - yet - but it doesn’t claim to be, instead turning those awkward first steps into the film’s strongest throughline.

The romance stands out in part thanks to some disappointingly lacklustre action. A water fight through Venetian canals is an early standout, but later set pieces are bogged down by chaotic CGI and too many moving parts - the London-set finale is especially tough to follow. Individual moments may thrill, but the camera can’t keep pace with Spidey, and the narrative of the fights tends to get lost in the mix.

Verdict

Far From Home isn’t going to unseat Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 or the animated Into the Spider-Verse as the best big screen takes on the webbed wallcrawler, but it’s full of fun, if a little forgettable.

It’s at its worst when it’s bogged down by explaining its place in the larger Marvel tapestry, but when it gets to break away from the crowd and just be a Spider-Man movie this is the sort of fun frolic you want it to be, elevated by a charming central romance.