Caution. This review does not contain spoilers and advances on Spider-Man: Far from Home, however we will explicitly refer to the end of Avengers: Endgame. We know that some months have passed since the first release at the cinema, but it is always better to warn!
We have to admit that we were rather skeptical until the last minute about the decision to end Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a Spider-Man movie rather than the perfect closure of Avengers: Endgame. We believed that the statements of the Russo brothers and the Far from Home director, Jon Watts, were simple marketing and that the agreements with Sony had something to do with it, but after leaving the cinema we have to admit that Kevin Feige has really closed the circle with a film full of references and more or less explicit parallels to that Iron Man that in 2008 he started this much talked-about movie carousel. The Spider-Man, a hero beloved by adults and children, finds himself having to overcome an important challenge: to fight on equal terms, in this new incarnation, with that Spider-Man 2 by Sam Raimi that many still consider the best Cinecomic Marvel.
The plot in short and without spoiler
Some months have passed since the final battle against Thanos. The world has started to run again and Spider-Man: Far from Home wastes no time explaining to us what happened when the living beings erased by the Titan suddenly reappeared, five years after the snap at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. He had not disappeared alone Peter Parker, but also his aunt May, his best friend Ned and many classmates, M.J. and Flash included. While the world still mourns the death of Tony Stark and the other fallen Avengers, Peter intends to leave the trauma behind and distract himself in the upcoming school trip to Europe, during which he would like to declare himself to M.J. Unfortunately there is no peace for Spider-Man: recruited by Nick Fury, Peter is forced to team up with Quentin Beck, a hero from another universe to hunt down the Elementals, giant monsters that risk destroying the planet. Unsure of his abilities, Peter will find the lost mentor in Beck, but the dangers that await him will put his determination to the test. In short, Spider-Man will have to get out of the shadow of Iron Man and become a fully-fledged Avenger: will it succeed?
A film that is a comic book
In Spider-Man: Far from Home two souls live together. The first is the cheerful and goliardic one of a school comedy for adolescents. Much of the humor in the film rests on the bizarre group dynamics and sparkling exchanges among the young protagonists. We are talking about a plentiful half of films in which gags follow one another on gags, even at too close a pace, which take advantage of the first shots, the rivalries, the clumsy character of a hero who, in private life, is a real landslide. Tom Holland, increasingly at ease in the role of Peter Parker, returns a delightfully clumsy characterization of the character, both when he interacts with adults, and when he finds himself stuttering in front of the caustic M.J. His relationship with the classmate played by Zendaya perhaps it lacks the alchemy that we would expect from such an iconic love story, but the script never becomes cloying and, indeed, goes much deeper into an important factor than in Spider-Man: Homecoming stood a little too far apart.
Spider-Man: Far from Home's teen / school DNA is definitely what we liked the least. It is clear that Watts' film is aimed at a younger audience than other Marvel films like Black Panther or Doctor Strange, to name two, and in this sense it is clear that some gags will involve different spectators differently. It is a humor that fortunately never expires in the vulgar so dear to genre comedies and that, indeed, plays wisely with certain clichés, maybe not overthrowing them completely but making them less predictable. Having overcome the first half of the film, the misadventures of Peter's class are increasingly intertwined with the threat of duty, coloring even the most compelling scenes of those ironic nuances that alleviate tension at the right time. In this sense, it must be said that Watts' direction follows the script of Chris McKenna in an exemplary way, with no loss of rhythm or misplaced interludes. In other words, adolescent humor fits perfectly in the remaining playing time, without waste or forcing.
Then there is the other soul, the blatant cinecomic, which mainly dominates the second half of the film and makes Spider-Man: Far from Home one of the best Marvel / Disney productions. We're not talking about the excellent special effects or excellent choreography – some action scenes, especially in the long final clash, overflow creativity and intelligence – but with themes that sneak in between Peter Parker's gags and insecurities, defining the character much more of the trita and death of Uncle Ben. Far from Home is another perspective on the legendary joke with great powers and great responsibilities, based on a mythology that Feige has built over ten years and twenty-three films. In this part of the story, which forcefully takes the scene from the school comedy after an hour of projection, Peter finds himself dealing with the aforementioned responsibilities, but above all with the need to elaborate a mourning and go on his own way. It is a path in which a cast of important supporting actors accompanies it: Samuel L. Jackson in the role of a more grumpy Nick Fury than usual, Cobie Smulders returning to Maria Hill's, especially Jon Favreau who plays a surprising Happy Hogan.
And then there's the hot potato, the man of mystery, Mysterio, which is difficult to explain without slipping into the easy spoiler. Famous spider-man in the comic book Spider-Man, Mysterio is a powerful and precious ally in the cinematographic universe, but above all he assumes the role of mentor, friend and father figure for a Peter in disarray thanks to the charisma of the always excellent Jake Gyllenhaal. Within just a few lines, Gyllenhaal conquers the spectators and establishes a special camaraderie with Spider-Man. Contributes to the charm of the character also the sensational display of his powers and his iconic costume with a boccia helmet: watching him project laser beams while he shoots to the right and to the left with the cape that flutters behind him is a real show. Spider-Man: Far from Home is literally a comic strip that comes to life, in these scenes, thanks not only to the aforementioned special effects, but also to the sensitivity of a design that respects the iconic character of the character, without distorting it with a too realistic imprint. Mysterio is an absurd character in comics and remains an absurd character in the film.
And in fact, the second half of Spider-Man: Far from Home is a crescendo of suspense and amazing action scenes that do not forget the script in favor of easy spectacularity. Watts, as we have said, does not get rid of comedy DNA, but cleverly integrates it into this more serious part, reaching an excellent balance. At the end of the film, the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it, it has grown together with Spider-Man, has grown and is really ready for new adventures. There are phrases like "… and nothing will be like before!" that are cloying and banal, but actually in this case they would fit with a brush. We suggest you stay for the two short sequences during the credits: the first will leave you speechless, the second might suggest some clues about the future of phase 4 and the Avengers.