'Spider-man: Far From Home' is Jon Watts' second foray into bringing everyone's favourite 'wall-crawler' to the big screens, a distant follow up to 'Spider-man: Homecoming' (2017) also directed by the same hands and the 23rd installation to the Marvel chronicles.
Our very first glimpse into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) after the climactic events of 'Avengers: Endgame', Far From Home depicts - spoiler alert for Endgame - a world lamenting the loss of Earth's Mightiest Heroes' Iron Man who used the Infinity Gauntlet to vanquish the threat of the saga's big bad thus far, Thanos, at the cost of his own life.
As such, Far From Home deals thematically with Tom Holland's Peter Parker's grief over the loss of his mentor, friend and guardian Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) who is memorialised the world-over. Planet Earth's people are looking for a hero to step up to the mantle of the 'next Iron Man'.
A disillusioned Peter's frequent frustrating struggles with the dichotomy of maintaining his life as a young adult of his age, whilst being constantly called upon to reprise his role as a greater-than-life superhero is at the forefront of this movie.
At the core and acting as the catalyst of his personal turmoil is the romantic angle between Peter and Michelle 'MJ' Jones (Zendeya Coleman). The movie follows the de-glamorisation of the superhero alter-ego as its persistent pervasion into an individual's personal life is explored in a way that only a Spider-Man story can; often portrayed through humour - which at this point is Marvel's forte' - but also at every turn, relatable.
Following this tangent, the theme is somewhat reminiscent of Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker in Spider-Man 2 from the Sam Raimi stand-alone trilogy. However, where the prior title, widely-regarded as the best Spider-Man live-action movie, depicts dramatic heart-rending scenes with the character's personal life falling apart due to his double life in perfect accordance with the comic book counterpart, Far From Home, in this writer's opinion, relied on it too excessively as a crutch for humour.
Although it must be admitted that the jokes landed every time, Marvel's tendency to sacrifice moments perfect for character growth to serve up a punchline is a tired and frustrating trope at this end of the 23 film-chronicles.
Another issue this writer takes up with the movie, upon reflection, is the soundtrack. With the exception of Whitney Houston's classic love ballad 'I Will Always Love You' used early on, and the 'Spider-Man' theme, the rest of the themes were serviceable but failed to stand out. Returning composer from the earlier installation Homecoming, Michael Giacchino's film score for Far From Home was simply - if I may - far from memorable.
There is also a particular scene with a heavy exposition dump that just seems to be contrived as it subtly retcons events in preceding MCU titles.
However, this is where the gripes come to a screeching halt. For despite the aforementioned issues, this writer genuinely had a good time occupying a seat in the very front row of the theatre for the 2 hour 9 minute run time, watching the shenanigans unfold on the big screen. This movie excels at sustaining its pacing; there's hardly a dull moment, with Peter hardly having time to catch his breath.
This installation shines in depicting incredible CGI visuals and - such as is customary to bringing a character such as Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) to the big screen - smoke and mirrors. Further, the fight scenes were a sight to behold as the choreography was new and exciting while paying homage to the comics with literal comic panels accurately brought in as visuals.
Far From Home is also the first MCU installation without the longstanding traditional cameo from the legendary Stan Lee, and to respectfully let go of a trope because of a real-world occurrence is commendable in this day and age.
In summation, I highly recommend swinging by your nearest theatre to catch Spidey's new antics and shenanigans in Far From Home. It is a fun, action-packed installation that assures a good time for all web-heads everywhere.