SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME MOVIE REVIEW
A direct follow-up to Avengers: Endgame and the last movie in the MCU’s vastly speculated Phase 3, Spider-Man Far From Home is hugely entertaining to say the least!
Acting as a bridge between the tumultuous Avengers: Endgame and the exciting kick-off to the much-anticipated Phase 4 of the MCU, Spider-Man Far From Home is a light-hearted, frequently funny and cleverly executed action-adventure film.
“Peter Parker may have been given a new lease on life in Endgame, but that doesn’t mean it’s all rosy now or that the sort of ethical challenges that have oft-tried the wall-crawler’s sense of personal life vs. superhero duty have diminished. Peter Parker’s realization of that particular cross to bear is at the heart of this highly entertaining new romp.”
Tony Stark is dead, but they didn’t let him nor his memory fade away in Spider-Man Far From Home. Everywhere you look throughout the movie, whether it’s New York, Venice, Prague or Austria, you’ll find a mural, oversized image or a shrine of the fallen hero who gave his life to save the universe.
“Everywhere I look, I see his face.”
Actually, quite literally! And why not? The guy saved the whole freakin universe!
“Peter struggles to be who Tony wanted him to be even as he remains painfully aware that he’s just a local hero — or, at least he’d prefer to stay that way, his recent cosmic adventures notwithstanding. But there’s no kinda-sorta being an Avenger: you’re either one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes or you’re not. Far From Home sees Spidey tested by a new out-of-this-world threat that will determine whether he is truly worthy of Tony’s high hopes for him or not, a grand challenge that sees this battle-tested wall-crawler confront a global danger in a way that his friendly neighborhood Homecoming self would have been ill-prepared to face.”
All the ways Spider-Man Far from Home connects to Iron Man (2008)
Tony Stark is gone. But his memory looms on in Far From Home. In many ways, Spider-Man Far From Home is an ode to Iron Man 1, the movie that kicked-off the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Be it the music or the tech, the throwbacks to Iron Man are strong! For instance, when Happy (Jon Favreau) says, “You take care of the suit, I’ll take care of the music” as AC/DC’s “Back in Black” plays in the background and Peter shouts, “I love Led Zeppelin!” (completely oblivious of the emotional connect). This isn’t a goofy mistake but rather an emotional beat for the audience as the tone has stuck with them since the inception of the MCU.
“The end of Phase 3 directly echoes 2008’s Iron Man”
Far From Home is the perfect bookend to the Infinity Saga, not just in terms of dealing with Tony’s death in Avengers: Endgame, but how it’s narratively tied to the first film in MCU. Tony was the one who sought Peter out, who believed in him when nobody else did or when “everyone thought I was crazy to recruit a fourteen-year-old kid.” Since the kid from Queens was introduced in Captain America: Civil War, he’s looked up to Tony as his mentor, never quite aware of how much the Iron Man adored him. He’s without his father figure in Far From Home, but Tony has not quite gone: his influence and presence can be seen all over the film.
“The world needs the next Iron Man”. Peter struggles to maintain the legacy of Tony Stark as the whole world looks up to him to become the next Iron Man. Peter constantly keeps telling himself and others that he is just “a friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man” and believes in looking out for the little guy. In the movie we learn that Tony has left Peter a gift, his very own enhanced glasses uploaded with EDITH (a.k.a “Even Dead, I’m The Hero” — “Tony loved his acronyms”), a natural-language interface AI assistant for helping out with his superhero duties. While the glasses are almost identical to the one Tony wore in Avengers: Infinity War, there is no denying how much they transform Peter’s face: he could be a younger version of Tony, and we begin to note the comparisons between mentor and mentee.
Peter hands over the multi-billion-dollar tech EDITH to Beck/Mysterio as he believes that he is not up to the responsibilities of Iron Man. This is when we discover the plot of the movie and the unhinged ruse of Mysterio’s illusions. The team behind Beck’s illusions is made up of other ex-employees who were not given credit for their work. The revelation that one particular individual, William Ginter Riva (Peter Billingsley, reprising his role from 11 years ago) not only worked for Stark Enterprises but was the scientist Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges) barked the immortal lines to “TONY STARK WAS ABLE TO BUILD THIS IN A CAVE! WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!” in Iron Man, only makes the connections between the beginning of Phase 1 and the conclusion of Phase 3 stronger. We can even go as far as to say the both Beck and Stane are using a similar power trip method: earning the younger, smarter man’s trust, appearing as their ally, but whose real mission is to gain their power and end their lives, although in Mysterio’s case, not initially.
As mentioned above, tech, too, plays a part in their similarities, not something we usually associate with Spider-Man, even with his genius. Having lost his suit (his Stark upgrade from Captain America: Civil War and the new black suit dubbed “Night Monkey” provided by Fury), Peter designs and 3D-prints one on a Stark Industries plane. Happy Hogan looks on tenderly, for the physical similarities to Tony in his moment are uncanny (let’s not forget that Favreau directed the first two Iron Man movies). Peter brings up the tech, selects, tests and swipes screens with all the skill and ease of somebody both familiar with the equipment and who has been creating this way for a number of years. When he plunges his arm down and into what would be the glove part of his Spidey suit, the maneuver is nearly identical to when Tony designed his Mark II Iron Man suit
“With great power, comes great responsibilities”. And a lot of insecurities! Tony’s fuelled with his internal demons and insecurities. As he said in Iron Man 3, “We create our own demons”, he suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from the events of the first Avengers movie, having multiple panic attacks in public places. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, he says to Nick Fury “And I’m the man who killed the Avengers.” He is a man filled with doubts. Peter, too, constantly doubts himself, which he realizes when Happy picks him up in the Netherlands. “Tony was my best friend,” Happy tells Peter, “but he was a mess. He second guessed everything. The one thing he didn’t second guess was you.” Like Tony gaining the knowledge and encouragement from his father Howard Stark in Iron Man 2, Happy’s reassuring words to Peter provide the jolt he needs to pick himself up, and complete his mission.
The mid-credits scene shows none other than J. Jonah Jameson of the Daily Bugle popping up on a giant screen at Times Square to reveal a posthumous message from Mysterio. Spider-Man is the enemy, he says, and “his name is Peter Parker” followed by Peter’s high school yearbook photo.
Unlike most of his “super friends”, Peter had managed to keep his alter ego hidden until now, and the revelation goes against everything we expect to see in a Spider-Man movie. James Watt, Director of Far from Home knew from the beginning that he wanted to reveal Spider-Man’s true identity.
While ending Phase 3 on a WTF moment (classic MCU), the announcement inverts a particular moment from Iron Man. At the end of the first film, we see Tony unexpectedly reveal to the media and the world that “I am Iron Man,” an original ad-lib by Robert Downey Jr. that set a new path for superhero movies and the MCU’s success. Iron Man set a precedent for superheroes, but Peter’s anonymity allows him to lead a normal life. This is all set to change in future MCU movies.
While many believed Spider-Man Far From Home to usher in a new era and mark the beginning of Phase 4, it’s subtle echoing of Iron Man, and the lasting presence of Tony Stark, make it the seamless conclusion to Phase 3. The movies are completely different, yet the call-backs to Iron Man are comforting in this post Avengers: Endgame age. And still not in terms with a world without Iron Man, fans just might need a little nostalgia.
Overall Spider-Man Far From Home is