This Fourth of July weekend, you should be ready to be inundated with Marvel fans going apeshit over Spider-Man: Far From Home. It's the latest film during the Marvel/Sony Spider-Man era, and the first solo film to drop after the world-changing events of Avengers: Endgame. It's also the last film in Phase Three of Marvel's Cinematic Universe. It's a big deal, and based on our immediate thoughts after the final post-credits scene rolled, it more than earns the consideration of being the best solo Marvel film in its third phase. Yes, we are aware that both Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther are its competition.
Now we know many of you won't even be able to see this film for another week, but it's still our duty to let you know why this film not only bests Homecoming, but shuts down any argument on who the true leader of the Marvel pack is. Follow Frazier, Chopz, and myself as we collect our (as spoiler-free as we can manage) thoughts about Far From Home moments after watching an early screening.
khal: This might be one of the harder films to review ahead of time, primarily because what makes this film one of the best Spider-Man films of all time—and one of the best Marvel films of this third phase—can't be explained without spoiling the fuck out of the movie. In terms of a complete story, Far From Home does an amazing job of not only picking up the pieces post-Endgame, but pushing the narrative of Spider-Man truly being a major deal in this Iron Man-less MCU. Am I off the mark?
Frazier: You’re not off the mark. I’ve seen it twice now and in both groups, I heard people willing to knight this Best Spidey of all time. Some people had that crown on Homecoming, others Spider-Verse. Personally, as a non-victim of recency bias, I’ve got Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 at the top. For now at least. Because I understand where everyone’s coming from...this movie is truly and thoroughly everything you’d want from a Spider-Man movie. And there’s a lot we can’t talk about with regards to why! One thing I love about how Feige runs the MCU is his willingness to just blow shit up...narratively speaking. A decade ago, I feel like films we knew would be trilogies still kept the gloves on to maintain a status quo. And yet, Winter Solider ended SHIELD, Ragnarok nuked Thor’s entire planet, and this...well...stay for the credits. Let’s get to what we can discuss less opaquely. How did this film improve on Homecoming?
Chopz: That was awesome. I was a loud critic of Homecoming because I thought it lacked the stellar action of the first two Tobey films. The final fight scene in Homecoming played out like the ending of a TNT original film. Bravo to all involved in Far From Home, because they fixed that issue and then some for me. The action is A-1 and Tom Holland delivers a fucking epic performance that puts him over Tobey in my book. It's that good. That’s a movie that I want to immediately see again.
khal: Previous talk was of Holland only being signed on for a certain number of films, but based on his performance in Far From Home, I'm gonna need him on for as long as possible. I've said this before, but being a comic book head, I appreciate this take on Peter/Spidey. He's wrestling with his teen feelings while standing tall for the greater good when need be. He's smart AF and finding exciting ways to take out his enemies. He also keeps the funny intact. Kudos to Jon Watts for continuing to keeping these films grounded as much in superhero lore as he does in teenage life. It's balanced much better here than in Homecoming, while still keeping true to what makes good MCU films great.
Frazier: GOAT. GOAT GOAT GOAT. From Michael Keaton to Jake G, the Spider-movies are racking up the legends to play off of Holland. He and Tom develop a real chemistry here and it’s really the backbone of the film in a lot of ways. Jake is one of those capital-T thespians who always goes out of his way to court a challenge. In other A-list but less capable hands, Far From Home could very easily fall apart. But I also don’t want to do a disservice to Tom Holland by insinuating that Gyllenhaal puts this movie on his back. You raise a great point, khal: I need to see Tom go full Hugh Jackman on Peter Parker for awhile.
We’ll get to this film’s implications on the greater-MCU after everyone’s seen it, but what do you guys want from Spidey’s next solo outing? In deferring to the existence of two whole series that came before it and not very long ago, Feige-Watts’ films have to swerve to give us the unexpected. We get nary a mention of Uncle Ben, for example, save for the name on Peter’s Eurotrip suitcase. Centering the films around a very teenaged Peter Parker has been great, but what do y’all want next? Are some aspects non-negotiable? Do we need to see Peter taking up photography and maybe filing some Getty photos for an online publication? And running afoul of a guy named Eddie Brock?
khal: At some point, we need to see the rogues gallery that Sony is greenlighting films for to come together for a proper Spidey-fest. Having Venom tangentially related to the Spider-movies is dope; having them actually interact has to happen at some point.
The thing is, with solo films this satisfying, it's hard to tell how far down the line we get these. Far From Home perfectly showcases how Marvel's mastered the ability to tell self-contained stories that also answer questions about the larger MCU; not all Marvel flicks can pull that off, certainly not as magically as Far From Home has. That's why it's top tier in my book: they're building a franchise that mirrors the major players in the MCU in importance. It's seeing the future now and enjoying each brick's placement on the wall. Like, I know Anthony Mackie was gifted the shield, but until he can carry a film as Holland's Peter Parker does, my money is on Spider-Man being the savior of the MCU.
Frazier: How can he not be with such a talented group around him? This movie’s bench is so deep they have freaking Leon as one of two comic relief teachers on the most improbable high school trip ever. But my son Jacob Batalon is sonning everyone else in sidekick relief and Zendaya furthers the mission to freshen up our third run at these characters by turning Mary Jane into an endearing Daria-type. I will say, I get there’s a larger game of chess being played here, but after Tony in Homecoming and Nick Fury and Maria Hill here, I’d kinda love to see Peter Parker...on his own? Is that too much to ask?
khal: It definitely isn't too much to ask, but with this supporting cast, you definitely anticipate seeing how their stories develop just as much as Peter's. Spider-Man flicks are about so much more than him, and with this fire of a roster giving him perfect looks, I'm fine with them being along for the ride.
That said, if you took the MJs and Neds and Happys away, you'd still have an amazing superhero series to watch grow. Peter has proven that he's up for the task, but makes sure to look out for his day ones. That's why this film trumps the rest of the Phase Three films. Great story, great performances, great intrigue. Some may have done well in one of those areas, but Far From Home excels in all.
Goddamnit, I can't wait to really go in with spoiler alerts lifted, because we have some SHIT to talk about. Until next time, true believers...