Early Spider-Man: Far From Home Reviews Peg Tom Holland as New 'Heart of the MCU'
Tom Holland and Spider-Man: Far From Home are earning early praise from critics
Is the Marvel Cinematic Universe in good hands after, you know, what happened at the end of Avengers: Endgame? The answer, per the majority of critics coming out of early screenings of Spider-Man: Far From Home, is yes.
Directed by Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s Jon Watts, Tom Holland‘s next solo outing as Marvel’s web-slinger “solidifies him as the new and improved heart of the MCU,” as Mashable’s Alexis Nedd writes. Other critics, including EW’s Darren Franich, praise Jake Gyllenhaal’s “clever, careful performance” as Mysterio, a new mysterious face on the block.
Still in mourning for mentor Tony Stark and grappling with the world asking who will be the new Iron Man, Peter just wants to go on his school trip to Europe and profess his feelings for MJ (Zendaya). But Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) pops in to recruit Spider-Man for a mission combating these Elemental creatures emerging around the world.
Also returning for the Spidey sequel includes Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, Jacob Batalon as Ned, Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, and Jon Favreau as Happy.
Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman calls Far From Home “closer, in spirit, to the good Tobey Maguire films,” while The Wrap‘s Alonso Duralde writes how Watts and the screenwriters “carved out a space for Spider-Man that feels uniquely breezy and charming while still fitting the larger structure of the Marvel movies.”
To be fair, not everyone came out of theaters singing the film’s praises. IndieWire’s David Ehrlich called it “a cute but painfully unadventurous bit of superhero housekeeping,” as Vanity Fair‘s Richard Lawson felt annoyed by “how the film smirks and winks as if it’s in on the fatigue, offering an illusion of cool when at heart it’s as slavishly on-message as everything else.”
Read more reviews below.
WATCH: Samuel L. Jackson & Tom Holland Reveal They Never Had a School Trip like ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’
Darren Franich (Entertainment Weekly)
“I wound up liking Far From Home more than any Spider-Man film this decade. There’s something eerie in the constant assertion of Tony Stark as Tycoon SuperJesus — but don’t underestimate the shifty layers the final act. The hero worship has a slippery quality here, with a less cheerful purpose than the sincere devotion of Homecoming or Into the Spider-Verse. The teen characters really are a blast, even if one key person skips a whole movie of development between scenes. Some digital effects look good in a boring way, and then some digital effects look bad in a perfect way. ‘Is this real?’ asks Spider-Man. In the end, I really didn’t know. Far From Home succeeds with an unusual, troubling virtue: The best parts are the most fake.”
Todd McCarthy (The Hollywood Reporter)
“The young cast, led by Tom Holland as the bashful web-slinger and Zendaya as a shy girl slow to lose her inhibitions, is plenty appealing as well as funny. But without a proper, full-on villain, as well as an adequate substitute for Robert Downey Jr.’s late, oft-mentioned Tony Stark, this comes off as a less than glittering star in the Marvel firmament. It pales even more when compared to Sony’s wildly imaginative animated feature of last year, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”
Owen Gleiberman (Variety)
“Where does Far From Home fall on the scale of Spider-Man movies? It’s more urgent than the last one (and should be even bigger at the box office), with a richer sense of malevolence, and Holland’s kid-in-over-his-head hero — awkward and ingenuous, romantic and quicksilver — is alive inside in a way that Andrew Garfield’s Peter never was. Far From Home gets closer, in spirit, to the good Tobey Maguire films.”
Alonso Duralde (The Wrap)
“In a year that’s only half-done, audience members would be forgiven for having superhero fatigue after Captain Marvel, Shazam! and Avengers: Endgame. (It’s almost welcome news that we aren’t getting the next MCU movie until 2020.) But with a focus on character-based comedy, coming-of-age anxieties, and super-battles that exist in very specific geographical locations, returning writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers and director Jon Watts have carved out a space for Spider-Man that feels uniquely breezy and charming while still fitting the larger structure of the Marvel movies. (They even play with that structure, and with deep cuts from the MCU’s history, in very clever ways.)”
Richard Lawson (Vanity Fair)
“If yet another Marvel movie is a little self-conscious about being yet another Marvel movie, does that excuse it from being, well, yet another Marvel movie? That’s the tricky territory that Spider-Man: Far From Home (co-released by Sony on July 2) finds itself in, barely two months after Avengers: Endgame swept across the globe, taking some major heroes with it. Watching the trailer for Far From Home, I found myself thinking, this? Again? Already?? In response, Jon Watts’s film seems to nod its head and say, ‘I know, know,’ a little sheepish about its mere existence. But then it ups and does all the old Marvel stuff anyway, seeming more and more earnest and ardent about this factory-cult as it goes.”
Matt Singer (ScreenCrush)
“Watts and his team faced a tough task with this movie, following two gigantic Avengers and the dimension-jumping Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Their smart solution was to tell a classical story in that Lee/Ditko mold. While no one says ‘with great power comes great responsibility,’ this is about as faithful an adaptation of those old Amazing Spider-Man fables as has been brought to the screen so far. And it sets the stage perfectly, with a shocking cliffhanger, for whatever Marvel has in store for us next.”
Mike Ryan (UPROXX)
“So, yes, Spider-Man: Far From Home is funny and clever – in the end, Peter just wants to enjoy his class trip to Europe with the hopes of growing closer to MJ (Zendaya) – but it’s also a movie about both mourning and deception. Peter is still reeling from the loss of Tony Stark, who remains a specter wherever Peter turns. Peter’s emotions are raw, which also leaves him more susceptible to forces preying on his emotional state. It’s a movie filled with surprises (I don’t say that lightly) that leaves Peter, and a viewer, wondering who is real and who can be trusted. Yet it never feels like a movie filled with dread. It’s a hopeful tone, which, after the last two Avengers movies, is very welcome.”
David Ehrlich (IndieWire)
“Don’t be fooled by the title, or the fact that Marvel finally shot a movie outside of Atlanta: Spider-Man: Far From Home is a cute but painfully unadventurous bit of superhero housekeeping that only exists to clean up the cataclysmic mess that Avengers: Endgame left behind. As a piece of connective tissue in an ever-metastasizing cinematic universe, Tom Holland’s sophomore (solo) outing as Peter Parker does a clever job of closing the door on one phase and nudging it open to another; it’s funny and colorful and hinges on some MCU deep-cuts that even the most hardcore fans won’t be able to anticipate. As a stand-alone story, however — another predictable call to action about the burdens of growing up and becoming the person that others believe you can be — it’s a hollow exercise in going through the motions.”
Alexis Nedd (Mashable)
“Tom Holland instantly proved to be the perfect Spider-Man way back in Captain America: Civil War, but his performance now solidifies him as the new and improved heart of the MCU. Holland is so magnetic in Far From Home that even when Peter makes stupid choices (and hoo boy, he really craps the bed a few times), he is granted instant forgiveness. Peter is 16 years old in this movie, and much is made of the tension between him shouldering the burden of heroism while still being an actual child in a post–Iron Man world. Watching Peter experience grief, stress, and guilt over his role in this new reality is pretty difficult stuff, but in Holland’s hands the emotional journey Peter takes feels natural and relatable.”
Charles Pulliam-Moore (io9)
“Because Spider-Man: Far From Home is the first major Marvel Cinematic Universe film set explicitly after the events of Avengers: Endgame, the great responsibility resting on its shoulders is twofold. Not only does the movie have to bring its titular hero back down to Earth from the most epic adventure of his life, it also has the vital job of setting an overarching tone and perspective for the next phase of Marvel’s grand cinematic project. The great thing is that the film does all of that and a whole hell of a lot more.”
Spider-Man: Far From Home will open in theaters on July 2.
This article originally appeared on Ew.com