Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ended not with AVENGERS: ENDGAME, but rather with this effective denouement released slightly over two months after it.

Following the events of ENDGAME, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) joins many of his classmates on a two-week school trip across Europe. Although he intends to leave the superhero life behind during that time, his plans of course change dramatically when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) recruits him in their investigation of a series of continental attacks by a group of elemental creatures aptly called the Elementals. Parker is further assisted in his latest mission by Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), who claims to be from an alternate reality within the Multiverse. However, all is not what it appears…

Because the Spider-Man film series is currently entrenched within the MCU (and will be for at least one more movie slated for release next summer), there is of course a lot of prerequisite viewing involved and, once again, I excised a lot from this review just in case some of you still haven’t caught up even now. However, FAR FROM HOME manages to provide not only a satisfying epilogue to the Infinity Saga but also an intriguing setup for Phase 4, almost seamlessly combining the action and humor elements that are now-classic elements of MCU films with those of teen romance and road trip films, both of which fit Parker’s character and setting very well, while throwing in enough twists and turns to keep the story particularly exciting. I also especially enjoyed the witty chemistry between Holland, Jacob Batalon as Parker’s best friend Ned, and Zendaya as his love interest Michelle Jones (known only as “MJ,” a homage to the otherwise unrelated previous Spider-Man love interest, Mary Jane Watson). Also of personal note for me is VFX-intensive mix of rapid-fire illusions which forms a key sequence in the film, as well as yet another impressive score by Michael Giacchino, reprising his role from SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING.

Where the Marvel Cinematic Universe goes from here still remains to be seen, but between this and ENDGAME, it has certainly ended one era on an extreme high—and will start its next era that way as well.