How on Earth does a studio follow up something like Avengers: Endgame? A movie that had the intense burden of expectation placed upon it and, by most accounts, absolutely delivered. Something that made for one of the biggest collective pop culture events in recent memory. The simple answer? Go basic (by comparison) and let one of the most charismatic characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe go off and have himself a rousing solo adventure. That's exactly what we get, and then some, with Spider-Man: Far from Home which is, quite simply, spectacular.

Spider-Man: Far From Home centers on Peter Parker (Tom Holland) who has managed to adjust to his life once again following the tragic and intense events of Avengers: Endgame. People close to him, and those in the world who don't know the identity of the man under the mask, are relying on him more than ever now that the world is short on heroes. But Peter needs a break. So, he decides to head out on a European vacation for the summer with his classmates. Unfortunately, his plans are interrupted when he is called into action by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) to help uncover the mystery behind a series of attacks. Peter is paired with a mysterious man by the name of Quentin Beck (Jack Gyllenhaal) who has knowledge of these devastating forces.

To be quite honest, this is a movie that is best seen without much speculation or knowing too much about it. At least no more than Marvel and Sony have been willing to show us. If that. So I won't dive too much into specifics. I will say though that this is much less of an Avengers: Endgame epilogue than I expected it to be. Yes, the events of that movie need to be addressed, and they are. But, to my amazement, they didn't weigh the whole thing down. For the most part, this really is a standalone Spider-Man movie. Sure, he's got some supporting characters in there, but that's nothing new. That happened in the pages of the comics often enough that it doesn't feel out of place or like anything is being shoehorned in. It's an Amazing Spider-Man adventure abroad.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming had to do a lot and it did an admirable job. But the presence of Tony Stark/Iron Man, having to establish Peter Parker as part of this universe and the whole "my bad actions don't seem to have consequences" thing kept it from perhaps being something truly excellent. Now that we've all come to know Tom Holland's Peter Parker a bit better, and that he's had time to mature, that's not an issue here. This is allowed to be the maximum version of a Spider-Man movie within the confines of the MCU. It's firing on all cylinders. It's a visual spectacle. It's hilarious. It's got heart. It's got unexpected moments. It's everything we've come to expect from a great Marvel movie in the modern age.

Tom Holland, it seems, with every outing, only gets better. He's truly an asset to this universe and has become the embodiment of Peter Parker. These movies are infinitely better off with him in (and out of) the suit. The supporting cast is as delightful as they were in the previous outing, if not more so, and Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury, as always, is a welcome presence. The big question; was Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio worth all of the hype? I can only speak from personal experience, but I'd say yes. This is a character with layers and one that fans have been waiting a long time to see on the big screen. Director Jon Watts who, overall, does a killer job here, along with writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, were very faithful to the character. Saying much more would be giving too much away, but Gyllenhaal is utilized well and the movie is better with him being the man under that fishbowl helmet.

I grew up loving Spider-Man. Like generations before me, and I'm sure generations after me, I dreamed of being able to swing from tall buildings and to have that great power and responsibility. This movie made me want that again. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a solo superhero movie this much. And I'm absolutely dying to see where they go with this next. The future is bright and the present is superb. Not that this needs to be said, but stay after the credits! Marvel and Sony are set to unleash {Spider-Man: Far From Home in theaters on July 2.

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Ryan Scott