Spider-Man: Far from Home accomplishes multiple difficult feats with great humor, excellent character development, and stunning plot twists. First and foremost, it reacts to the events of Avengers: Endgame by deftly closing the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase Three; now known altogether as The Infinity Saga. Peter Parker is thrust into the spotlight, but no longer wants the hero mantle. He yearns for the comforts of high school, friendship, and first love. But the world still needs saving as terrifying new threats have emerged. Does Spider-Man truly have what it takes...or will another rise to the occasion?

Eight months after Thanos' defeat, humanity is still coming to terms with the return of the disappeared. Peter (Tom Holland) is heartbroken by the death of his mentor, Tony Stark. He wants nothing more than to enjoy his high school trip to Europe; and finally make a romantic move on the brooding MJ (Zendaya). Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) reminds him to take his Spider-Man costume, just in case something happens. Peter has zero interest. He ignores persistent calls from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), much to the consternation of Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau); who's spending an awful lot of time with his aunt.

Peter's hope to woo MJ in Venice is shattered by a monstrous attack. Thankfully, a mysterious superhero (Jake Gyllenhaal) appears and thwarts the devastating creature. Peter's reminded by Nick Fury and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) of his duties as an Avenger. Spider-Man cannot sit on the bench for this fight. As the response is crafted to repel further dangerous creatures, Peter develops a bond with the powerful stranger.

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Spider-Man: Far From Home continues the John Hughes-esque, teens coming-of-age themes. Peter is the primary focus, but his schoolmates and teachers are integral to the story's success. MJ, Ned (Jacob Batalon), Flash (Tony Revolori), and the goofy Mr. Harrington (Martin Starr) are a beloved ensemble. They ground the superhero theatrics with real world teenage angst. A hilarious subplot has Ned getting a girl (Angourie Rice), while Peter bumbles around trying to impress MJ. It's delightfully awkward and heartwarming. The high school ensemble is just as important as the big name action leads. Peter Parker's personal growth is not diminished by Spider-Man's challenges. The web slinger and shy nerd go through a maturation process.

Director Jon Watts does a superb job in his second outing. Along with screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, they balance the weight of Spider-Man's journey with clues to the next chapter of the MCU. The supporting characters, heroes, and villains have gotten smarter. Events that transpired previously have huge repercussions to the ongoing storyline. Beyond the loss of Tony Stark and Black Widow, you will be dumbfounded by who pops up in this film, and their purpose. DO NOT MISS THE TWO POST CREDITS SCENES. They are not funny afterthoughts, but highly important plot developments. The entire film is seen in a different light after these bombshells. Prepare to be stupefied.

Spider-Man: Far From Home is tonally different from Avengers: Engame, but no less substantive. Much like Captain Marvel introduced a new heroine after Avengers: Infinity War, Tom Holland's Spider-Man is now the face of the MCU. The character has grown significantly in five feature films, and is ready for center stage. The future is definitely looking bright. Spider-Man: Far From Home is produced by Marvel Studios and Pascal Pictures with distribution by Sony Pictures.

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Julian Roman