By V Shivani (20S06R) and Ruchira Ramaswamy (20S03A)
Far From Home is the fast-paced sequel to Homecoming, following Peter and his high school classmates on a school trip to Europe, in the aftermath of Endgame.
It starts off with what should have been a tear-jerking memorial for the Avengers we lost in Endgame, but turned out to be more of a comical slideshow with Getty Images © and comic sans font (that’s cold, man). This memorial was followed by a news report by two high schoolers at the Midtown School of Science and Technology which filled in the major loophole that left Endgame fans puzzled: what happened to make all the kids who disintegrated due to the infamous “Snap” reappear five years later, looking exactly the same?
In the aftermath of Endgame, those who survived The Snap aged five years while those dusted away reappeared as themselves before Thanos intervened, and were retained in high school (this is where we pray to the gods and ask them that if we do get retained, we get retained because of a badass reason like this, and not because we failed everything).
This movie has absolutely no shortage of scenes that will hit you right in the feels, making you pine for everyone’s favourite genius-billionaire-playboy-philanthropist—the one and only Tony Stark and his cracking wit. Gone is a huge chunk of Peter Parker’s heart, along with the red-and-gold suited armour that swoops in from the horizon to save the day and America’s A**TM (R.I.P.). We find Peter grappling with the devastating loss of not only a mentor, but a friend and the closest thing he had to a father figure.
At the start of Far From Home, Peter is trying his hardest to shake off the weight of these responsibilities by travelling halfway across the world to Europe on a school trip. He has a plan: get the girl of his dreams a beautiful necklace, give it to her when they’re on the Eiffel Tower in the city of love, and maybe even kiss her. Desperately longing for a normal life, he deliberately leaves his spider suit behind in New York, only to find it stashed back in his suitcase by Aunt May.
The friendly neighbourhood Spider Man faces a mammoth and heart-wrenching decision that no 16-year-old ever should: does he want to step up when the world needs saving, filling the impossibly large armour that Iron Man left behind? Or does he want to be a normal high school boy hanging out with his friends and nursing an adorably dorky crush on a girl?
Just as most Marvel movies go, this one throws many curveballs at Peter’s plan to follow his heart’s true desire. One of these curveballs goes by the name of Quentin Beck.
Quentin Beck, or Mysterio (yes, we’re using made-up names now), is a super-hero from another dimension (aka Earth-833) who’s here on our Earth to fight some new monstrosities called the Elementals. There are four Elementals: Earth, Air, Water and Fire, and Beck has already defeated the Earth Elemental in Mexico. This led to his recruitment by Nick Fury and Maria Hill. Unfortunately for Peter, the Water Elemental attacks Venice, where he and his classmates had kicked off their Europe trip. Beck comes to their rescue to defeat the Water Elemental with a little help from Peter. This results in Peter being summoned to help fight the rest of the Elementals, which is where we move on to the iconic Marvel regular, Nick Fury.
And what better way to make an entrance than hijacking a school trip? The consequence of (ill-advisedly) ghosting Fury, it seems, is that he materialises in your hotel room and shoots your best friend with a tranquilliser dart just so you can have a one-on-one chat about having to save the world from Elementals. Nick Fury always gets what he wants. And so Peter is forced to help Fury, Hill and Beck fight the Elementals in Prague, where the Fire Elemental is projected to strike. Do you hear that? That’s the sound of his ‘kiss on the Eiffel Tower with MJ’ dream being crushed.
Peter opens the sleek box that Fury had handed him, revealing a pair of glasses with classic black frames and tinted lenses. Meet E.D.I.T.H., the AI glasses which have access to all of Stark Industries’ databases and a massive orbital weapon supply. The quintessential spirit of Tony Stark radiates, from the style of these glasses to its witty name that no one else would have coined—Even Dead, I’m The Hero (can Tony Stark get any more iconic?). Peter inheriting Stark’s glasses is a poignant moment in the movie, signifying the trust and heavy responsibility that has been passed down from one superhero to another.
This is the true test of Peter’s skill—does he have what it takes to wield this immense power at his fingertips, live up not only to Tony’s expectations, but also the world’s, and still be a teenager? Well, we’ll let you decide, because this is what Peter does with his new glasses: try to kill his competition for MJ’s heart.
And that is how we arrive at curveball number three, Brad Davis. Brad is one of the kids in Peter’s high school who did not Blip away and so he’s now technically 21. Effortlessly cool and smooth—the polar opposite of Peter—it doesn’t come as a surprise when Brad sparks jealousy by spending time with MJ. Now that Brad is also interested in MJ, so he is willing to do anything to get Peter out of the picture. This includes following him to a secluded spot where Peter meets with a Victoria’s Secret angel-esque agent who gives him his new stealth suit and gets him to start removing his clothes to try it on.
“What?” Peter blubbered in shock. As moviegoers who have an eye for the beautiful things in life, our reactions were also along the lines of WHAT?? Followed by a resounding yes, please.
Brad enters right as Peter is taking his pants off and you can imagine what that must look like so he quickly takes a picture of the scandalous scene and threatens to show it to MJ. This is how we end up with Peter almost killing everyone on the trip by launching a drone strike on Brad using E.D.I.T.H. and just narrowly managing to take it down.
That brings us to the quirky character that MJ is. She’s not your regular love-interest—not immediately likeable, not the most gorgeous girl in the class or the most popular. She’s a little nerdy, rarely smiles, and has hair perpetually shrouding her face. Unbeknownst to Peter, she does notice him, even though she claims it’s only because she is 67% sure he is Spider Man (way to crush Peter’s heart, MJ). Zendaya’s MJ makes a refreshing heroine. She may not have a spidey-sense or the ability to scamper up skyscrapers, but she has the admirable power of staying true to herself. She does not have to give up her more feminine side, or her sardonic humour to catch anyone’s eye. Similarly, her steadfast feminist side is not made to be the focal point of her character. It is just a natural part of her complexity, but not the only thing that defines her. That being said, this comeback of hers is undoubtedly iconic:
“You look really pretty,” “And therefore I have value?”MJ
She is an ode to every ordinary girl out there—originality and self-contentment often make a more impressive statement than pure muscle or sex-appeal.
Thanks to MJ’s silent, observant eye, she and Peter uncover a shocking secret about Mysterio and the Elementals. You see, Peter had decided that Beck was a worthy successor of Iron Man after gaining a newfound admiration of him when they destroyed the Fire Elemental in Prague. This led to him handing over E.D.I.T.H. over to Beck so that he could relinquish his responsibilities of becoming the next Iron Man and return to his normal high school life. It’s a rush of relief that he no longer has to shoulder this responsibility. But it is never this easy As the bar around Beck glitches and falls away, he brandishes E.D.I.T.H to rousing applause. This is the heart-stopping moment when we learn that Peter has messed up big, big time. Because Beck is the bad guy. Beck was once a holographic-illusions specialist at Stark Industries who got fired for being too unhinged. Now, he leads a team of individuals who all have a vengeance against Tony Stark, using illusion technology to fake the Elemental attacks and paint himself as the world’s next hero.
Reeling from this revelation, Peter is left with no choice but to come clean to Nick Fury and fix his massive blunder. Back in the hotel, as he hurriedly pulls off his shirt and slides into his suit, MJ, stoically facing the other direction, cannot help but steal a glance at his deliciously chiseled chest and abs. The chemistry in the room is palpable. The stolen glances, soft smiles, and wonderstruck silences between Peter and MJ intensifies the will-they-won’t-they situation. This pure, unadulterated adoration remains unfortunately ensnared in a scenario where action is escalating and stakes are getting higher. It practically drives us to the edge of despair, where we feel torn just as Peter does: when will having to save the world stop getting in the way of young love?
Peter rushes into Nick Fury’s office in Berlin and confesses about having screwed the pooch hard. Big time. Fury, calm and dependable as ever, processes the information, and we can all breathe a sigh of relief that at least someone has Peter’s back.
Alas, right when we let loose a breath of relief, utter horror hits the next moment. As Aunt May would have said, the Peter Tingles hit, and just as he shouts a warning to Fury, the office and ground beneath him give way to Beck’s illusion. Falling through floors, tumbling through mazes and braving an army of Mysterios, Peter puts up a tough fight. With more illusions, Beck manages to get out of Peter who he’s told his secret to (MJ, Ned and Betty) so that he can be sure to eliminate these threats to his masterplan. Driven into a corner on the train tracks, and before we can blink, the train takes Spider Man down.
Miraculously alive, Peter regains consciousness to find himself in a jail in Netherlands, his suit stolen, face bruised and all hope he had left gone. Using the last of his willpower, he breaks out and calls someone, pleading for them to come and help him.
As Peter stumbles through a field of tulips, it almost seems too good to be true as a jet descends and Happy emerges. As Happy patches up a banged-up Peter, he visibly grapples not only with physical exhaustion and pain, but also the pain of being torn between his friends and normalcy, and the superhero life. This is where Tom Holland, who has so far done an outstanding job as the dorky, adorable Peter Parker, proves to us his acting worth.
This is the part which makes your heart just shatter into a million pieces because frankly Tom Holland is just that good at pulling at our heartstrings. Looking extremely sleek in all black, eyes puffy from crying and face contorted with agony, all his emotions come pouring out: the guilt of his misjudgment, the shame of wanting a normal life, the fear for innocent citizens and the devastation of losing Tony Stark. Peter stares right into our souls here and watching this in the theatre is an out of this world experience.
The pain that Tony Stark’s death left Peter with fuels this emotional rollercoaster of a scene, with Peter looking to Happy for some solace. What we might not have realised in Endgame is that when Tony died, Happy lost a huge part of his heart too; Tony had been his best friend all these years.
In the words of our beloved Captain Steve Rogers,
“I keep telling people to move on. Some do. But not us.”
And Peter and Happy would never move on. But they could get by together.
Once Peter realises what he has to do, he also realises that he needs a new suit. At this, Happy reveals a suit-manufacturing machine left behind by Stark in the jet.
“You take care of the suit. I’ll take care of the music.”
Flashbacks to Iron Man as AC/DC’s Back in Black starts playing while Peter gets to work on his new suit giving us all major Tony Stark vibes and nostalgia. The smooth efficiency with which he operates the high-tech machines, his stride confident and muscles rippling, is the embodiment of a superhero coming into his own. He has finally come to terms with what his heart wants, and that is to save the world not as the next Iron Man, but as Peter Parker, your friendly neighbourhood spiderman. The suit that takes form is red and black, triumphant, and announcing the return of this high school superhero with a renewed purpose. As Tom Holland himself said “the way that it is made is an homage to the godfather of the MCU”.
This is a perfectly crafted moment where he realises he can hold his own. Because b***h, please, he’s been to space.
Happy flies the jet to London, where Beck is planning to use E.D.I.T.H. to orchestrate his grandest illusion yet, a fusion of all four Elementals attacking the city and in particular, Peter’s friends. The daunting challenge of having to face off against Beck again ahead of him, Peter jumps off the jet with his new suit and a plan to gain the upper hand. Luckily for Peter, he has the element of surprise on his side this time; and he knows what he’s in for so he won’t be falling for any more illusions. After all, if it’s not real, then it can’t hurt him right?
After an action-packed fight sequence with harrowing and heart-stopping stunts, the man who was once bursting with bravado and an evil mastermind plan now lays forlornly on the bridge, begging Peter’s forgiveness. Jake Gyllenhaal does very good puppy eyes that’ll melt your heart and convince you that Beck is just a broken man with nothing left to fight for. Just as you thought this movie couldn’t twist and turn anymore, we now have the villain imploring for mercy.
You were wrong. In what seems to be the last, gargantuan twist, Peter’s hand shoots out and seizes the gun aimed at his back. He can always rely on his trusty Peter Tingles™ to have his back and this time it stops the real Quentin Beck from shooting him in the back. The body lying on the floor, pleading for forgiveness had been an illusion. But it was the last of Beck’s illusions because Peter turns the gun on him and puts an end to his reign.
And in the middle of that wrecked bridge, the fiery sky thick with plumes of smoke, Peter finally gets his kiss with MJ. It’s the perfect culmination of joyous, victorious and celebratory emotions.
Peter gets the girl, but it’s far from a happy ending for him. Stick around for this mid-credits scene that will make your heart and mouth drop. What’s next in store for Spider Man? Definitely not swinging around Queens with MJ in arms and being a carefree high-schooler, that’s for sure.