If the Marvel movie-verse is considered a single entity – one 50+ hour movie – then Spider-Man: Far From Home is effectively the post-credit sequence. It’s a little story clean-up, a few teasers, and closure after Avengers: Endgame.

That doesn’t mean there’s a lesser story. A little bloated with visual effects and laser duels, but the intriguing motif of deception hangs over these events. Peter Parker (Tom Holland) wrestles with his own identity crisis, both as a skittish, awkward high school teen and his stint as the masked web-slinger. Far From Home finds Parker repeatedly forced to disguise himself, conflicted as to whether he’s a hero – or even wants to be. Although a core tenant of Spider-Man, in Far From Home, this is handled organically.

Even the big bad this go ‘round is a master of deception, speaking against the growth of drone technology (ironic given Marvel’s overall militaristic arc) through the use of high-tech holograms. It’s the perfect light show for something like this, allowing the freedom needed for Spider-Man to look spectacular as he webs through the air while creating suitable menace.

Far From Home sells itself short; there’s genuine purpose to the explosions and destruction

It’s complete enough to zing contemporary news (“They always tell the truth,” says one character), leading to a grand mid-credits bit to bring about superhero conspiracy theories, if a bit late. Certainly, the drizzle of aliens and motherships in Marvel’s roster spawned countless channels dedicated to deceiving with wild theories. Stay for still another credits bit that will question the “authenticity” of Marvel’s entire series.

Holland’s turn as Spidey is beginning to lasso the “definitive” moniker, genuine in the part, generating empathy without the feeling of desperation or angst. Here, he chases MJ (Zendaya) in Far From Home’s levity moments, and although Parker’s character has done so in every screen Spider-Man interpretation, Holland capably makes this his own.

In a rare success of Marvel’s cinematic, popcorn domination, Far From Home delivers with a villain who acts as more than a placeholder. The twist plays with duplicity, staging action scenes meant as entirely artificial, paying heed to the superlative visual effects throughout this winding series. It’s a script admitting to the fantastic, suggesting everything before was little more than a light show. Far From Home sells itself short; there’s genuine purpose to the explosions and destruction. A small, two second moment between Happy (Jon Favreau) and Parker is the type of character maturation needed to take these films forward.

By dealing with the after effects of Endgame, Parker becomes an inadvertent catalyst for the future. Whether things continue – whether heroes define this world – weighs on him. Spider-Man suffers from a grand case of imposter syndrome. Again, deception, this time of of self. He’s just a kid, and in the corniest way, Far From Home believes children are [Marvel’s] future. Coming of age stories rarely feel so grand.

Spider-Man: Far From Home
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Spider-Man returns to the Marvel-verse in the wildly fun Far From Home, with a stellar motif of deception and doubt to finish off this phase.

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