**THE FOLLOWING POST IS SPOILER-FREE. NO BIG SPOILERS HERE. NOPE, NOPE. READ ON WITHOUT ANY WORRIES.**

And so we come to this – the final entry in Marvel Studios’ ‘Phase 3’. Spider-Man: Far From Home hit cinema screens today, to provide a bookend to Avengers: Endgame.

But is it just a bookend to the biggest movie of the year (and almost the biggest movie of all time) or is there more going on?

Well, before I answer that question, and get to my thoughts about the movie, here’s a little bit of info for those unfamiliar with this latest Spidey outing.

Far From Home is the 23rd entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and picks up shortly after the events of Endgame. The movie stars Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal and Jon Favreau and introduces the mysterious Mysterio into the MCU.

OK, now that the preamble is out of the way it’s time to go back to the question above: Is Spider-Man: Far From Home a bookend to Avengers: Endgame or is it something else entirely?

It’s both actually.

Far From Home is the end, a continuation, and the beginning. It’s a movie which provides some post-Endgame info, has room for a few call backs to the birth of the MCU, and also finds the time to look towards the future of Spider-Man adventures.

It is also another continuation of the sprawling universe that began in 2008’s Iron Man. If this movie is anything to go by, this universe shows no signs of slowing down.

And on top of all that Far From Home is also a very funny film which offers some summer fun with a lot of laughs. A lot of laughs.

The chuckle count on this film is high. From start to finish the jokes fly at the screen from every angle and they all land with expert timing.

Why?

Because the cast are superb and they know what they are doing.

*Clears throat for an announcement*

Tom Holland is the best on-screen Spider-Man/Peter Parker to date. He’s awkward, endearing, geeky, and heroic – everything that Spider-Man is!

Holland brings a likeability to the role that he’s developed over five movies now, but it’s here where he really shines. He’s gone from Spider-teen in Captain America: Civil War to a fully fledged Spider-Man in Far From Home.

Sure, the shadow of Robert Downey Jr still looms large in this world (and this picture), but Holland proves that he has the capabilities to spearhead the MCU without its founder. And if Spider-Man is one of the main players moving forward, then I’m pleased he has Zendaya by his side – a great plus point of this film.

Zendaya’s MJ is a strong foil for Holland’s Peter Parker and she proves to be more than just a bland love interest. Her role has expanded from what we saw of her in Homecoming and hopefully it’ll grow in future instalments too.

The other great piece of casting arrives in the shape of Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio. Gyllenhaal is fab as Mysterio, but then, Mysterio is fab in general.

It’s surprising just how well this character works on the big screen. Any comic book fan familiar with Mysterio will know he’s a pretty goofy (and gimmicky) character, but in Far From Home he’s brought to life perfectly.

Image: ©Marvel Studios/Sony Pictures/Disney

From his relationship with Peter Parker to a notable fight sequence (you’ll know it when you see it), there are scenes in this film which truly allow Mysterio to let loose. And when he’s given the opportunity to demonstrate what he can do, well, wow – just wow. The visuals are fantastic.

With some of the imagery on display I felt like I was seeing the comic book pages brought to life. I never thought that Mysterio would ever work in live-action but I was wrong.

Bravo, director Jon Watts. Bravo, Marvel Studios. Bravo.

Image: ©Marvel Studios/Sony Pictures/Disney

As is pretty obvious by now, I thought this was an excellent film. A great addition to the MCU and also exactly the film audiences need in a season of duds (Hellboy, Men in Black: International etc).

My only issue with this movie is that it suffers a little bit with pacing during the first act. It takes a while to find its footing (until the Mysterio arc kicks in) and that slows down the beginning just a touch.

Once the story shifts into gear the pacing issues are gone and the film is able to effortlessly slide into an action-packed blockbuster. This is a solid Spidey tale packed with character development and great spectacle.

If you’re one of the many (many) people who went to the cinema this year to watch Endgame, then you should watch Far From Home. Not only is this film a coda to Phase 3, it’s also a summer blowout after the emotional roller coaster of the Avengers swansong.

It also goes without saying that when it comes to a Marvel Studios movie it’s worth staying seated for the end credits, and this is very true for Far From Home. THE END CREDIT SCENES ARE WORTH WATCHING.

As this is a spoiler-free discussion, I won’t say what those scenes are, but you can read about them on a separate post. Of course, only click through if you want the spoilers.

Spider-Man: Far From Home is a fantastic way to cap off Phase 3, and it brings to a close a triple-run of Marvel Studios movies for 2019. While I may not have been sold on Captain Marvel, Endgame and Far From Home have proved this has been yet another good year for the House of Ideas and I look forward to seeing what comes next.