It’s always the case when the latest installment of the MCU comes out that it gets the comparison treatment of whatever came before. Spider-Man: Homecoming was an excellent introduction of Spider-Man into the MCU and it helped establish this version of the character - as is usually the way - as a fan favorite. From the indication of Spider-Man: Far From Home, it’s clear that he’s not going to be a key part of the MCU going forward.
In his latest outing, Peter Parker and chums head to Europe for a school trip/vacation and he gets caught up in a supposed inter-dimensional battle with the Elementals from another earth. It’s an excellent ending to the MCU’s third phase but how does it stack up against the first official MCU Spider-Man film? Here are five spoiler-free things Far From Home does better than Homecoming and five things it doesn’t.
10 Better: The Visuals
There isn't usually long enough between installments of the MCU to see a substantial difference in the filmmaking techniques and the VFX that are used to bring these visual spectacles to life. But Far From Home has a really unique look to it that's decidedly different from what we've seen recently in the series and certainly than Homecoming.
There are battle sequences throughout - especially when Mysterio’s powers of illusion are involved that look incredible. Far From Home is now stand one of the MCU's most visually impressive entries.
9 Worse: The Character Development
Rewatching Homecoming, it feels like Peter’s character development moves a huge amount over the course of the film but then his appearances in Infinity War and Endgame requires him to be the kid that’s about to lose a parental figure.
That means heading into Far From Home, it feels a bit like things have gone backward and we feel like he needs to do that development over again. By the end of the movie, he’s most definitely in a position to take over the mantle of Iron Man but four appearances to get there feels a bit slow.
8 Better: The Twists
In Homecoming, the big reveal that Adrian Toomes / The Vulture was Liz’s father was a great twist and it’s one that no one saw coming. But let’s be honest - that's only because there was little ground for it to be in the rest of the movie.
Even so, the twists and reveals In Far From Home are that much more impressive. The powers of illusion that Mysterio is capable of means you need to constantly second guess what you're watching. And that’s not even mentioning the twist that’s landed in the final end credits sequence - that one’s seriously something.
7 Worse: The Humor
The script for Homecoming was packed with the jokes and quips you’d expect from Spider-Man. But as the stakes get higher in Far From Home, this is replaced with what feels like worry and lower self-esteem for the character.
The humor instead comes from the fact that he’s a high school kid who wants to impress a girl but that’s just one joke that gets tired pretty quickly. From a plot-moving, pace-setting perspective, the script is great. But as far as humor and character interactions go, it’s left a bit wanting.
6 Better: The Action
Judging by the set pieces in Spider-Man: Homecoming, you get the feeling that Jon Watts was much more comfortable with plotting out the action in an MCU movie this time around. The outcome of that is that the action involving Spider-Man, Mysterio and the Elementals just looks so great.
This is nicely reflected in the character of Peter Parker who’s now a few years into having his spider-like powers and you can see that. He now has a style and grace to his web swinging and slinging that he just doesn’t have in Homecoming.
5 Worse: The Ensemble
There was a freshness to Homecoming’s younger, more vibrant cast. And even though they’re featured even more in Far From Home, they don’t quite have the same impact as they did in the first film. Even though everyone was on top form, there just felt a little something missing.
Maybe it’s a result of the comedown from the heights of Endgame that meant this ensemble cast felt a bit stale but it didn’t feel like we got anything new from the cast of high school kids. The new additions on the other hand in Mysterio and Happy and Fury’s new place in Spider-Man’s world were great.
4 Better: The Music
While Michael Giacchino is the same composer as Homecoming, the music and the score throughout Far From Home feels much more a part of the movie than it did in Spidey’s first MCU outing. It has returning motifs and nods to musical moments from other MCU movies that makes it feel a much more stylish and considered part of the film.
The musical pinnacle of the movie is when Spider-Man needs to design his new suit and does so in a very Tony Stark kind of way. Happy Hogan puts on the iconic AC/DC song Back In Black that’s so associated with Iron Man and it’s a great moment - even if Peter Parker does misremember the band.
3 Worse: The relationship
Peter Parker and MJ’s relationship develops in Far From Home from their casual friendship in Homecoming. While this ultimately ends up being a substantial plot point and is important to Peter’s character development, their relationship is an inch away from feeling a bit over the top and sickly.
The setup of the movie means they’re high school students - that much we know. But a little more subtlety would have been nice from Erik Sommers’ script as their age is made a little too obvious and is sometimes over-played.
2 Better: The Villain
The Vulture wasn’t the most threatening villain in Homecoming but he needn’t have been because the journey was all about Peter’s understanding of his own powers and responsibility. This time around, however, the movie needed a substantial threat for Spider-Man to take on and we certainly got that….
Fans of the comic books know that while Mysterio starts out posing as a good guy as he does throughout the trailers for Far From Home. And that’s exactly what we see here. His quick development lets us get to know him a bit more and that results in a much more fleshed out character alongside Spider-Man.
1 Worse: The Wider Context
Marvel fans now want each installment of the MCU to be filled with cross-over characters, interconnecting plotlines and more easter eggs than you can shake a stick at. That, however, isn't always possible, especially here where the stakes need to be lowered again after Endgame.
The only real cross over in Far From Home is seen in the last of the two post-credit stings. Aside from that, Homecoming has Spidey’s second outing pipped when it comes to its relation to the wider MCU where Iron Man was a fairly substantial part of the movie.