It’s almost summer, and Peter Parker is going on vacation. Spider-Man: Far From Home opens this week. Tom Holland returns as Peter Parker and his superhero alter ego, crushing on Zendaya’s MJ and encountering Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio during their European school trip. At its best as a look at a few awkward teenagers amusingly coming out of their shells during a summer tour through Europe. The young cast, led by Tom Holland as the bashful web-slinger and Zendaya as a shy girl slow to lose her inhibitions, is plenty appealing as well as funny. But without a proper, full-on villain, as well as an adequate substitute for Robert Downey Jr.’s late, oft-mentioned Tony Stark, this comes off as a not-so-glittering star in the Marvel firmament.
Still convincing as a bashful teen at 23, Holland first turned up as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War in 2016, then again two years later in Avengers: Infinity War and in between was front and center in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Following in the footsteps, wall-climbing and web-shooting of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, Holland delightfully played through the discovery of his character’s powers and was clearly accepted by audiences, who made Homecoming the sixth-biggest domestic grosser of 2017.
At the outset, Peter Parker is so exhausted from his recent labors that he wants nothing but to spend part of the summer on a whirlwind tour of Europe with some school chums, one of whom, MJ (Zendaya), he would like to make something more than a pal. His ever-thoughtful Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), who looks after him, discreetly slips his Spider costume into his bag, but so intent is Peter at leaving work behind that he doesn’t want to take a call from minder Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, just going through the motions here).
Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man:
A teenager and Avenger who received spider-like abilities after being bitten by a genetically-modified spider. Director Jon Watts said that in contrast to Spider-Man: Homecoming, in which Parker longs for the responsibilities of an adult, in Far From Home, he wants to hang onto his youth, saying, “This film is about the world telling him, ‘It’s time for you to step up and grow up, kid,’ and he’s saying, ‘But I still want to be a kid and go on vacation.'”
Samuel L. Jackson as Talos:
A Skrull hired by Nick Fury to impersonate himself, the former director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Watts describes Fury’s relationship with Parker as “the mean new stepdad”, contrasting his role with Tony Stark’s “supportive cool uncle” in Homecoming, saying, “Fury doesn’t see himself in Peter Parker. Fury sees Peter Parker as an asset that he needs who is too preoccupied with a bunch of high school problems.” Watts originally pitched Homecoming using Fury as a mentor to Parker. Far From Home puts Fury in a situation in which he does not have the same level of control he is used to having. Jackson also portrays the real Nick Fury in the post-credits scene. Ben Mendelsohn portrays Talos without disguise in the post-credits scene, reprising his role from Captain Marvel.
Zendaya as Michelle “MJ”:
Parker’s classmate, friend, and love interest. She is based on Michele Gonzales and Mary Jane Watson.
Cobie Smulders as Soren:
A Skrull and the wife of Talos who disguises as Maria Hill, a former high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who works closely with Nick Fury. Sharon Blynn portrays Soren without disguise in the post-credits scene, reprising her role from Captain Marvel.
Jon Favreau as Harold “Happy” Hogan:
The head of security for Stark Industries and former driver and bodyguard of Tony Stark who looks after Parker. Watts noted Happy would be used to explore the idea of “trying to find your place in the world if the center of your world is gone” given his close friendship to Stark.
J. B. Smoove as Mr. Dell:
Parker’s teacher and a chaperone on his school trip to Europe. The role was written for Smoove after the writers and director enjoyed his performance alongside Holland in an Audi commercial short film produced to promote Homecoming.
Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds:
Parker’s best friend.
Martin Starr as Mr. Harrington:
Parker’s academic decathlon teacher and a chaperone on his school trip to Europe.
Marisa Tomei as May Parker:
Parker’s aunt who is fully aware of his secret identity and wants him to be Spider-Man more so he can help with charitable causes.
Jake Gyllenhaal as Quentin Beck / Mysterio:
A master of trickery and illusion and an expert on the Elementals who claims to be from Earth-833 in the Multiverse. He is recruited by Nick Fury to help Spider-Man stop them. Regarding Beck’s relationship with Parker, Watts says that “If Tony Stark was sort of the mentor in the previous films, we thought it would be interesting to play Mysterio as almost like the cool uncle.”Having Beck team up with Fury and Parker to take on a global threat was “really exciting” to Watts, who wanted to bring the character into the MCU “in a way that people weren’t expecting.”
Several other actors reprise their roles from Homecoming, including Tony Revolori as Parker’s classmate and rival Eugene “Flash” Thompson, Angourie Rice as Parker’s classmate and Ned’s girlfriend Betty Brant, and Hemky Madera as Mr. Delmar, the owner of a local bodega, though the latter’s scenes were cut from the final film and re-purposed for a short film that will be included as part of the film’s Blu-Ray release. Peter Billingsley appears as William Ginter Riva, reprising his role from a previous MCU film, Iron Man, as a scientist who formerly worked for Obadiah Stane and who now works for Beck. Jeff Bridges and Robert Downey, Jr. also appear as Stane and Tony Stark through the use of archival footage from Iron Man and Captain America: Civil War, respectively. J. K. Simmons also appears as J. Jonah Jameson in the mid-credits scene, reprising his role from the non-MCU Spider-Man film trilogy. The Elementals appear in the film through visual effects, with Spider-Man comic book villains filling the roster, such as Hydro-Man and Molten Man.Additionally, Numan Acar portrays Fury’s associate Dimitri, and Remy Hii plays Brad Davis, a popular student who Parker sees as competition for MJ’s affection. Zach Barack portrays Zach, one of Parker’s new classmates, while Oli Hill was cast in an undisclosed role that was cut from the final film.