'Spider-Man: Far From Home' weaves ideal mix of action, comedy and teen angst

  • Peter Parker (Tom Holland) fights a new world threat in "Spider-Man: Far From Home."

    Peter Parker (Tom Holland) fights a new world threat in "Spider-Man: Far From Home." Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment

 
 
Updated 7/5/2019 10:16 AM

"Spider-Man: Far From Home" -- ★ ★ ★ ½

Everything in "Spider-Man: Far From Home" leads to a single fearless act of bravery: Nervous Peter Parker kisses MJ, the girl of his Spidey dreams.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Meanwhile, diabolical monsters from another dimension -- modeled after the elements earth, wind, water and fire -- threaten to destroy the world.

To Peter, these entities are annoying distractions from his most important mission: To finally declare his feelings for MJ during a high school class trip to Europe.

But we all know what comes with great power, right?

"Spider-Man: Far From Home" ranks as the best webslinger movie to accurately capture the teen angsty subtext of Marvel Comics' iconic teenage superhero from the 1960s comic books.

If John Hughes and John McTiernan had ever teamed up to make a superhero movie, they'd have created something like this one.

Peter Parker (Tom Holland) springs into action in "Spider-Man: Far From Home."
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) springs into action in "Spider-Man: Far From Home." - Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment
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"Far From Home" also provides an ideal antidote to "Avengers: Endgame," a charmless, overly ambitious slugfest that buckled under its own epic weight.

Here, director Jon Watts (director/writer of the effervescent "Spider-Man: Homecoming") masterfully juxtaposes action sequences with touching revelations, all wrapped up in an organically spontaneous sense of self-effacing humor.

"Far From Home" brings us up to date with a daffy tribute to the deceased Avengers, accompanied by Whitney Houston's song "I Will Always Love You."

The world recovers from the "Blip," the resurrection of half the universe's population eradicated by villainous Thanos two "Avengers" films ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Peter, again played by winning British actor Tom Holland, still mourns the loss of his mentor, Ironman Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), who continues to guide his protégé though technology, such as the computerized sunglasses operated by EDITH, an acronym for "Even Dead I'm The Hero."

Peter Parker (Tom Holland), right, struggles with bad guys and his feelings for MJ (Zendaya) in "Spider-Man: Far From Home."
Peter Parker (Tom Holland), right, struggles with bad guys and his feelings for MJ (Zendaya) in "Spider-Man: Far From Home." - Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment

When Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), a superhero from another dimension, arrives on Earth (one of many Earths, we're told) to fight the elemental monsters, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) wants to hook him up with Spider-Man because all the other Avengers are apparently too busy.

We get the usual assault of visually overwhelming, bloodless, special-effects carnage meted out to the big cities such as Berlin, London, Prague and Venice.

But the real attraction in "Far From Home" remains the adolescent mindset of Peter, MJ (Zendaya) and Peter's best friend, Ned (Jacob Batalon), who take the end-of-the-world issue seriously, but how can they seriously get a date?

Outside of Downey's smart, sarcastic, ironclad Tony Stark, Holland has created the franchise's most relatable, personally imprinted superhero, an unassuming 16-year-old Queens high school kid who never wanted to be the hope of planet Earth.

But like a spider on a window, he sticks to it.

• • •

Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L. Jackson, Jacob Batalon, Marisa Tomei

Directed by: Jon Watts

Other: A Columbia Pictures release. Rated PG-13 for language, violence. 129 minutes

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