Spider-Man’s worldwide web
Fresh from the blockbuster success of Avengers: Endgame, the Marvel Universe expands further with Spider-Man: Far from Home, the third film in the third screen incarnation detailing the adventures of the perennially popular web-slinger immortalized in Marvel Comics. This film’s narrative picks up “post-Blip,” following the events of Endgame, as Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is about to embark on a class trip to Europe, where he hopes to (finally) make his feelings known to classmate M.J. (Zendaya). But he also has to contend with mounting public opinion that he should assume a leadership position with the Avengers. Of course, where Peter Parker goes, catastrophe seems to follow, compelling him to don the duds of Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man to save the day. And so it happens here (again), as his plans to woo M.J. are repeatedly interrupted by “the Elementals,” destructive beings from another dimension of Earth (or something like that).
Peter’s adolescent angst, which admittedly is wearing a little thin, is still good for a few laughs, and Holland’s gawky appeal is unabated, but Spider-Man: Far From Home works best when the (admittedly terrific) special effects are front and center.
At least this time the United States is spared further destruction, as Venice, Prague, and London bear the brunt of the CGI mayhem. Given how many times the latter city has been leveled in recent movies, maybe it’s time to consider a moratorium on destroying London.
Samuel L. Jackson, the busiest man in movies, and Cobie Smulders coast through the proceedings as Shadow agents Nick Fury and Maria Hill, as do Marisa Tomei as Peter’s aunt May and Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, right-hand man to the late, lamented Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), whose visage crops up time and again, all the better to remind Peter of his responsibilities as a superhero.
Jake Gyllenhaal provides a much-needed boost of mock gravitas and devilish duplicity as Quentin Beck, otherwise known as “Mysterio,” a superhero of somewhat dubious origin and intention … as Peter will eventually discover.
One would think that after five big-screen outings as Spider-Man – including two Avengers films – the crux of the plot would be predicated on something other than his youth and inexperience. Indeed, what transpires in Far from Home (including a twist ending) indicates he’s still gullible. He’s taking an awfully long time to grow up, but so long as the box-office receipts mount, who’s going to tamper with a successful formula, no matter how repetitious it may have become?
See Mark Burger’s reviews of current movies on Burgervideo.com. © 2019, Mark Burger.