Spider-Man: Far From Home (PG)

Starring Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Samuel L Jackson

Directed by Jon Watts 

The SPFX is probably the least interesting thing in the MCU-era Spider-Man’s second solo adventure. No disrespect to the talented artisans, but if you’re a moviegoer of a certain age, the virtual explosions and the chaos that ensues can be a tad blasé and exhausting. The good news is, the movie has a delightful ensemble to fall back on. 

If you approach this as a John Hughes-esque teen rom-com (where the protagonist happens to possess super arachnid powers), it hits a sweet spot or two. If Homecoming is channelling the spirit of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (the red hot Ferrari is now a souped-up suit), then the sequel— helmed by returning director Jon Watts — is a take on National Lampoon’s European Vacation

Following the somber Avengers: Endgame (RIP, Tony Stark and Black Widow), Far From Home is just what fans need: some much-needed levity in a romp where they accompany Peter Parker (Tom Holland, (Tom Holland, owning the part with off-the-charts goofball charm) ) on an excursion in Europe and watch him hang out with his peers (hello, Zendaya as Peter’s object of affection MJ, and Jacob Batalon as BFF Ned). 

Alas, the arrival of Jake Gyllenhaal’s alt-universe-originating Mysterio and grumpy Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) forces Peter to ask himself: Can a superhero ever have a holiday in peace? (Sorry, pal, an Avenger is a 24/7 gig.) Even more pressing a question for Peter (as well as the MCU custodians): Is the swinging protégé — or anyone, for that matter— ready to fill the huge void left behind by Stark whose ghost is literally all over the movie? 

Right now, he’s still work in progress. Let the teen have some fun first. (***1/2)

Photo: Sony Pictures Entertainment 

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