Spider-Man’s European vacation is summer fun

Film | by Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Spider-Man: Far From Home
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4 out of 5

The last two Avengers movies were pretty heavy. Life, death, change; they had it all. Spider-Man: Far From Home? Not so much. That’s not to say it ignores the consequences of Thanos’ Marvel Cinematic Universe-devastating snap (rechristened “The Blip”), but these characters pretty much just want to get back to normal life. Or at least “normal” for the MCU.

Far From Home finds Peter Parker about to go on to Europe on a class trip. He’s looking forward to leaving his Spidey suit home and spending time with M.J. (Zendaya, less standoffish than last time), whom he’s developed feelings for. Nick Fury, however, has other plans: Parker gets most of Tony Stark’s tech, along with expectations he’ll stay ready to go into hero-mode at the drop of a spider-hat. His knees buckle under the responsibility, as per usual.

The MCU’s first post-Blip threat are the extra-dimensional Elementals — giant monsters made of water, fire, wind and, I dunno, dirt. Chasing them is Quentin Beck, a.k.a. Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), a costumed hero bent on revenge after the Elementals wreaked havoc on his Earth.

Parker sees Beck as a replacement father figure and ticket out of his Avengers obligations. You don’t need to be a comic connoisseur to guess how well Peter’s plans pan out.

Returning spider-director Jon Watts takes big swings and connects on more than he misses. For most of the movie I wasn’t sold on the Elementals storyline (their motivations are petty, at best), but it pays off in spades. The final battle — that predictable, oft-tedious action-movie requirement — even breaks new ground. Spider-Man: Far From Home is no Spider-verse, but brownie points for trying.

It’s all so much fun, I can already hear angry nerds complaining it’s not as dark as Endgame. Nuts to that. Also, the stinger is one for the ages, so avoid spoilers by any means necessary — up to and including disintegrating loose talkers with Infinity Gauntlets.