Spoiler warning: Do not read this review of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” if you haven’t seen “Avengers: Endgame." But it’s been nearly two months; what’s taking you so long?
The stakes are higher than ever for our friendly neighborhood wall-crawler in the fast-paced and funny “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” with the web-slinging hero battling a new nemesis and facing the responsibility of being a superhero in a post-Tony Stark world.
The death of Iron Man, as shown in “Avengers: Endgame,” weighs heavily in this story — as does the sudden return of half of the world’s population from the undoing of Thanos’ snap, what everyone eight months later is calling “The Blip.” Certainly Peter Parker (Tom Holland) would like to get back to normal life, which for him means pining over his morbid yet beautiful classmate MJ (played by Zendaya).
Peter sees his chance when his class goes on a summer science trip to Europe. But when a strange monster rises from the water to wreak havoc on Venice, Peter is compelled to spring into action. Yet it’s another hero on the scene, in a green cape and a crystal-ball helmet (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), who puts the creature out of commission. He, Quentin Beck, earns the superhero name Mysterio.
The appearance of the creature also brings Peter an unwelcome visit from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who urges Peter to join Mysterio in the fight against other such creatures, called The Elementals. Peter worries that being Spider-Man full-time will endanger his friends, like MJ and his best bud Ned (Jacob Batalon).
“Can’t I just be a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man?” Peter asks Fury, who replies with Jacksonian impatience: “B----, please. You’ve been to space.”
Filling Tony Stark’s shoes is a tall order for a high school kid, even with Tony’s assistant Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) helping out while also flirting with Peter’s Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). Can Peter save the world while also finding time to tell MJ his feelings?
The team who made “Spider-Man: Homecoming” — director Jon Watts and screenwriters Chris McKenna and Eric Sommers — return with an even bolder storyline that conjures with parallel universes, aliens and other mysteries. The Avengers’ defeat of Thanos has opened up all kinds of possibilities, and this movie is eager to tinker with them in ways that surprise even the most prepared superhero.
There are visual delights in this “Spider-Man” installment, but describing the best can’t be done without invoking spoilers. The movie is also quite funny, deploying Holland’s comic gifts as he explores the ramifications of being a teenage superhero.
And, thanks to Sony’s content-sharing deal with Marvel Studios, this “Spider-Man” can make some deep callbacks from the Marvel Cinematic Universe — hello, Peter Billingsley! — and drop some shocking hints about where it’s going next. But let’s not get too far ahead, because there are joys in this movie that are worth savoring.
‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’
Peter Parker adjusts to a post-Thanos world, and the challenges of being a superhero and a teen, in this fun installment of the franchise.
Where • Theaters everywhere
When • Opens Tuesday, July 2
Rated • PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments.
Running time • 129 minutes