I’ll never understand why they felt the need to reboot the original “OMG, has it been 17 years already” Tobey Maguire Spider-Man franchise.
Yeesh, what studios’ll do for a couple-hundred million dollars — it’s almost like they’re a business or something.
Well, evidently business is booming! “Spider-Man: Far from Home” is the 23rd film in the so-called MCU, or Marvel Cinematic Universe, and with no end in sight, we ought to just get used to a revolving door of supervillains and cast changes.
But that doesn’t mean I have to like the current angsty Peter Parker (Tom Holland) or Zendaya as his joyless gal-pal MJ. I didn’t, but there was enough connective tissue to the earliest episodes in the saga to keep me engaged. Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury is back, dogging a reluctant Parker to step up in the absence of the Avengers to save the world from the Elementals: threatening über-beasts composed of wind and water. Briefly back, too, are J. K. Simmons’ J. Jonah Jameson, Jeff Bridges’ Iron Man nemesis Obadiah Stane, and of course, Parker’s mentor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) whose legacy is gifted to the young arachni-kid in the form of some epic eyeglasses that are a window to Stark’s AI and orbiting arsenal known as E.D.I.T.H., Stark’s wry acronym for “Even In Death, I’m The Hero.”
And it’s those glasses that Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his gang of scorned ex-Stark Industries confederates seek as Parker and his classmates trek across Europe.
Notwithstanding some parallels to Syndrome from “The Incredibles,” Gyllenhaal’s ersatz guardian makes for a serviceable foil: on a scale of 1 to Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin, Mysterio is a 7.
Overall, Spider-Man: Far from Home is solid Avengers fare with great action, effects, and requisite lightheartedness – especially from trip chaperones J. B. Smoove and Martin Starr (“Opera: The best four hours of the trip!”), though the best laughs come from Parker’s friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) and his short romance with so-out-of-his-league Betty Brant.
One of the better Avengers films — and the first without the trademark cameo from the recently passed Stan Lee — but it didn’t make me tingle.
Rating: 3 Honks