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Reviews For The Easily Distracted:
Spider-Man: Far From Home

Title: Spider-Man: Far From Home

Describe This Movie In One Ghostbusters Quote:

PETER VENKMAN: The flowers are still standing!

Brief Plot Synopsis: Underoos abroad.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: 3.5 Mrs. Tingles out of 5.

Tagline: n/a

Better Tagline: "This is the way the Infinity Saga ends: not with a bang, but a drone fight."

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: The Endgame is over, and the world will be forever changed. Then again, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is still in high school, and his class is going on a field trip to Europe where Peter hopes to make his affections known to MJ (Zendaya). Naturally, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) requires the talents of Spider-Man — one of Earth's remaining heroes — to assist extra-dimensional traveler Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) in a battle against creatures threatening Earth.

"Critical" Analysis:
 You have to give Spider-Man: Far From Home this, it confronts the post-UnSnappening questions (namely, how do you reconcile Peter still being in high school after being gone five years) by not really answering it at all. They ... rebooted the school year? But the kids who were dusted are in class with the older kids? Seriously, I was there and I still don't remember how they hand waved it all.

But that doesn't matter, because FFH isn't here to set the table for more Infinity Stone nonsense. It's mostly a distraction; a palate cleanser after 22 MCU movies spent ramping up ominous portents and threatening to exterminate existence. One of its major concerns is Peter dealing with the death of his mentor, Tony Stark, as well as trying to work up the nerve to tell MJ how he feels.

It's not exactly earth-shattiering, but it's fine. Far From Home is fine. Director Jon Watts recaptures much of the exuberance of Homecoming while throwing some new wrinkles into old friendships. As an epilogue to Phase 3 of the MCU, it does its job adequately, even if the movie could've just as easily been subtitled Requiem for an Iron Man. His absence is keenly felt, not just by Peter, but across the world.

And come to think of it, where the hell are the other (living) superheroes while the Elementals are laying waste to tourist-friendly European cities? Beck (dubbed "Mysterio" by the Italian press) and Spider-Man are all by themselves, in the true, Eric Carmen sense of the word. Without spoiling Endgame (which, if you haven't seen it, come on), there should still be a few Avengers available to lend a hand against an "Avengers-level threat," as Beck describes it.

Fury's reaction when Peter asks about Captain Marvel is funny, however, for reasons that aren't immediately apparent.

The title "Far From Home" may be a little on the nose, but Sony could have just easily called this Spider-Man: Father Figures. There's the dead surrogate (Tony Stark), the new, mean stepdad (Fury), and the cool uncle (Beck). And that's not even counting the ones we never see: his real dad and Uncle Ben, murdered so many times previously on screen. His presence is still felt here, as the monogrammed suitcase Peter takes with him to Europe.

If there's one thing FFH gets right, it's Mysterio's illusions. These scenes were just like being transported into those psychedilc Amazing Spider-Man comic panels, and the imaginary aspect at least offers an excuse for the CGI-heavy action. Gyllenhaal is also a great bad guy, gaining Peter's trust, and then exploiting it to maximum effect.

So never mind that the villainous plot makes no real sense, or how May (Marisa Tomei) is way too good for Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), and enjoy a comic book movie that for once, doesn't get too heavy.

Until that mid-credits scene. Boy howdy.

Spider-Man: Far From Home is in theaters today. Use your illusion and check it out.
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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar