De­light­fully tan­gled web weaved by dorky su­per­hero

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - ENTERTAINM­ENT -

SPI­DER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (12A)

SET shortly after the dev­as­ta­tion of Avengers: Endgame, direc­tor Jon Watts’s web-sling­ing se­quel is an effervesce­nt com­ing-of-age com­edy with a Mar­vel Comics su­per­hero as its dorky pro­tag­o­nist.

London-born ac­tor Tom Hol­land plays up the awk­ward­ness of a hor­mone-ad­dled Peter Parker, who is torn be­tween saving the world as his span­dex-clad al­ter ego and fol­low­ing his heart.

Scriptwrit­ers Chris McKenna and Erik Som­mers drip-feed laughs into digital ef­fects-heavy action se­quences, which re­duce Europe’s most beau­ti­ful cities to rub­ble as com­poser Michael Gi­acchino’s bom­bas­tic score roars like an ap­proach­ing thun­der­storm.

As well as com­edy and calamity, Spi­der-Man: Far From Home ad­dresses the chang­ing face of hero­ism in an era of 24hour so­cial me­dia and so-called fake news.

‘Peo­ple need to be­lieve and nowa­days they’ll be­lieve any­thing,’ ob­serves one char­ac­ter, who bears the weight of those words more heav­ily than we ini­tially com­pre­hend.

You won’t need to cultivate your own spi­der sense or ‘Peter-Tin­gle’ to divine a key plot twist.

Cor­rectly sec­ond-guess­ing the film­mak­ers’ intentions doesn’t greatly di­min­ish en­joy­ment of Hol­land’s quirky per­for­mance or Zendaya’s por­trayal of a spunky love in­ter­est, who doesn’t in­tend to wait for a ner­vous boy to make the first move.

Spi­der-Man: Far From Home un­folds sev­eral months after ‘the blip’ – the sud­den re­turn of half of all liv­ing or­gan­isms on earth in­clud­ing Peter Parker (Hol­land) and fel­low stu­dents from Mid­town School of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy.

The plucky teenager re­fuses calls from Nick Fury (Sa­muel L Jack­son) to concentrat­e on a class trip led by teach­ers Mr Harrington (Martin Starr) and Mr Dell (JB Smoove).

‘Euro­peans love Amer­i­cans,’ gushes Peter’s best friend Ned (Jacob Bat­alon), ‘and half of them are women.’.

Peter only has eyes for MJ (Zendaya) but his clumsy at­tempts to woo her are thwarted by hunky ri­val Brad Davis (Remy Hii).

Dur­ing the first leg of the class trip in Venice, Fury and Maria Hill (Co­bie Smul­ders) im­plore Peter to fight along­side oth­er­worldly war­rior Quentin Beck aka Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) to de­feat four hu­manoids called the Ele­men­tals.

Peter po­litely re­fuses and the stu­dents’ travel itin­er­ary sud­denly al­ters to in­clude a stopover in Vi­enna where one Ele­men­tal is due to ma­te­ri­alise.

‘I think Nick Fury just hi­jacked our sum­mer va­ca­tion,’ Peter laments to Ned.

Spi­der-Man: Far From Home for­goes a knowing cameo from Stan Lee but Jon Watts’s hugely en­joy­able pic­ture does in­cor­po­rate other Mar­vel Comics sta­ples in­clud­ing a cou­ple of ad­di­tional scenes buried in the end credits.

Par­al­lel ro­man­tic sub­plots bal­ance gig­gles and swoons, and Gyllenhaal lends grav­i­tas to his com­plex role, in­clud­ing touch­ing emo­tional scenes with a tearyeyed Hol­land.

The script ac­knowl­edges the mul­ti­ple re­al­i­ties of Os­car-win­ning an­i­ma­tion Spi­der-Man: Into the Spi­der-Verse and the in­evitable spe­cial ef­fects over­load is reserved for a fren­zied fi­nal 20 min­utes in London, which tees up a cliffhange­r.

What a de­light­fully tan­gled web the film weaves.

RAT­ING: 7.5/10

Zendaya as MJ and Tom Hol­land as Spi­der-Man in Spi­der-Man: Far From Home.

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