Spidey-sense and sen­si­bil­ity

SPI­DER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME (12A)

Llanelli Star - - FILM REVIEWS -

★★★★ ★

SET shortly after Avengers: Endgame, direc­tor Jon Watts’s web-sling­ing se­quel is an effervesce­nt com­ing-ofage 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 span­dex­clad 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 i i in an era of 24-hour 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 film-mak­ers’ 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 Sh l of fS Sci­ence i and d 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.

Spi­der-Man: Far From Home for­goes a knowing cameo from Stan Lee but Jon Watts’ 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 teary-eyed Hol­land.

The script ac­knowl­edges the mul­ti­ple re­al­i­ties of Os­car­win­ning an­i­ma­tion SpiderMan: 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.

Spi­der-Man only has eyes for MJ (Zendaya) Spi­der-Man in action, above, and with Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio, left Sa­muel L Jack­son as Nick Fury and Jon Favreau as Happy Ho­gan Tom Hol­land as Peter Parker, aka Spi­der-Man

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