‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ a near-perfect Spidey adventure

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Mysterio has always been one of the coolest Spider-Man villains, but a big reason why he’s so cool is that his costume is so lame. Seeing him onscreen in “Spider-Man: Far From Home” in a way that makes sense and works while in motion is one of the big thrills in this movie. But as cool as that is, it’s far from the best thing in “Far From Home.” Thanks to good writing, solid acting and a dollop of heart, “Far From Home” turns out to be a near-perfect Spider-Man flick.

“Far From Home” finds Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and the rest of the world dealing with the events of “Avengers: Endgame” and the loss of heroes like Iron Man. Peter is having an especially hard time shouldering the mantle Tony Stark left to him.

In the midst of all this, Peter embarks on a science trip to Europe with his buddy Ned (Jacob Batalon) and some of his other classmates. His plan to tell MJ (Zendaya) he likes her but gets disrupted by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and some destructive monsters. Peter joins forces with Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), also known as Mysterio, but is all what it seems? Peter must solve the Mysterio mystery, protect his friends and, if he’s lucky, spill his guts to MJ.

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This movie had everything you need for a great Spidey adventure. There’s a great villain, lots of cool action, and situations that constantly challenge Peter Parker to make the right choice. At the heart of it all is Peter himself. Holland is awkward perfection as Peter, and his scenes with Zendaya are authentically uncomfortable. But he also ably pulls off the hero side of Peter, and that determination and grit are why we love Spider-Man.

Gyllenhaal, Batalon and Jackson also give Holland solid performances to work off. Peter’s interplay with Ned is especially hilarious and keeps the film rolling during the less intense scenes. Holland convincingly emits admiration for Gyllenhaal and his back, and forth with Jackson contains the right amount of intimidation. The cast doesn’t have any weak links, and the scenes soar as a result.

The writing also helps to performances. It’s fast-paced and witty, but it also gives Peter some weighty stuff to work with in more emotional scenes. Writers Chris McKenna and Erik Summers deserve a pat on the back for writing a story that serves its themes and grows its characters, while also being a lot of fun.

While we’re on the subject of theme, “Far From Home” does a pretty good job of giving Peter powerful stuff to struggle with that audience member can relate to. The movie deals with accepting new responsibilities, a subject anyone who’s ever taken a promotion or become a parent can understand and empathize with. Watching Peter, a 16-year-old kid, accept his new mantle and grow in confidence is inspiring. He still makes mistakes, but he never gives up, and that’s something that resonates within the hero in all of us.

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“Far From Home” isn’t perfect. Director Jon Watts does a fine job with the comedic scenes and the more intimate stuff, but he isn’t as comfortable with big action sequences. There are multiple times in the action scenes where we’re not sure what’s going on or why. The comedy is awesome, but the movie could use another scene or two of Peter dealing with the heavy thematic stuff. As it is, “Far From Home” feels a little out of balance. Also, you don’t need spidey sense to know the movie’s big twist.

But those flaws don’t derail “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” This movie is a blast, pure summer blockbuster bliss. It also grows the character and captures why we love Spider-Man so much. And it acts as the perfect closer for this phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Go check it out!

4 ½ Indy Fedoras out of 5

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Thanks to Fat Cats in Rexburg for providing screenings for movie reviews on EastIdahoNews.com.

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