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Don’t you just hate it
When you’re on vacation
Intent on enjoying some hard relaxation,
And then all at once,
With distinct irritation,
Your work calls, demanding your consideration?

You reach for the phone
With a slight hesitation,
But then you ignore it with smug indignation.
But if the world ends
Due to your recreation,
You just might regret your own preoccupation.
_____________________________________________

MPAA rating: PG-13

How do you follow up a monumental universe-changing achievement like Avengers: Endgame? With a light-hearted high-school romp, of course! Just as Ant-Man and the Wasp lightened the mood following Infinity War last year, Spider-Man: Far From Home brings the scale of mayhem and destruction down a bit while delivering yet another marvelously entertaining entry to the MCU.

Spider-Man: Homecoming was a fun new version of the webslinger, but actors other than Tom Holland hadn’t quite settled into their roles and there was a tad too much “gee whiz, this is awesome” mentality, albeit an understandable one since they’re high school kids. In Far From Home, all the pieces just fit more comfortably, and characters like Zendaya’s MJ and Angourie Rice’s Betty Brant are given more presence than the first film. And, of course, the other big difference is the absence of Robert Downey, Jr.’s, mentoring Iron Man (for reasons everyone should know by now), though his legacy still plays a role.

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This time around, after most of Peter’s class was snapped out of existence by Thanos and then returned five years later in what is understatedly called the Blip, things have largely gone back to normal, and Peter and friends are eager to enjoy a school trip to Europe. Enter Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and the new interdimensional hero Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) to interrupt Peter’s carefree vacation with the threat of elemental monsters wreaking havoc, which is almost as stressful as telling MJ he likes her.

Anyone familiar with the comics should know what to expect in regards to Mysterio, but there’s still plenty of action to enjoy, as well as some hilarious running gags and a few genuinely surprising twists. The subplots are all good fun, from the impromptu romance of Peter’s friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) to a rivalry between Peter and a handsome classmate (Remy Hii) for MJ’s affections. And of course, the visual effects are staggeringly well-executed, including a hallucinatory sequence that would feel right at home in a Doctor Strange movie.

It’s not above complaints, such as an unrealistic scene of the villain monologuing about his plan in detail or the uncertainty of why Peter is somehow expected to fill Iron Man’s shoes. Plus, Holland and Zendaya probably have the least chemistry as far as spider-couples go. Yet Far From Home serves as an enjoyable epilogue to the ambitious gravitas of Endgame, a teen comedy in superhero guise that ends Marvel’s Phase 3 on a high note, as well as a cliffhanger.

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Looking forward in Marvel’s timeline, it stings to notice that it looks like there’s no forward motion in the current storyline until late 2020 with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+. But maybe that’s best, what with the time jump of Endgame and the threat of people getting “superheroed out.” Not that I’m in danger of that. No, I’m still very much on the Marvel bandwagon and hoping, like so many, that Disney and Sony can come to some agreement on letting Spider-Man continue in the MCU. I don’t expect him to take Iron Man’s place, but he fits so well in this universe that it would be a shame for the powers that be to yank him out of it.

Best line: (Happy Hogan) “You handle the suit. I’ll handle the music.” [‘Back in Black’ by AC/DC plays]
(Peter) “Oh, I love Led Zeppelin!”

 

Rank: List-Worthy (joining Spider-Man: Homecoming)

 

© 2019 S.G. Liput
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