By Matt Lau & John Mulderig
The much anticipated Spider-Man: Far From Home (Columbia) is the first Marvel action feature that follows the blockbuster Avengers: Endgame.
As Peter Parker (alter ego of Spider-Man) – once again portrayed by the ever-popular Tom Holland – is adapting to life after the heroic death of his father-figure friend Tony Stark (alias Iron Man) in the aforementioned Avengers conclusion, he is faced with the challenge of being more than just “your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man” who we saw in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
In Far From Home, Parker travels around Europe on a summer school adventure with his classmates, including best pal Ned (Jacob Batalon), annoying adversary Flash (Tony Revolori), budding reporter Betty (Angourie Rice), and Parker’s love interest MJ (Zendaya).
Snappy and substantial, director Jon Watts provides moviegoers with an adventure full of bloodless derring-do and gentle, innocent romance. As a result, many parents may consider it acceptable for older teens.
True to its title, the film finds the eponymous superhero wanting to spend the journey, which includes stops in Venice and Prague, courting MJ. But hard-driving crime fighter Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) forcefully recruits him to join the battle against the sole survivor of a quartet of monsters known as Elementals.
So, at Fury’s behest, Peter teams with Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), an alien whose world – a version of Earth that existed in a different part of the multiverse – was destroyed by the creatures.
He’s eventually so impressed with this new comrade that he gives him the vastly powerful technological system, dubbed EDITH, that he inherited from his late mentor, Tony Stark. Peter soon discovers, however, that his trust may have been misplaced.
Screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers continue to explore the franchise’s recurring theme about the responsibilities that come with power. In this case, Peter’s regifting of EDITH, a sort of weaponised Alexa or Siri, is symptomatic of his doubts about his ability to step into Stark’s shoes.
The script touches comically on some subjects unfit for little kids. Thus, a character is quoted as theorising that Parker’s long, mysterious absences while he’s off being Spider-Man are due to his secret career as a male escort.
Similarly, Tony’s sidekick, Happy (Jon Favreau) – who has begun a romance with Peter’s guardian, Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) – references the fact that he once came across some salacious material in Peter’s possession but concealed this discovery from May.
These brief jokes are intended light-heartedly, but they’re clearly not fare for small fry – who might also be frightened by the scale and intensity of the action.
Note: Marvel film aficionados know full well to patiently await the crucial post-credit scenes.
The film contains frequent stylised combat, mature references, including to pornography and prostitution, at least one mild oath, as well as a couple of crude and a few crass terms.
The Catholic News Service classification is A-III – adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 – parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.