3.5/4

Spider-Man: Far From Home [2019] ★★★½

In my mind, nothing could ever come close to Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2”, but “Far From Home” is nearly there. It’s a terrific follow-up to 2017’s “Homecoming” and a worthy companion to “Avengers: Endgame” that reaffirms the fact that Tom Holland is here to stay. Who would have thought that we’d get a hilarious Marvel film so soon after the events of “Endgame”? What’s more, everyone is fully up to the task. The movie opens with a heartwarming tribute to all the fallen superheroes then proceeds to remind us that Peter Parker is still a high school student on his way to a summer trip around Europe with his friends and teachers. Parker isn’t messing around this time around: he wants to impress MJ (Zendaya) and ultimately win her heart. This sets the stage for a hilarious adventure that’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen in a “Spider-Man” movie. There’s a colorful array of characters, both familiar and new, to add to the fun, notably Jake Gyllenhaal who steals every scene he appears in as Quentin Beck, otherwise known as Mysterio. What is he up to? You’ll have to see for yourself. Suffices to say that you’re in for a treat. But make no mistake: Marvel is too smart to undermine the serious matters at stake in this constantly evolving universe, but confident enough to play with them a little bit (think “Thor: Ragnarok”). That’s what makes “Far From Home” so fresh and so good. It’s funny, action-packed, and a total blast from start to finish. Heck, it’s probably one of the best movies you’ll see this summer.

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