‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ is a bumpy but fun ride

“Spider-Man: Far From Home” hits the ground running where “Avengers: Endgame” lefts off, leaving a resurrected Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and those who disappeared during Thanos’s snap to deal with picking up the pieces.

The plot synopsis by itself is a gigantic spoiler of “Avengers: Endgame”, so for those who haven’t seen that film yet, well… you keep doing you, man.

Peter, still traumatised over the death of Tony Stark, in addition to juggling his responsibilities as New York’s friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man as well as working up the courage to confess his love to his high-school crush MJ (Zendaya), feels like he needs a break, and he gets just that with his class’s Europe trip.

However, multiple chances to relax and open up to MJ gets sideswiped by Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) who forces Peter to work with Quentin Beck aka Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) to help stop a threat involving strange elemental monsters. Obviously, things are not what they seem.

While “Far From Home” boasts scenic locations and far more exciting and bombastic action sequences than its predecessor “Homecoming”, the movie as a whole is slightly lesser than its parts.

Granted, there’s plenty to like about the film – Holland is still effortlessly charming as Peter and makes for an extremely likeable character even though the writers make him do questionable things that may be excused for “stupid high school kid stuff” than just plain bad writing.

Zendaya too, has improved in the acting department, and there’s still a certain John Hughes-charm seeing her and Peter’s shenanigans which makes for a cute romance for the most part.

However, the film is still typical Marvel Cinematic Universe fare – cookie-cutter down to its plot and resolution. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but after the franchise tentpole that is “Endgame”, there is nowhere else to go but down.

After the high-school romance plot grows tiresome midway through the movie – and with a severe lack of Jacob Batalan and Jackson – the plot begins to grow as old and creaky as Martin Starr’s annoying comic-relief character, proving that the Marvel snarky comedy trait does not fit every character.

Director Jon Watts does what he can with the uninspired first two acts but he more than makes up for it with a gonzo action-filled finale set in London crammed with great CGI.

The tone-deafness of both teen romance and big action set-pieces is jarring though – it’s as if Watts had almost forgotten to balance them out evenly as he did with his debut film “Cop Car”, which featured a menacing Kevin Bacon terrorising kids on a joyride.

Three things contribute to the enjoyment of the film: Jake Gyllenhaal, whose presence here elevates the film above mediocrity; a giant wowser of a mid-credits scene that leaves most in the audience screaming with shock and joy; and the fact that this film has a pleasant, breezy tone throughout it that, while taking itself too seriously at times, feels like a leisurely stroll that ends the current phase of the MCU on a relaxing, pleasant note.

This Spidey still has a lot of growing up to do, but he’ll always be friendly in the neighbourhood.