'Far from home' isn't far from perfect

Sony Pictures Tom Holland and Zendaya star in “Spider-Man: Far from Home,” the newest feature film featuring the famous webslinger.

Tom Holland epitomizes Spider-Man.

I admit, like many of my generation, I had my doubts back when he first made his appearance in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War.” But, after his own feature film in 2017 along with the appearances in the Infinity War films, he has grown on me and his newest feature: “Far from home” sold me.

Not only does he showcase the awkwardness of a teenager, without being too oblivious like Tobey Maguire’s iteration, but he also has all the doubts that a teenager who is given the task of saving the world would have.

In this newest film, Peter Parker is going on a trip to Europe with his class after dealing with all the fallout of the events in the Avengers’ films. He and his friends have finally settled back into a world where there is no Tony Stark. Peter doesn’t know this yet, but Tony left all his responsibilities to the teenager from Queens.

Once he gets that news, it completely ruins a summer vacation plan where he intended to make a move on Michelle “MJ” Jones (Zendaya) and live a normal life.

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) puts an end to that when he asks Spider-Man to help new character Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaall) defeat some typical Marvel fare: creatures from another dimension that want to end the world.

This country-hopping tale is full of comedy, romance, action and to me, is the best live-action Spider-Man film we have gotten yet. It definitely has some good twists and reveals, including one you will want to make sure you wait through the first post-credits scene for.

What I liked:

• Holland does a great job at feeling unsure of himself, but realizing what he has to do to fix his mistakes. With help from Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau), Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) and his buddy Ned (Jacob Batalon), Peter is able to overcome an adversary who holds almost all the cards.

• I was a little lukewarm on Zendaya in the first film “Homecoming,” mainly because they gave her the title MJ, but not the actual Mary Jane Watson name from the comics. That’s not her fault, though, and I love what she does in this film. She didn’t get much to do in the first movie, but she makes up for it and more in this one.

• Gyllenhaall was in the running for Spider-Man back in the Maguire days and now that he is almost 40, he got to actually be in the universe, but as character that I am happy finally got some screen time in Mysterio. He has a good backstory and feels like he fits right into the story.

• Like most movies, all the in jokes and references are great. The film was good on its own, but again, that first post-credits scene along with the mind-bending illusions Peter has to fight through made it great.

What I didn’t like:

• The film drags a bit, at first. I know it is having to ease everyone back into happy-go-lucky Marvel after the dark Avengers films, but it feels a bit color-by-number until they get to Prague midway through the European trip. That is when it really picks up.

Why to watch:

If you are a fan of Spider-Man, Mysterio or one of all the millions of Marvel fanatics, it is a must-see.

Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments

My score: 96/100

Jordan Bishop is the assistant news editor for the Stillwater News Press and can be reached at jbishop@stwnewspress.com.

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