By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

In just four MCU films, Peter Parker/Spider-Man has been through a lot. That is a bit of an understatement, considering that the hero’s ages in this movie’s universe has ranged between fifteen and sixteen. Queen’s beloved wall crawler just wants to go home and enjoy some downtime, but as we all know, this luxury is an impossibility when the world will always need gifted heroes. This has been a continuous theme for the character.

In the comics and in all of the cinematic iterations, Peter Parker has always struggled with balancing the life of a smart and super-powered young man with the duties of being a hero. That’s what make most of the character’s stories great and that struggle is what Spider-Man: Far From Home executes quite well. With even more exhilarating action, heartfelt drama and uproarious humor, this latest installment in the MCU/Spider-Man saga proves to be a big winner.

Since recovering from his participation in the Infinity War and returning from “the snap/blip,” Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is ready for a smaller-scaled role as Queen’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. But first, he plans to take a European vacation through a class trip. He and his classmates from Midtown high are taking a tour of Europe, but Peter’s plans for R&R and romance with MJ (Zendaya) get derailed when some otherworldly events intervene. To deal with this new global threat, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Maria Hill (Colbie Smulders) tap the flustered and unwilling web head for some assistance. Though Spidey is rather reluctant to go back to work, an eager new “hero” naned Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) is more than happy to oblige.

Written by Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, and directed by Jon Watts, Spider-Man: Far From Home takes the MCU Spidey in new bold, exciting, and familiar (in good ways) directions and we are all the better for it. Though I enjoyed this Spider-Man’s first adventure on his own (Homecoming), I feel that filmmakers, in their attempts to scale things down, failed to deliver the adrenaline rushes that made Sam Raimi’s first two Spider-Man movies so wonderful. That is not the case with this film. Though the story does rush along a little too quickly, it does manage to balance the heartfelt conflict that Peter always faces with some amazing action sequences. It gave me much pleasure to take this ride and made me happy a Spidey film is so exciting and full of surprises.

Once again Tom Holland nails the troubled and exceptional character that is Peter Parker. Even more so in this film does Holland show emotional range as Peter attempts to juggle the responsibilities of being an Avenger. Jacob Batalon also returns and delivers some great comic timing as Peter’s best friend Ned Leeds. New to the MCU is Jake Gyllenhaal who stars as Quentin Beck/Mysterio, a charming warrior from another universe who is more than eager to assist with the new threats. The film also features great (and often funny) turns by Samuel L. Jackson, Colbie Smulders, Martin Starr, J.B. Smoove, Zendaya, Marissa Tomei, Jon Favreau, and Tony Revolori.

So, it gives me great pleasure to say that Spider-Man: Far From Home is a big winner. Though not entirely perfect, this movie gets so much right that it feels like home. Don’t forget to sit through the credits for mid-credits and post-credits scenes. The film already has its share of great moments, but these additions provide some cherries on top.

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