SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME – Review by Susan Granger

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After the climactic tragedy of Avengers: Endgame, it seems that 16 year-old insecure Peter Parker – a.k.a. Spider-Man – is left to battle baddies on his own.

His story begins as Midtown High School’s TV station broadcasts an “in memoriam” for Tony Stark and other Marvel Cinematic Universe superheroes who died fighting Thanos. That incident is referred to as “the Blip” in which half the population disappeared and then reappeared five years later.

Since Peter and his pals – Ned (Jacob Batalon), MJ (Zendaya), Betty (Angourie Rice) and Flash (Tony Revolori) – were blipped, they have to repeat their sophomore year, alongside hunky Brad (Remy Hill), who was five years their junior but is now is Peter’s rival for MJ’s affection.

Just as everyone prepares for summer field trip to Europe, Peter is summoned by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Peter’s inner conflict is immediately apparent. He wants to lead a normal life, playing with his friends, and, maybe, getting a kiss from MJ atop the Eiffel Tower. But as Tony Stark’s protégé, duty calls.

Spider-Man needs to join Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) – a.k.a. Mysterio, a very powerful, spandex-clad warrior from an alternate reality/parallel Earth – to fight an evil force known as the Elementals.

From that moment on, Spidey’s trans-Atlantic trip is fraught with deception and betrayal – on many fronts – as he swings through Venice, Prague and London. Meanwhile, back home, Tony Stark’s assistant Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) has taken up with Aunt May (Marisa Tomei).

Hesitant Tom Holland is so disarming as the web-slinger that Marvel may churn out more movies just for him. (It’s remarkably easy to erase Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s previous incarnations.)

Working with returning screenwriters Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, director Jon Watts cleverly balances adolescent angst with lighthearted banter and heartfelt moments, punctuated by adrenaline blasts from Marvel’s high-tech visual effects.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” spins an exuberant, entertaining 8. Wait around for two additional post-credit scenes.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.