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Spider-Man: Far From Home

Reveling in Europe’s more relaxed attitudes, Peter discards his Spidey suits in favor of body paint

Synopsis: Spidey goes on a field trip “far from home.” New villains appear to threaten cities and, more importantly, field trips.

Field trip, everybody! In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Tom Holland’s latest outing as Peter Parker/ Spider-Man, our teen superhero goes on a class trip to Europe. I know. It’s easier to believe that a person can shoot webs from their wrists than it is to buy that US public school kids are headed to Europe on a field trip. The cold truth is that field trip destinations are usually cheap and lame. Unless you are a kid in Florida where it is the law that the school year will end with a trip to Disney or Universal. The rest of American public school kids end up with, say, a picnic near a historically significant ditch. If the students have been unruly they might be punished by a trek to town hall where they will be forced to learn about zoning ordinances and vehicle registration.

Nevermind! We all get to go to Prague, Venice, etc. with the Midtown School of Science and Technology teens. After being drafted by Tony Stark to be a child soldier in the Civil and Infinity Wars, it’s understandable that Peter Parker needs some rest and relaxation. He’s really excited about the Europe trip. He’s obsessed about getting with MJ (Zendaya), talking ad nauseam to his friend Ned (Jacob Batalon) about his plan to buy MJ a necklace and gift it to her at the Eiffel Tower. (Is there anywhere these kids aren’t visiting? I’m jealous!)

First stop, Venice! Venice is famous as the wedding place of barrister Amal Alamuddin and Oscar-winning actor George Clooney. It also has canals and art stuff. Now if you are concerned that the movie will only be shots of Peter looking longingly at MJ you are only half right. Because if a superhero goes to a Great World City, you can be assured that famous landmarks will be smashed and/or blown to smithereens.

Peter foolishly shares his excitement about the Jonas Brothers reunion with MJ, avowed nihilist and grindcore devotee

On the students’ first day in Venice, they barely have time for a few selfies before some ‘Elemental” water monster rises from the lagoon and starts destroying buildings. For no discernible reason, I might add. Or maybe it was mad that it didn’t get an invite to George and Amal’s Wedding of the Century. Peter, of course, is only concerned about his crush MJ and his plan to give her a necklace (spoiler alert: a black glass dahlia pendant), so he’s not rushing to save this upscale city that is also renowned as a vacay destination for singer-songwriter John Legend and wife Chrissy Teigen, model and Twitter boss.

Out of nowhere some purple-caped guy (?) zooms into view trailing Wicked Witch of the West green exhaust and takes on the water monster. He (?) is some sort of hybrid with a human body and fishbowl head full of what appears to be swirling pond water. He vanquishes the creature with a little (very little) help from Peter.

It turns out Nick Fury is in Venice too. He brings Peter to his S.H.I.E.L.D. pop-up office (hope they sell merch) where he scolds Peter for not returning his calls. The monster-defeater is there too. He’s called Mysterio. When Mysterio is not fighting, he doesn’t have a fishbowl head. Instead, he looks like the dude in your SoulCycle class who everybody wants to get with and he knows it. He is played– with perfect flowing mane and facial hair grooming — by Jake Gyllenhaal. (Btw, Jake, why did you break Taylor Swift’s heart?) He explains that more Elementals are on their way, like the uber-destructive Fire. Nick tries to guilt Peter into being a child soldier again but Peter says he just wants to enjoy his field trip. Aka, get with MJ.

“You know, Tom, they wanted me for Sam Raimi’s ‘Spider-Man.’ But I said: Give Tobey Maguire a chance. And then I turned down ‘Thor.’ I said: Give that new kid, Hemsworth, a break…”

Next stop, Prague! Things continue to be complicated with MJ and the Elementals. But at least Peter has time to peer around corners at MJ and stand in front of her hotel room door working up his courage to knock on the door. (I think that Tom Holland and Zendaya are a couple IRL. Maybe one day they will marry in Venice and Amal & George will be invited to bless their union.)

The kids are quite tractable, trailing along after their chaperones, taking selfies and gazing at the sights. This is because the movie is rated PG-13 and not R. IRL, throughout time, and whether the field trip is in Rome, Italy or Rome, NY, the teens would be up to no good. They would be eluding the chaperones, hellbent on having sex with each other, accessing alcohol & weed and clubbing on molly. And while I don’t condone such illicit field trip actions, I feel like Peter should at least try to sneak out of the hotel with MJ in the middle of the night.

Last stop, London! Since this is an MCU film, neither the audience nor Spidey can expect to have an uneventful time in the land of Queen Elizabeth II and her current rival for the Crown, cheeky little Prince “I am your King” George. Sigh…it’s hard to enjoy the attractions when they keep getting destroyed by villains.

Peter Parker, arthropod-infused hominid, will have to make a choice: field trip or save the world. My advice? Call Captain America and go enjoy London with MJ.


Movie Loon Movie Review Shortcut:

Grade: B+

Cut to the Chase: A fast-movie storyline with great locations. Tom Holland is stellar as Spidey & Jake G. is a charismatic Mysterio– when he’s not wearing the fishbowl helmet

Humor Highlight: Spidey’s friend Ned and his GF are sickly sweet on each other

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