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Sun, July 21

‘Spider-Man: Far from Home’ CGI effects make it a worthwhile movie

Tom Holland plays Spider-Man in the latest film of the franchise, “Spider-Man: Far from Home.” (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Tom Holland plays Spider-Man in the latest film of the franchise, “Spider-Man: Far from Home.” (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Starting off with a memorial to fallen Avengers, “Spider-Man: Far from Home” pays tribute and, in a sneaky way, gets the audience up to speed after the “Avengers: Endgame” movie. I say “sneaky” because it's a clever way to give the audience background and foundation as to why something is happening. But that's where the logic stops.

Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is looking to add to his cadre of Avengers and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) is next up. But now we're thrown into the maelstrom of adolescence and high school hijinks. Spider-Man tries to keep his identity secret, only shared with Ned (Jacob Batalon), but later seems to not care who knows he's Spider-Man. Plus, at the beginning of the movie, Spider-Man’s mask was on then off digitally, and then later his mask only comes on and off manually.

CGI effects are pretty awesome. From Spider-Man’s swinging from one place to another, to the creation of the monsters and even to the mind-bending holograms later introduced by Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal). Holland plays the emotional, temperamental adolescent almost too well. Combined with him being on a high school field trip, the movie almost degrades to a high school comedy. And not with a lot of laughs either. Think “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” sort of thing.

Or perhaps there was meaning to this movie in that it pitted maturity vs immaturity, adolescence vs adulthood. Faced with having to save the world as a priority versus maybe getting a kiss from your puppy love on the same level is where the movie perhaps goes wrong. At one point Spider-Man was battling holograms and fake environments that kept changing so much even I got confused and bored.

Maybe a more mature Spider-Man would complement the story. Being able to take on incredible monsters, get beaten up and thrown around and still be hesitant to tell someone you like them? And Spider-Man sure takes a beating throughout the movie. His puppy love, MJ (Zendaya), is quite the character though with her dry retorts and unexpected responses. The new phrase used in place of “spidey sense” is somewhat offensive and below the grade for Marvel. It may have been funny the first two times it was referenced, but after that it got old.

Plenty of “spidey” action sequences and a decent storyline if you can get past the high school blather. You'll even like the bad guy up to a point. For a movie that runs 129 minutes there could have been more action and maybe even a compelling plot. But we go to the movies to be entertained and “Spider-Man: Far from Home” will do that if only mildly. The movie is rated PG13 and probably geared more toward that age group. Grab yourself a large bucket of popcorn and something to drink, and settle in for the long haul.

I'll give “Spider-Man: Far from Home” 2 ½ Miners.

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