Anybody got a cure for a hangover? Because it’s still the morning after in the new Spider-Man movie.
The decade-long Marvel storyline, allegedly wrapped up in “Avengers: Endgame,” continues as a presence in “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” The events of “the Blip,” the “Avengers” concept that wiped out half the population (something I was hoping never to have to think about again), continue to be felt.
And for Peter Parker (Tom Holland), the loss of his mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr., glimpsed in various ways) is a major issue. Tony willed Peter a pair of magical eyeglasses, which will play a role in Peter’s expansion of his Spider-Man powers.
Ready for a break from superheroing, Peter is off to Europe with his high-school chums. But cranky Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) keeps pulling him back in.
Seems there’s a global threat in the form of monsters who take the shape of the basic elements. A water fiend threatens Venice, and a fire demon puts the torch to Prague—all while Peter happens to be on tour.
Fury introduces Peter to a new potential father figure, Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal, enjoying himself), a visitor from a parallel reality who wants to join what remains of the superhero squad.
In the delightful “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” director Jon Watts made the big battle scenes come to life. Here they go back to being generally boring, in the manner of most Marvel battle scenes, although I liked Mysterio’s goldfish-bowl headgear and the glowing green dome he uses as a protective device.
The movie’s action beats seem more tiresome than usual because they drag us away from the winning interplay between the teens. Peter’s puppy love for MJ (the very engaging and non-actory Zendaya) continues, while best pal (Jacob Batalon) pairs off with a classmate (Angourie Rice) and the hostile Flash (Tony Revolo) remains belligerent.
There’s also a nice piece of business involving Stark’s aide Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) and Peter’s Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). Anything, really, to make Peter squirm with embarrassment.
The comic high point comes at the very beginning, when the events of “Endgame” are summarized in an amateurish high-school video, complete with disastrous low-resolution illustrations. Whenever the young actors are required to carry off these jokes, the movie clicks.
It doesn’t have the zing of “Homecoming,” and Peter’s hand-wringing about keeping up with the Avengers is overdone. Especially because we have a feeling he’ll be headlining a few blockbuster movies in the future.
I hope those movies keep it funny. If the “Avengers” thread got weighed down by its self-importance, the “Spider-Man” movies have a chance to thrive with teen comedy—for as long as its twentysomething actors can pull it off, I guess.
“Spider-Man: Far From Home” (3 stars)
Not as giddy as “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” but a generally funny outing for Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and a new potential superhero father-figure (Jake Gyllenhaal). The only real problem here is the hangover from the previous “Avengers” films, which keep tugging at this movie’s otherwise zesty spirit.
Rating: PG-13, for violence
Opening: Alderwood, Alderwood Mall, Everett Stadium, Marysville, Galaxy Monroe, Cinebarre Mountlake Terrace, Stanwood Cinemas, McMenamins Anderson School, Woodinville, Thornton Place, Oak Tree, Seattle 10, Cascade Mall