‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’: Light-Hearted Romance and Remembrance in 4DX ☆☆☆☆☆

Having to save the world after losing a father figure for the third time is a heavy burden to bare for one Peter Parker. Tom Holland’s version is wide-eyed golly gee willikers pale-faced superhero is ready for some time away from worldly worries. His summer plans are: Get MJ’s attention.

Before the credits, the movie lightens a somber subject of the “Endgame” with a sappy video memorial to Iron Man and asides to the missing Captain America/Steve Rogers, the self-sacrificing Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and lost Vision (Paul Bettany). All of this is part of a student news cast by angsty teens who explain what happened when The Disappeared reappeared.

This is the Spider-Man universe of a hot Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) and she’s become involved in a fundraiser using Spider-Man as a draw. While that might bring in the bucks, and press Peter to deal with the public, he’s overwhelmed by the attention from the press and the questions about Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr).

The press aren’t the only ones applying pressure to Peter Parker. Peter has been getting calls from Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). And when Peter doesn’t pick up, Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) has to and, to make matters worse, Hogan seems to be spending a lot of time with Aunt May.

Luckily, his school, the New York City Midtown School of Science and Technology, has planned a two-week science tour of Europe which will begin in Venice and end in Paris. Peter can enjoy the summer as a normal kid and Parker’s plan, as revealed to his BFF, is to buy a glass black dahlia in Venice and reveal his feelings to MJ (Zendaya) on the Eiffel Tower. His BFF has different ideas. Ned wants to get romantic with hot girls in Europe who he believes really like American guys.

Yet in Ixtenco, Mexico, Nick Fury and Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) are investigating a storm that had a face. While there, they meet a monster that resembles a rogue Hulk, but are saved by Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal ). Beck explains that he comes from an alternative Earth that was destroyed because of the Elementals–Earth, Air, Water and Fire.  Earth and Air have been defeated, but Water shows up in…where else? Venice. And it so happens that none of the surviving Avengers are available.

Beck just happens to be in Venice and with a little help from Peter, defeats the Water Elemental.  Once back at the rundown hotel, Peter finds that Nick “Don’t Say No to Me” Fury is in his room. After tranquilizing Ned (Jacob Batalon), who has become smitten with classmate Betty Brant (Angourie Rice), Nick gives Peter special technology sunglasses from Stark, giving Peter control of EDITH (Even Dead I’m a Hero), an artificial intelligence program that controls orbital weaponry as well as having access to Stark Industry databases. Nick also wants Peter to go to Prague where there’ll be a meeting about superhero stuff, but Peter wants to continue on his tour. The next morning, the tour takes a detour.

Nick Fury has provided in a fictional tour upgrade to get Peter to Prague instead of Berlin. Peter, watching MJ sit next to another dude, initiates his first usage of EDITH and almost ends up blowing up the black luxury bus. Luckily the bus driver (Numan Acar) seems to be special ops trained because the two male chaperones (which should never happen unless it is an all-male students group), Julius Dell (JB Smoove) and  Roger Harrington (Martin Starr), have passports from the land of the clueless.

At some point in the movie, I realized the surly loner Spidey that I grew up on had a personality swap with MJ. For Tom Holland this works. The plot twist is also not a surprise: Spider-Man fans already know that Mysterio/Quentin Beck is not a good guy.

The movie is about illusions, growing up and moving forward after mourning and yet because of the fresh-faced G-rated humor, never gets bogged down emotionally.  The 3D with 4DX at the Regal Live in downtown Los Angeles augmented the theme of illusions. 4DX with the water on, made the Venice battle particularly memorable and the swaying of the web-slinging Peter were really amplified in the last battle scene by the 4DX.

“Spider-Man: Far from Home” with 4DX illustrated the different moods that can be achieved with 4DX. While “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” convinced me that all Godzilla movies should be seen in 4DX, the contrast between “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” with its staccato punches, slamming  and abrupt motions and the smoother, swaying action of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” shows that not all fight scenes, epic battles are the same and that 4DX definitely has different modes that can enhance films. “John Wick” was like one continuous battle, but “Spider-Man” had quiet times in between the battle scenes during which less is more.  I didn’t find it distracting at all.

“Spider-Man: Far from Home” will have people rolling in the aisles even when the seats aren’t rocking. It is a fitting farewell tribute to Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man and sets up a support team for Holland’s Spider-Man. Do not leave until the very end of the credits or you’ll miss a mid-credits scene as well as a post-credit scene.


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