With Dublin Gazette about to close down for two weeks for its staff – and yours truly – to head off on vay-kay, what better holiday film to focus on than Spider Man: Far From Home (Cert 12A, 129 mins)?
After all, the latest outing for everyone’s favourite web slinger sees good old Spidey (or rather, young Peter Parker) also very much set in summer holidays mode.
At its simplest level, the plot has Peter and pals heading off to tour around Europe for a well-deserved holiday with some teenage high-jinx thrown in.
However, of course there’s much, much more than that going on, as not only does the film have its own core storyline – Peter reluctantly getting involved in trying to stop some mysterious attacks by elemental creatures – but it’s also weighed down by a lot of lore.
And, lore blimey, there’s an awful lot of other stuff to take in here than just Spidey swinging about Europe.
Threats to the world, parallel Earths, Nick Fury shenanigans, the legacy of the late Tony Stark/Iron Man – spoiler – and much, much more…
If you’ve been keeping up with the dizzying amount of Avengers-related films over the past several years, you’ll probably find this latest iteration of the overarching franchise to be pretty Marvel-ous.
Personally, however, I’d have been happy with a less-is-more approach to Spidey’s latest outing.
After all, just taking Spider Man out of his home turf and away from Manhattan’s canyons and towers could have worked very well by itself, as he tumbled around Ye Olde Europe for a change of scene.
Instead, however, the film’s always weighed down a little by the bigger, more portentous plot that it’s grappling with, and while it’s great to see a film referencing and adding to established lore, something that was just a standalone product would have been a refreshing palate cleaner.
That’s enough griping, however, as there’s plenty to like about this latest outing for Spidey.
As the titular webslinger, Tom Holland is great again in the role, injecting his take on Peter Parker with a likable mix of teenage angst and eager excitement at his powers, making him easy to root for.
There’s solid support from the rest of the cast, too, with Jake Gyllenhaal having fun with his shifty role as Mysterio, while there are enough nods at other Marvel- and Spidey-related characters to help ground the film firmly within its established universe, even when transporting Spider Man over to a new continent.
Ultimately, while there’s some serious stuff rumbling away in the background, it’s generally a zippy enough addition to the franchise, with Holland again charming.
You could certainly do a lot worse than swinging into this film at your nearest cinema.