Spider-Man: Far from Home ★★½

Don’t be fooled by the title, or the fact that Marvel finally shot a movie outside of Atlanta: “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is a cute but painfully unadventurous bit of superhero housekeeping that only exists to clean up the cataclysmic mess that “Avengers: Endgame” left behind. As a piece of connective tissue in an ever-metastasizing cinematic universe, Tom Holland’s sophomore (solo) outing as Peter Parker does a clever job of closing the door on one phase and nudging it open to another; it’s funny and colorful and hinges on some MCU deep-cuts that even the most hardcore fans won’t be able to anticipate.

As a stand-alone story, however — another predictable call to action about the burdens of growing up and becoming the person that others believe you can be — it’s a hollow exercise in going through the motions. Fans might be appeased by a successful bunt in a long summer of disgraceful strike-outs, but this is still a maddening failure when compared to the remarkable artistry of “Into the Spider-Verse” or the raw pathos of Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 2.”

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