The regular old teenage stuff in Spider-Man: Far from Home is great. Peter’s chief aim, at the movie’s start, is to get past the events shown in Avengers: Endgame (Far from Home treats most of that movie’s self-seriousness as a frothy joke) and head off on a school trip to Europe. There, he hopes to win over the classmate he’s long had a crush on, Zendaya’s leggy and brainy MJ. Peter’s closest friend, Ned (the marvelous Jacob Batalon), doesn’t like this idea: He harbors the fantasy that he and Peter are going to be “American bachelors in Europe.” But on the flight over, he falls for sweet A-student Betty (Angourie Rice)—it turns out he’s really just a 19th-century gentleman in a teenage nerd’s body. Ideally, that should leave Peter free to court MJ, though that’s not how it shakes out.
And sure enough, on the tour’s first stop—Venice, an ancient city of incomparable beauty—an angry monster appears, his battering limbs, his unstoppable torso, his roaring head all made of dirty canal water. Peter doesn’t have all the correct Spider-Man accouterments with him and fails at vanquishing the creature. Another superhero, Mysterio, a.k.a. Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), steps in and brings the beast to heel. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who happens to have set up shop in some nearby deserted palazzo, tries to recruit Peter into fighting future creatures—apparently, a bunch more are coming. Peter resists. He just wants to be a normal kid, on holiday. Beck sympathizes with him and offers lots of older-bro advice.
From Venice, the school group—which, incidentally, has the kind of multiracial makeup you’d see in an average New York City classroom—treks to Prague, where the two teacher-chaperones (Martin Starr and J.B. Smoove, both absurdly wonderful) surprise the kids with tickets to a four-hour opera. Meanwhile, Peter is distracted not only by monsters—which means he has to keep dashing off to do Spider-Man things—but also by lingering grief over the loss of his friend and mentor, Tony Stark. It doesn’t help that a hotshot kid from his school, Brad (Remy Hii), keeps trying to move in on MJ.