Spider-Man: No Way Home is an epic film but you’re best off going into the film knowing very little about it because it’ll ruin the fun.
If you know the Marvel films by now, you already know to stay for the end of the credits. Outside of this, I’m going to do the challenging thing and try to write about the film without spoiling it.
The film continues right where Spider-Man: Far From Home leaves off. Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) becomes entangled in Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) web because Peter wants the world to forget he’s Spider-Man. Doctor Strange being the wizard that he is, well, screws things up because Peter doesn’t know how to, umm, shut up. Instead of the world forgetting that he’s Spider-Man, Strange’s spell brings in everyone who knows Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Next thing you know, we’re reunited with the rogue gallery: Green Goblin, Doc Ock,
Sandman, Lizard, Electro. The classic Spider-Man villains from the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb franchises! They’re all looking for Peter but he isn’t their Peter. At the end of the day, the big question will be what happens with Peter, MJ (Zendaya), and Ned (Jacob Batalon)?
“With great power comes great responsibility.” – Ben Parker in previous outings.
When it comes to the rogues gallery returning, these aren’t cameo appearances. No, we’re talking substantial screen time and a plot that features the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), and Electro (Jamie Foxx). I’ll get into responsibility here in a moment but there’s a Peter Parker here that wants to do the right thing. He doesn’t want to send them back to their deaths in the previous films. No, this Peter wants them to have a second chance. This is easier said than done, of course. But at the same time, one has to appreciate the advances in technology that makes this achievement possible.
One more thing: it is impossible to do a Spider-Man movie without J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons). Simmons is the only person, more or less, who can pull it off and I’m glad to see him return. Again, it’s not just a glorified cameo but his purpose, like that of the rogues gallery, serves the story.
This film is about Peter stepping up to accept the responsibility. He may still be a teenager but he’s a teenager that saved the world with the fricking Avengers. How is Peter going to accept the responsibility that comes with his decisions? It’s a question that this film seeks to answer. Peter no longer has Tony Stark around as a mentor but the relationship. Much like Tony played a supporting role in Homecoming and Nick Fury and Maria Hill were there in Far From Home, Doctor Strange steps up to the plate. The relationship here is kind of complicated. How should Peter address someone that he fought alongside but isn’t a close friend. Is there a professional courtesy?
I know what you’re all thinking. Who else shows up? Folks, I’m here to tell you that you’re not getting any answers from me. No, you’ll just have to wait until you watch the film on the big screen. I’m not even going to tell you if there are moments where I found myself cheering and applauding (Reader, there were). What I will tell you is that if you’ve been putting off the return to the theater, this is certainly the film to see on the big screen. Safety first, obviously, but the small screen just doesn’t do Spider-Man: No Way Home justice. Not for a first watch, anyway.
What I love about Spider-Man: No Way Home is that we get to see the multiverse explored a bit more. I honestly think this is the film we’ve been waiting years to see. However, I will also say that the online leaks are disappointing. Can we no longer go into a film without knowing what’s going to happen?!? I mean, can we no longer just wait it out and just take things in the moment as they come? But I digress. Anyway, the multiverse has also been the big focus among Phase 4 projects, be it TV and film. We’ll continue to see the ramifications over the course of the next few films. I’ll certainly be curious to see how they tie in What If…? to the current phase of films.
I hope this isn’t the last Spider-Man film starring Tom Holland. It seems pretty definitive in terms of storytelling. There’s always a Spider-Man story to tell but the question remains who will be wearing the costume in these future forms of storytelling. Will it be Tom Holland or do they reboot Peter’s story once again? The ball is in Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige’s court. Personally, I’ll be curious to see if the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness seeks to undo some of what happens in this film.
Spider-Man: No Way Home isn’t just epic fun but the film will give a much-needed boost to the pandemic-stricken box office.
DIRECTOR: Jon Watts
SCREENWRITERS: Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers
CAST: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau, Jamie Foxx, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Benedict Wong, Tony Revolori, with Marisa Tomei
Sony releases Spider-Man: No Way Home in theaters on December 17, 2021.
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