Let me preface this by saying that I wasn’t initially super excited for this movie. I felt that it was overhyped and I remember limiting my time on social media due to the fatigue of the relentless promos for this. But days before its release, my hubby and I rewatched the previous movie, Spider-Man: Far From Home, which got me excited to see this one. Well, this movie picked up where it left off when Peter’s identity was revealed by Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) and he’s deemed Public Enemy #1 by Daily Bugle (JK Simmons).
The first 15 minutes dealt with the ramifications of that big reveal. The whole world’s attention is on poor Peter Parker–some are cheering for him, but given he’s been framed as Mysterio’s killer, some are castrating him too. Peter is now a high school senior who’s looking forward to college. He and his buddy Ned (Jacob Batalon) & new girlfriend MJ (Zendaya) hope to go to MIT, but their hopes are dashed with this new revelations that he’s been accused as a criminal. Peter is devastated that his friends also bear the brunt of his actions, that they too are found guilty by associations which cost them their college dreams.
If you’ve seen at least one trailer then you likely know Peter enlists his fellow Avenger Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to help reverse time to where people would forget he is Spider-man. Despite Wong’s (Benedict Wong) warning not to cast that time-altering spell, Strange ends up help him out anyway, but Peter’s constant interruptions messes up the spell. ‘We tampered with the stability of spacetime. The multiverse is a concept about which we know frighteningly little,’ Strange said to Peter as they brace for what’s going to come next.
Director John Watts and screenwriters Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers has come up with the boldest and most ambitious movie of the franchise. Instead of coming up with a new villain, Peter now has to deal with Spider-man’s enemies from outside his own universe. One of my faves of the franchise is Spider-man 2, so it’s fun to see Doc Ock (Alfred Molina) shows up with his giant mechanical tentacles. The action sequences on the freeway overpass is pretty wild and filled with the humor we’ve come to expect.
The first villain from the franchise directed by Sam Raimi, Norman Osborne aka Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) is also back terrorizing Spidey once again. I have to say I was in awe of Mr. Dafoe’s commitment to the role, the acclaimed thespian never phones it in which big stars often do in franchises like this. In fact, his performance in the third act alone makes me think he’s one of the strongest baddies of the MCU. There are previous villains from Maguire’s and Garfield’s Spidey movies as well, but none of them are really that memorable by comparison.
Tom Holland proves once again he’s a terrific Spider-man who can balance the action, humor as well as emotional beats. The fact that he was cast when he was a teenager makes him the most age-appropriate for the character. I enjoy the effortless chemistry between the trio of friends, it helps that the actors are actually good friends in real life. Both Batalon and Zendaya have more screen time in this adventure that feel organic and not at all forced.
Now, I’m going to talk about my favorite moments and it’s be impossible not to discuss important plot points, so consider this a spoiler warning.
Spoiler Alert (proceed with caution):
The long-rumored reunion of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield as the previous Spideys indeed materialize. As is the appearance of Charlie Cox as Peter’s attorney, Matt Murdock. The entire theater erupted every time each of them showed up, and the filmmakers engineered each of the Spidey appearance in a delightful and hilarious fashion. Inclusivity brownie points for including Tagalok language in the scene involving Ned’s grandma.
The fight scene in the third act is definitely the highlight with a trio of Spideys fighting multiple villains from the multiverse. Filled with witty one liners, dynamic action, hilarious as well as moments up until the end. The final action sequence is loud, chaotic and cgi-filled that often plagued superhero movies, but this one has plenty of humor and surprises that made it more palatable. That bit where the other two Spideys were making fun of Tobey’s version for having organic web-shooters is a hoot! Garfield undoubtedly steals the show with his funniest comments… that ‘cool youth pastor’ quip still made me laugh. Having seen him as Spidey again, I feel like he was unfairly maligned. He’s the Timothy Dalton of the Spidey franchise and now fans want to see him reprise his role in a third film. Count me in!!
I love how each Spidey got to atone for the mistake they made in their own film. When Peter say goodbye to his beloved aunt, there were few dry eyes in the theater. I remember tearing up towards the end as well as Tobey’s Spidey prevented Holland’s version from making the same mistake he did, that is killing his enemy. This is the first superhero film that actually try to save the villains instead of getting rid of them, even at a high personal cost… that altruistic quality makes it even more perfect that it’s released during the Christmas season.
I’m glad I got to see this in IMAX to enjoy the dazzling visuals that one would expect from Marvel. Be sure to stay for the mid and post-credit sequences. I wasn’t really clamoring to see Doctor Strange sequel, but now I’m excited to seeDoctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness next Spring. How interesting that Raimi is directing that one, good to see him joining the MCU fifteen years after he did Spider-man 3.
No Way Home is a great example of ‘fan service’ done right that make people fall in love with the characters all over again. The writers did a good job raising the stakes for Parker involving those he holds dear and devised an ending that’s quite a game changer for the character. It’s the kind of blockbuster crowd pleaser with redemptive qualities and genuine emotional resonance that can break through even the most bombastic action sequences.
What are YOUR thoughts about Spider-man: No WayHome?