If you are afraid of spoilers, this is not the review for you. There are HEAVY spoilers in this, as it is the only way to look at it critically. If you haven’t seen it yet and you are part of the #keepthesecrets crowd, stop reading now.
Spider-man has been a staple from Sony for the past few decades, with a recurring roster of actors including Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and most recently Tom Holland. There however has long been a curse, Spiderman 3 was not well received from Maguire’s take, Garfield didn’t make it past 2 and all eyes were on Holland for the third outing. Fortunately, this has been avoided thanks to the multiverse story that brings all the old villains and previous Spider-Men into the MCU with a pinch of Doctor Strange to help things along the way.
The story picks up right where we left Parker after Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhal) outed Spidey’s identity as Peter Parker and the impact that would have on the world. As Wong says “the most famous person on the planet” He is not alone in the consequences though, MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon) are suffering the consequences by association. When they get denied admission to college, Peter pays a visit to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to cast a spell to make everyone forget that Peter Parker is Spider-man. As the spell is being cast Peter quickly shouts out the names of people who he wants to still remember which sends the spell awry. This then pulls everyone from the multiverse who knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man (well the cis males anyway) into Peter’s universe.
As Peter/Spider-man track down the inter-dimensional visitors and trap them in Doctor Strange’s basement until he figures out how they can be sent home, Peter realises that they are all damaged and he would much rather use technology and fix them rather than send them back to die in their universe. Doctors Strange disagrees with this method and the two duke it out.
The biggest thrill of this movie for people my age (30 +) is seeing the original Spider-Man villains and heroes back on the big screen. Spider-Man was the first big Marvel superhero movie in 2002 and helped pave the way for the huge roster of comic book films we have now. Director Jon Watts knows this and lovingly creates a tribute and gives these characters decent story arcs and conversations to help re-introduce them into the MCU. What I forget was how amazing these actors are in these roles, particularly Willem Dafoe as Harry Osborne aka The Green Goblin. No other villain has come close to being this menacing in the MCU so far and time has only made his performance better. Alfred Molina returns as Doctor Otto Octavius aka Doc Oc and seeing him interact with Osborne and make sense of this multiverse theory and everything in it is a joy to watch. Similarly, Jamie Foxx as Electro gets a redemption arc as he didn’t have the best experience in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, he gets more meat here and his character comes off as less ridiculous. Also thanks for the butt naked scene, we appreciated it.
The big swing is having Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire return as Peter Parker/Spider-Man respectively. You can see that they have matured in their roles and still retain the parts of Parker/Spider-Man that made them so memorable. Garfield is fun, inquisitive and loving, you can genuinely see that he was appreciative to have this redemption arc. The chemistry between the three Parker’s is infectious and shine as the highlight of the movie. Every time the story veers away from them it begins to reveal the glaring holes in it. All of this is easily forgiven as we didn’t come here for an oscar worthy plot. Similarly, the villains get their chance at redemption and this is certainly an interesting angle to go down. While it is a great idea, unfortunately the execution isn’t fantastic. It starts off well and then kinds of just resolves itself quickly because the other Spider-men are there and who cares about anything else right?
Spider-Man: No Way Home is far from the best Spider-Man movie. It draws on the success of the strong franchise that has come before it and brings the cast back to avoid the curse of the third film. By drawing on its past, creates the best parts of the film. Regrettably, it does nothing to propel the franchise forward. Like Parker, Holland is growing as an actor, but he is still stuck in acting as a child in this role. This really needs to be shrugged off in future sequels, and after the ending, hopefully, this is the case. Spider-Man: No Way Home is a feast for fans who have long been devoted to the franchise. Outsiders will feel a little lost here, but the sheer joy and excitement from the audience will keep you having fun. This is a once in a lifetime cinema experience, and one you won’t forget.
Spider-Man : No Way Home is now showing in cinemas everywhere.
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