Spider-Man: No Way Home (MOVIE REVIEW)
Runtime: 148 Minutes
Director: Jon Watts
Cast: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau
Spider-Man’s mainstay as one of the most beloved characters in pop culture and modern fiction cannot be understated. Through staying mostly grounded as our friendly neighbourhood superhero in New York City, the struggles of everyday life and trying to balance it with heroic duties is what kept Spider-Man a truly perfect character. His relatability is what makes him so easy to attach to and even with that typical template for the masked vigilante, Sony and Marvel are still finding new ways to keep us coming back to the cinema to see our favourite Webhead’s next adventures. And this time with Spider-Man: No Way Home, they absolutely aren’t pulling back any punches. This final chapter in the MCU’s ‘Home’ trilogy is an exhilarating work, mixing the history of the character’s cinematic past with an emotional narrative that can only be declared a true celebration of Spider-Man in every shape and form.
Being a first for Spider-Man on the big screen, we are finally revealed a depiction of the character we’ve never seen before: a hero with his identity exposed. After the events of Far From Home had Mysterio out Peter Parker as Spider-Man to the public as a last ditch effort before he died, the teenager's life is thrown upside down. Authorities are on him and his family’s case and all that’s keeping him stable is his relationship with MJ. When he goes to Doctor Strange to try to get him to conjure a spell that will make the world forget he is Spider-Man, the plan goes horribly wrong as they accidentally open up the multiverse. With villains from different universes coming to their own and causing havoc, Peter must stop them and realise the real importance of what it is to be Spider-Man.
No Way Home admittedly starts off a bit slow. Considering how big of a splash Far From Home made just as a dramatic shift for this character, it does take a bit of time for this film to get going as it establishes Peter’s predicament as an outed superhero. It’s fairly interesting stuff as it explores how Peter’s friends and family are affected by the situation but it does tiptoe along at a fairly slow pace to the point where the first 30 minutes might be a bit dull. But once the multiverse angle gets brought in and the real conflict of this movie starts, that’s when the film becomes a non-stop rollercoaster right up to the credits. Spider-Man: No Way Home is an absolute riot; a true celebration of why this character has remained so adored and why he will continue to do so years down the line. This film does not hold itself back and for the most part, it’s absolutely for the better. For a film with this many references, cameos, and overt fan service present, it could have been so easy for a movie like this to feel so pandering and shameless on the same level as Ralph Breaks the Internet or Space Jam: A New Legacy. But because of this film’s commitment to presenting a strong story and how the references are all done in service of telling it, it makes for such a worthwhile experience. It’s difficult to discuss much of this aspect of the film without going into spoilers, but all that will be said about it is that there will be plenty of moments in this movie that will have Spidey fans and movie purists cheering for joy in their seats. This film for its second half especially was an essential reminder of how powerful and special the cinema experience can be. Just that euphoric feeling when you share a movie with hundreds of people in a dark room and you feel all the happiness and good vibes that come with a story’s strong moments. It’s simply magical and makes it easy to recommend the film on that level just for the theatrical experience.
One thing that can also be discussed without spoiling this movie is just how great the performances here are across the board. Seeing Tom Holland grow as this character from his introduction in Captain America: Civil War to this latest entry has been a joy and that is because you can see how much he has improved as an actor between movies. He has grown along with Peter Parker and this movie goes down some surprisingly dark places that require him to be a lot more dramatic. And yet, he succeeds with flying colours, and while it is super doubtful this late in the game alongside the Superhero biases, this is one of the best performances from this year that really should be considered for awards attention. The same can also be applied to the villains. Of course a lot of the big name actors from the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb Spider-Man films are back with the likes of Alfred Molina and Jamie Foxx as Doc Ock and Electro respectively, but the real big highlight is Willem Dafoe as the Green Goblin. Even after another iteration of this iconic villain in the 2010’s, Dafoe just shows up in this movie to prove that he still is the absolute champion when bringing the Goblin to life. He plays him with such an amazing sinister presence as his alter ego, but also makes him equally as vulnerable and sympathetic when he’s just good old Norman Osborn. Considering the huge scope this movie has already, it was just great to see Tom Holland and Willem Dafoe especially at the top of their game with such a big story as this. All of this is also brought together with a climax that may simply put be one of the best conclusions to an MCU film to date and that’s in comparison to Avengers: Endgame’s bombastic finale. The film’s first half may be a smidge too slow but it’s final hour is pure cinematic joy. It was refreshing that for an MCU film in this day and age, it’s actually a bit hard to predict where the story goes and the actual ending they settle on is just perfect. The right blend of satisfying and bittersweet that will absolutely change the game for the MCU for sure, but provides just the right conclusion for this trilogy and this character. It’s hard proof that even after nearly 20 years of movies and constant changes and evolutions to the world and brand, Spider-Man is still around to provide plenty of surprises that will keep people coming back for more.
After the last two years have been a true struggle for cinemas and the overall theatrical experience, to see a film like this make such a huge splash was so refreshing. Spider-Man: No Way Home is a great reminder of how special the communal aura of the cinema can be and how it can provide such beautiful shared memories when looking back at the film’s most exciting and pivotal moments. And even putting that aside, it’s just a really, really good Spider-Man movie that does everything a strong sequel should be. It’s a bigger and way more bolder sequel than the previous instalments while still retaining the true heart of this character even as it does down dark places. It’s a really wonderful movie that while not perfect mainly in the pacing department in its first half, makes up for it with one of the best superhero climaxes ever made. It deserves all the love. Go watch it!
FINAL RATING:- 8/10 (GREAT)