No Way Home, the third MCU Spider-Man film directed by Jon Watts, sees its returning cast joined by familiar faces like Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Jamie Foxx, Rhys Ifans and Thomas Haden Church, who are not only known characters actor but they’ve all been in a previous Spider-Man movie pre-MCU. It has led many of us to believe that previous Spider-Men, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire will feature in this movie. Even if they weren’t leaks and rumors pointing that way it would have made sense for them to appear; and yet they’re not the ones I’m most excited to see – *cough* Charlie Cox *cough*. Anyway besides these spidey vilains and spider-men, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Benedict Wong also join Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau, and Marisa Tomei.
Premise: After Peter Parker’s identity as Spider-Man was exposed by Mysterio at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019), his life and reputation are turned upside down. Parker asks Dr. Stephen Strange to help restore his secret identity with magic, but this breaks open the multiverse, allowing supervillains from alternate realities who previously fought alternate versions of Spider-Man to arrive.
Review: Despite all the leaks and rumors – that I’ve seen anyway – there’s still a fair share of surprises in this movie. Even kind of knowing what to expect it was still fun to see it realized, to see the actors in action, but this movie is a bit uneven.
Story-wise you can tell what was locked and loaded, and what was in flux in the script because some of the beats are so sleek and go so well together. For instance most of Holland’s arc, and the villain’s was great. Then you have these awkward moments that kind of work but are still weird and even cringey at times, but there’s so many exciting people in it and exciting moments happening that you can forgive it – I did. It seems I only needed a brick thrown at a window for me to be happy, the rest was extra.
The villains were something else, as a whole they were great and the actors did a fantastic job but Holland, Dafoe, Zendaya, and Tomei did an excellent job -Them and the guy who caught the brick 😉 -, their arcs were the best parts of this movie. Funny how what they worked the hardest to hide didn’t come close to what makes this movie good. Anyway, Holland nailed it here, I went from thinking his Peter Parker was the dumbest and most trusting person ever to appreciate his emotional journey after a particular fight that ended in a building lobby. I also enjoyed the way he looks lovingly at Zendaya’s M.J., who might be the best superhero girlfriend around. As for aunt May, I love how involved she is, and the way they established who she is as a person, what she believes in with just a few scenes.
Awkward moments aside, another thing that I’ve had a hard time with in this movie is how some character’s behaviors are completely different. The difference could be explained away but the contrast compared to what was and some of the others was a bit too jarring. So that and the awkward moments that felt added on are my main problems with the film. In fact, I know when I started to really like this movie, it was when his sixth sense went off in the appartement, from then on I enjoyed the movie more and more even if the problems are peppered throughout. It still had a few weird moments but I can see myself skipping to that part if I’m streaming it.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is high on emotions and fan service – there’s even a Graham Norton Show reference – but mostly marks Peter’s growth as a person – from boy to young man -, redefines and showcases his abilities – notably his strength and Spidey sense. I’m excited to see how it’ll go next.
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