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Spider-Man: No Way Home (A Movie Review)


Starring Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Jon Favreau, Jamie Foxx, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Benedict Wong, Tony Revolori, Marisa Tomei, Andrew Garfield, Tobey Maguire, Thomas Haden Church, Rhys Ifans, Charlie Cox, Angourie Rice, Arian Moayed, Paula Newsome, Hannibal Buress, Martin Starr, JB Smoove and JK Simmons.

Screenplay by Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers.

Directed by Jon Watts.

Distributed by Columbia Pictures. 148 minutes. Rated PG-13.

We’ve all been waiting, and yes, it was worth the wait. Spider-Man: No Way Home has been the subject of a massive amount of chatter online, as little nuggets of information were slipped out to the fans.

Is that really Alfred Molina revisiting his Spider-Man 2 role of Doc Octopus? Is Willem Defoe really coming back as The Green Goblin from the original 2003 Spider-Man movie? And Jamie Foxx is coming back too as Electro from The Amazing Spider-Man 2? Plus, are they giving the character the traditional Electro outfit, not making him look like Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen like in the earlier film?

I feel safe mentioning that eventually five former Spidey supervillains show up from the earlier Sam Raimi and Marc Webb Spider-Man series, since that has been shown in the trailers and other stories. (The other two are Thomas Haden Church’s Sandman from Spider-Man 3 and Rhys Ifans’ Lizard, also from The Amazing Spider-Man 2.) Well, technically a sixth one kind of shows up, but no more about that.

Still, the best way to go into Spider-Man: No Way Home is knowing as little as possible. In fact, before the preview screening I saw, there was a short clip where the stars begged us not to give up any spoilers.

It is nearly impossible to explain how much fun the latest Spider-Man film No Way Home is without giving up spoilers. And while I will do my best to keep a lid on the surprises, any article which discusses this film without mentioning any of those things will be very short indeed. So fair warning, if you want to wait until after you see Spider-Man: No Way Home before reading the story, I will not be offended. The article will be here after you are ready.

The new Spider-Man film centers on the concept of the multiverse, a concept which has become exceedingly popular in comic-book films and TV series – both Marvel and DC have used it extensively, and even Spidey has previously used it in the stand-alone animated film Spider-Man: Into the Multiverse.

As explained in “Multiverse theory suggests that our universe, with all its hundreds of billions of galaxies and almost countless stars, spanning tens of billions of light-years, may not be the only one. Instead, there may be an entirely different universe, distantly separated from ours — and another, and another.” Therefore, there are multiple variations of people in different universes, all living different lives and lifestyles and effected by different world events.

I’ve never been a huge fan of the whole multiverse thing – it seems too convenient and makes anything, no matter how unlikely, possible. However, Spider-Man: No Way Home uses the theory elegantly, tying together the three recent Spider-Man film series into an eye-popping, emotionally draining whole.

It does this in one more basic way. [SPOILER ALERT!] I feel I can say this because it has been floating around for a while, but if you want to be completely surprised, skip this paragraph. In the new film, current Spidey Tom Holland meets up with the two previous film Peter Parkers: Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire. All of them have different styles, different personalities and different takes on the character (just like the films that spawned them), and together they fight off the series of bad guys let loose from the multiverse.

[Okay, spoiler people can come back now.]

Okay, that’s all the secrets I’ll be letting out. However, what I can say without ruining anything is that Spider-Man: No Way Home is the perfect modern blockbuster and the best MCU film in quite some time, maybe even since the first Avengers movie – and I’m saying that as a fan of many of the films that have come in between.

As always, it is also self-referential. One nice, slightly unimportant Easter Egg for fans is the first crossover between the MCU and the Netflix Marvel series happens here, with a brief cameo by Daredevil star Charlie Cox as his alter-ego, Matt Murdoch, who is hired as a lawyer to defend Peter Parker.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is fun, exciting, and often surprisingly moving. Let’s face it, it’s a triumph all around. This is how these films should be done.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2021 All rights reserved. Posted: December 17, 2021.

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