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Film Review: ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ is an Epic, Intense, and Satisfying Adventure for Peter Parker

Sony
Sony

To discuss Spider-Man: No Way Home at any length is to brush up against spoilers, so a fair warning: while I’m not talking about anything that should surprise you, it’s probably best to go into this one cold. Marvel and Sony are fully hoping that what they have in store for audiences just washes over you all in a pure way. Luckily, they also have a dark yet fun adventure on their hands, one that’s epic in all of the right ways. The Marvel Cinematic Universe hasn’t had their most successful of years on the big screen (though it’s a banner one for the MCU on the small screen), but Spider-Man: No Way Home changes that. This is more than worth the wait, trust me there.

Spider-Man: No Way Home continues the strong run for Spidey in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While not quite as utterly delightful as Spider-Man: Homecoming, it matches and often exceeds the already strong Spider-Man: Far From Home. A ton happens, with lasting impact for the MCU. While not as overtly optimistic as the prior installments, this hero’s optimism is necessary for the tests on display here. Truly, his entire life has been building up to this. An epic and high stakes Marvel adventure for the character, it’s darker and more serious than the previous two, but also big emotions and several moments that will make your jaw drop.

Sony

Picking up directly after Spider-Man: Far From Home and its shocker of an ending, we find Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) dealing with the world learning his identity. As much as this is going to ruin his life, the fact that his girlfriend MJ (Zendaya), best friend Ned (Jacob Batalon), and Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) are suffering is too much to bear, especially when the teens are all rejected from college. So, Peter goes to Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to see if magic could be the answer. His solution? A spell that will make everyone forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Of course, Pete doesn’t want everyone to forget, just most people, and his constant addendums to the spell screw it up, opening up New York City in the MCU to the multiverse. While they think they’ve averted any catastrophes, the arrival of villains from other timelines, like Otto Octavious / Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) and Norman Osbourne / Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) suggests otherwise. However, even these bad guys are thrown for a loop when this Peter Parker isn’t the one they recognize.

Determined to get these villains back to their realms, Doctor Strange just wants to cast a spell. However, when Pete finds out that they all died fighting other Spider-Men, he wants to help. So, along with MJ and Ned, he sets out to help cure Doc Oc, Green Goblin, Max Dillon / Electro (Jamie Foxx), and others. Can Spider-Man save the day and help the bad guys? It may be too tall an order, even for our friendly neighborhood web-slinger.

Sony

Tom Holland has to play a somewhat more mature Peter Parker here, but he’s more than up to the task. It’s his most complex role in the MCU, showing some real growth for the character. The returning players all are super comfortable in their roles, whether it’s MCU mainstays or folks from the old days. To say more about that would be veering into territory I don’t want to cover, but you’ll find out. Joining the cast members previously mentioned, the cast also includes Hannibal Buress, Jon Favreau, Tony Revolori, Angourie Rice, J.K. Simmons, J.B. Smoove, Martin Starr, Benedict Wong, and plenty of others. The film has a huge cast and serves them all well, so just go in knowing that.

Director Jon Watts, as well as writers Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, have been with this trilogy throughout, so the evolutions here for the characters and series makes thematic sense. They pack a lot into a nearly two and a half hour running time, but it never feels bloated, nor rushed. They found a near Avengers level story to tell and tell it well. If they’re handing off the baton to other filmmakers to continue Spidey stories (Watts is moving on to a potential Fantastic Four flick, for example), this is a good way to do it. There’s closure and surprises galore here, but also a clear avenue for further adventures. You’ll see what I mean in a few days.

Spider-Man: No Way Home is going to cause a stir. At this point, anticipation is at a fever pitch, so whether potential surprises happen or not, it’s going to be a frenzy. Bottom line? This is a very good film and potentially a top ten Marvel entry. Whether it has staying power or not depends on what comes next, but the movie is likely to satisfy most. What more can you ask for? Now, avoid spoilers and check this flick out ASAP!

SCORE: ★★★1/2

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Written by Joey Magidson

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