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Spider-Man: No Way Home – Movie Review

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Spider-Man: No Way Home – Movie Review

Rating: A- (Great)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Sony Pictures

The previous Spider-Man movies with Tom Holland have succeeded thanks to a likeable charm and winning humour, along with the proper stakes. Even with appearances from other Marvel heroes like Iron Man and Nick Fury, they’ve been able to serve as solid stand-alone adventures with his own isolated problems to deal with. Spider-Man: No Way Home ups things to a considerable degree, as the franchise’s co-owners have given director Jon Watts the ability to explore other universes. Bringing in the villains from other Spider-Man pictures allows the film to examine these antagonists in an interesting light and take Peter Parker’s story somewhere new. As a result, No Way Home is able to become the best kind of blockbuster entertainment.

What’s been enjoyable in these new Spider-Man pictures is seeing a teenager navigate the responsibilities of being a superhero. Peter makes plenty of mistakes and is always thinking on his feet and maybe not thinking things through at first. That gives him the proper dimension and a certain amount of relatability. Growing up is about making the occasional foible and trying to learn better, so as not to repeat them. Deciding to take on the role of a superhero adds a lot of pressure and with Peter’s identity revealed at the end of the previous film, we get something new for him to stress about. His friendships with best buddy Ned and girlfriend MJ have been nicely developed over the course of the films and the conversations they have with each other are well written. Tom Holland, Jacob Batalon and Zendaya exhibit plenty of chemistry as they banter and worry with one another.

The integration of villains from the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb films is well done and it’s great seeing actors like Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina reprise their roles. From the moment Doc Ock’s mechanical tentacles burst onto the screen, it’s easy to feel a sense of giddiness. While there are a few jokes here and there, there’s also a respect paid to what Raimi and Webb did with their movies. The movie is just as much about Spider-Man’s iconic rogues gallery as it is about the web-crawler himself. No Way Home takes the time to dig into these baddies and their complexities as many of them turn to villainy primarily because of an accident rather than an inherent need to do bad things. These conversations don’t bog down the story and are necessary in building and developing these characters.

With each subsequent film under his command, Watts has improved the action and visual style. One stand-out sequence in No Way Home involves Spider-Man and Doctor Strange moving around the Inception-like worlds depicted in the sorcerer’s solo movie. The battles with the villains are directed with plenty of the needed excitement and thrills and take advantage of everyone’s abilities and powers. The visual effects team also does a tremendous job of putting all of these different characters together and allowing the audience to believe in the fantastical comic book-inspired events occurring. The filmmakers find the right places for the action beats to occur, while also giving the proper time to build the character moments.

Spider-Man: No Way Home feels like a celebration in many ways. There’s a love for the character’s history and in particular, his cinematic adventures through the last twenty years. The growth of Peter Parker, as played by Tom Holland, has been wonderful to see unfold and the film does a lovely job of capturing the character’s ethics as well as his flaws. Despite the multiple villains on-screen, the film succeeds in balancing all of the different elements. Most importantly, it’s an enormous amount of fun. Even as these Marvel films explore heavy themes, their main priority will always be to entertain the audience and there is never a dull moment in No Way Home. The film takes the Marvel Cinematic Universe to an interesting place and it will be exciting to see where their iconic web-slinger goes from here.

Stefan Ellison