MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: “Spider-Man: No Way Home” stars Tom Holland (Cherry, In the Heart of the Sea), Zendaya (The Greatest Showman, Euphoria [TV series]), Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness, Imitation Game), Jacob Batalan (Let It Snow, The True Don Quixote), Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Chef), Alfred Molina (Frida, Boogie Nights), Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse, The Florida Project), Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained, Collateral), Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny, Parental Guidance), Benedict Wong (Annihilation, The Martian), Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Dope), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash , Juno), Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill, Anonymous), and Thomas Haden Church (Sideways, Easy A). It is directed by Jon Watts (Cop Car, Clown), and written by Chris McKenna (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, The Lego Batman Movie) and Erik Sommers (Ant-Man and the Wasp, Crank Yankers [TV series]).
After the world finds out he’s Spider-Man, Peter Parker (Holland) asks Doctor Strange (Cumberbatch) to wipe everyone’s minds from it. But when he realizes that the ones close to him would forget he is Spider-Man as well, Peter tampers with Strange’s spell, causing a rift to be opened to the multiverse.
There are no words… well, not many without spoiling the feature, that is. So, I have decided to make this a spoiler review. In case you have not seen the movie, I suggest that you do. Long story short, it is worth the price of admission, and is one of the most fun experiences I have had a the movies this year. With that said, let’s get on with the review…
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Earlier this month, I started working at a movie theater. Regal Cinemas to be exact. Being that most of us had to work as ushers for the upcoming Spider-Man film, our bosses thought it’d be best if they held a screening for the staff (to avoid us getting spoiled of the story). So, the opening night of the movie, I got to see it for free in IMAX. And my goodness people, it was a blast.
We all know the girth of this project. There’s a crap ton of villains and a multi-verse to tend to. History shows that cramming a lot into one Spider-Man story isn’t a good recipe (sorry Sam and Tobey). I was aprehensive to the mass of this, but somehow this Marvel team pulled it off in spades. The balancing of characters and story is one to study, as the film not only manages to deliver a solid Tom Holland sequel, but resolution to other Spider-Man characters as well.
Yes folks, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire are in this one. Did I suspect they would? Yes. Did I still get chills? Also yes. Their involvement in this narrative was spectacular. They didn’t feel shoehorned or out of place; they actually added to the story and were given some powerful moments of their own. Some of my favorites include Garfield saving M.J. (Zendaya) and (more importantly) Tobey stopping the Green Goblin’s (Dafoe) glider. My gosh. If I could cry, I would. The emotional weight that this movie brought was intense.
What I love about this movie most is how it reminded me of my fandom for Spider-Man as a kid. Long ago, back when Tobey was the only Spider-Man, I was a massive fan. I saw “Spider-Man 3” in theaters, collected some comics, and wished to climb up walls. It was only as I got older and Garfield took over that I lost my passion for the hero. Seeing this story capitalize on all that I enjoyed as a kid made me warm and fuzzy inside. It circled around the theme that we know all too well: “with great power comes great responsibility.” And how is that showcased? Through the act of loving our enemies.
From start to finish, “No Way Home” excites. Of course, most of what makes this wonderful is its cash-in on nostalgia. If you did not grow up on Spider-Man (or know much about the guy), you probably won’t be as impressed. But as someone who knows these villains and the movies they were in, I had a ball. The action sequences are well-directed, the performances are comically fun, and the score is booming (Michael Giacchino, you sly dog). In its highs and lows, you feel connected with these characters, and the filmmakers never let up on both the emotion and fun of it all.
One thing I must note as well is Tom Holland. He has proven time and time again that he is one of the (if not THE) best Spider-Mans. Tobey will forever hold the place in my heart, but my gosh… Tom kills it in this. He is shaping up to be a terrific actor, and I can see that man going far in this industry (past the spandex years). The core three in this (including Zendaya and Batalan) continue their solid chemistry, and in many ways keep the wild, big story from getting too out of hand.
There’s plenty more I could dive into about “No Way Home.” But, I will keep this short, given how there is so much to unpack. The villains in this are incredible; even the ones that were mishandled were given a solid make-over (I’m looking at you Electro [Foxx]). Jon Watts managed to helm one of the most expansive features of this year in a way that seemed effortless. To me, it’s a nice arc in and of itself, given how “Homecoming” was only his third movie to direct (with the previous being small budgeted flicks). Also, hats off to the writers. I don’t know how long it took to pen this, but man was it a feat.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” has managed to ascend my expectations, crafting a wonderful story that could have easily been bloated. Holland crushes it, and there is plenty here to keep a viewer engaged and enthralled. My childhood love for Spider-Man was paid forward, and while there are some story elements that don’t make much sense (when you dive into the multi-verse, things get messy), “No Way Home” takes its place as the best of this new trilogy. Here’s to more rewatches in the future! FINAL SCORE: 93%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: