With Spider-Man’s identity now revealed, Peter asks Doctor Strange for help. When a spell goes wrong, dangerous foes from other worlds start to appear, forcing Peter to discover what it truly means to be Spider-Man.
Post-Endgame, Marvel have hit possibly their first rocky patch in some time with ‘Eternals’ possibly marking their first actual flop, both critically and commercially (relatively speaking). Indeed, for the incredibly small part I play, it’s the first Marvel movie I decided not to bother with going back a number of years. Thankfully for Marvel, there wasn’t long to wait to get their next film out and it’s probably their most reliable character in Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, at least since the baton was handed over from the old guard. In ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’, we actually get three Spider-Men for the price of one, with the plot surrounding a breach in the multiverse that brings a host of villains from the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield iterations of Spider-Man into this world.
I really enjoyed this film and felt it handled the multitude of characters and complexities in the plot well, with a strong balance of humour, action and drama. It is true that more than any other character we’ve seen a hell of a lot of Spider-Man in the past 20 years (8 live action films and counting, with 1 animated movie which is also getting a sequel!), and many of the beats of Spider-Man’s story are well known, but I felt this was used to its advantage in ‘No Way Home’, which is played with a knowing wink. The movie begins with the identity of Peter Parker as Spider-Man being revealed to the public, drastically changing Parker’s life and the lives of his friends MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon). Parker wants things to go back to the way they were beforehand and he contacts Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to make this happen – of course, the film’s premise is indicative of this attempt not working quite as intended, and we find a host of villains from other realities drafted in to this world. That includes reappearances from some of the more memorable villains such as Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin and Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock, alongside some of the more forgettable entrants such as Rhys Ifans Lizard, who gets a second chance (and still underwhelms to be fair).
Director Jon Watts handles this supersized cast well and manages to balance the high stakes action with some of the lower stakes (will Peter and friends get into college!) well and more than almost anyone else in the MCU, these characters are just good fun to hang out with. It does undoubtedly owe a debt to ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’, the equally fun animated movie that plays with different realities, but that’s not a bad place to take influence from! I thought ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ was a really entertaining movie that blasts through it’s 150 minute runtime, and it features the humour and heart that underpins what makes a good ‘Spider-Man’ movie.
Directed By: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jon Favreau, Marisa Tomei, Alfred Molina, Willem Dafoe, Jamie Foxx, Thomas Haden Church, Rhys Ifans, Benedict Wong, Tony Revolori, J. K. Simmons, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire