Spider-Man: No Way Home


Even before he made his welcome integration into the Marvel Cinematic universe, true Spider-Fans of Peter Parker’s cinematic exploits have been well aware of what Spider-Man’s greatest villain has always been. Those thinking it might be the pumpkin bomb scattering Green Goblin, the tentacles of Doctor Octopus or even the disorienting visions of the bubble-headed Mysterio are way off as the one thing that always managed to lay the wall crawler low is a crowded script. With both the relentlessly stuffed Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 being notorious franchise killers that both triggered hasty reboots, this brings us to possibly the most anticipated Spider-Man movie ever made, Spider-Man: No Way Home, a film that’s been insanely hyped by spoiler hungry fans who have stirred expectations to the deranged heights of that of Avengers: Endgame.


In the immediate wake of Mysterio outing Spider-Man’s secret identity to the world at the end of Far From Home, Peter Parker and the people around him find their lives relentlessly turned upside down by a baying public. While this is all traumatic enough, when everything dies down a short while later, Peter realises that the seismic ripples are still negatively affecting MJ and Ned’s chances of having the future they deserve and so he takes the rather extreme measure of going to Doctor Strange and having him make the whole world forget with a handy dandy spell. However, Peter’s rather hyper active nature mixed with that old Parker luck causes the spell to go as screwy as a squirrel on quaaludes and a rather unfortunate side effect occurs that involves Spider-Man villains from across the multiverse being plucked from their various realities and dumped in this one. Charged with Strange to round up such malajusted super freaks such as The Lizard, Electro, Sandman, Doctor Octopus and – worst of all – Norman Osborn’s hopelessly mental Green Goblin, in order to send them back to where they came from, Peter finds out that the majority of these guys where pulled from their worlds the exact moment they were due to die fighting their various Spider-Men. Being inhumanly decent, Peter believes there must be some other way and lobbies force more peaceful solution that involves curing them all somehow of their corrupting superpowers but this puts him at odds with the notoriously stern Strange who would rather not let the stability of the multiverse depend on a kid fresh out of high school trying to rehabilitate a man with four giant, robot tentacles. As Peter depends on his friends and family more than ever before to act as his moral centre to stand against multiple bad guys and a pissed off sorcerer, he’ll be forced to make sacrifices like never before – but can even he stand alone against such stacked odds.


Well, Holland told us this would be Spider-Man’s Endgame and he wasn’t mucking about because when it comes to insane amounts of fan service, devastating shifts in status quo and pure instances of scream out loud moments, Spider-Man: No Way Home practically topples that Avengers super-epic while only the use of (technically) a single super hero character.
So before this review devolves into mindless fanboy screeching (which I’m prone to do, cos I’m a massive Spider-Man nut), let’s temper things by firstly address the (sort of) negative. Those expecting the perky, colourful exploits of Homecoming and Far From Home may be surprised at the darkness and director Jon Watts has sacrificed some of that beguiling, teen movie, innocence that made the newer movies so much fun in favour of more standard, spandex shenanigans. But then, Peter, MJ and Ned are all leaving school in the hope of moving on to enrole in MIT, so the draining of the happy-go-lucky atmosphere actually fits as they all are becoming adults. Another issue is that to really appreciate some of the character arcs, you really should have acquainted yourself with some Spider-Man movies that just aren’t that good – but again, No Way Home pulls the impressive trick of actually rehabilitating thecworst of them somewhat. Lets see Kevin Feige pull off that trick when they get Fantastic Four off the ground…


However, despite the movie being just as (if not more than) crammed as Spider-Verse, No Way home is still an immensely crazy ride full of surprises (some you’ve predicted, some you haven’t), heart and some truly stunning emotional brutality that works so well chiefly because Holland’s Spider-Man is just so fucking nice. However, while the story wisely makes sure our three teen leads aren’t washed away in the flood of super people fighting each other, where the movie pays off the most is within some very entertaining character interactions. Remember back in 2012 when The Avengers first came out (you may need a Quantum Tunnel to get there) and even though we were all jazzed to see them fighting together, we were far more impressed at just watching them just hang out and shoot the shit? Guess what, that’s exactly what we get with No Way Home’s cadre of Spider-Baddies, whose casual back and forth and occasional snarky burns (mostly from Jaime Foxx’s cynical Electro) sparks some of the films best moments alongside solving the sizable problem of how do you recast Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin or Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus – answer: you don’t.
It’s at this point you would have noticed that I’ve been suspiciously quiet concerning a lot of the rumours that’s been clogging up social media like the Sandman in a vacuum cleaner and all I’m going to say is this: while the movie may not fulfill all of your hopes and dreams (the movie falls short of a Sinister Six for example and just serves up a frightful five instead), it coughs up the goods where it counts to produce so many multiple air-punch moments in a short space of time, you might be in real danger of dislocating your arm – giant tentacle versions or otherwise.
However, all this cinematic Spider-Man nirvana comes at a price and Watts and co ensure that Tom Holland remains the film’s heart and soul by unleashing some of the most brutal plot turns seen on a single character that I’ve seen in quite a while that gut punches you repeatedly with the force of a mechanical Rhino suit. Be warned, if you aren’t crying you may be as twisted up inside as Norman Osborn…


Finally breaking the curse of the overcrowded live action Spider-Man movie, No Way Home heads towards a curious status quo that doesn’t make things more cluttered like ASM2’s shameless franchise bating, but instead virtually wipes the slate clean which leaves you with an anxiety creating question: What does the future hold for our oft-tormented Spider-Teen? The Marvel/Sony union certainly isn’t set in stone (as we saw for a heart-stopping time during 2019), so are we at yet another crossroads in the Web Slinger’s movie career? Only time will tell, but until then, thwip a web hammock, hang ten and prepare yourself for possibly the ultimate Spider-Man experience we’re ever likely to witness…


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