Movie Review: Spider-Man: No Way Home (Spoiler-free)

The final film in the Spider-Man Homecoming trilogy has finally arrived at our cinemas and MCU fans haven’t been this excited since AVENGERS: ENDGAME came out in 2019.  With the webslinger being unmasked by Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) in SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME, the stakes have never been higher for Peter Parker and for actor Tom Holland, for that matter.

Now I’m going to be really careful not to reveal anything that may be considered a spoiler.

In SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME, Peter finds that his life as an everyday teenager/friendly neighbourhood crimefighter will never be the same again.  With J. Jonah Jameson (J. K. Simmons), sounding an awful lot like ranting alt-right talk radio host Alex Jones, eager to discredit him, Peter and Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) move into a well-equipped condo owned by Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) to get out of the public eye. Peter wants to regain his anonymity so he seeks out Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to work his hocus-pocus and turn back time.  Something goes wrong with Strange’s spell, though, and the fabric separating the universes tears open allowing some of Spider-Man’s greatest foes to come over to this side.  With Peter seeing his problems suddenly multiply, he enlists his friends, MJ (Zendaya) and Ned (Jacob Batalon), to science the shit out of a solution.  He also gets some unexpected help from two new friends who also have superpowers.

SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME is a fanboy’s and fangirl’s wet dream.  It’s loaded with Easter eggs, one of which went over my head because I’ve never watched any of the MARVEL TV series.  My audience, however, exploded in applause when one lesser-known MARVEL character (at least to me) made an appearance.  The story plays like a Greatest Hits promo reel with the arrival of familiar supervillains Norman Osborn/Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Dr. Otto Octavius/Dr. Octopus (Alfred Molina) and Flint Marko/Sandman (Thomas Hayden Church) from Sam Raimi’s SPIDER-MAN films, and Dr. Curt Connors/Lizard (Rhys Ifans) and Max Dillon/Electro (Jamie Foxx) from Marc Webb’s SPIDER-MAN films.  Now it doesn’t take a genius to figure out where the story is heading at this point but I’m not going to say it because that would be a spoiler.  When it does though, the film really starts firing on all cylinders with all the reprised characters being in on the joke.  Unfortunately, like all the MCU films, SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME runs about 20 minutes too long with some scenes being painfully drawn out.  Equally unfortunate is that Marko and Connors barely get two seconds of screen time each but with five villains to deal with in one go, something had to end up on the cutting room floor.  The story also gets a bit woolly at the finale but, as we’ve seen with other MARVEL films, it’s best not to analyse the plot too closely.

Performances are very good all around, especially by Holland who imbues Peter with a lot more maturity than we’ve seen before.  Alfred Molina, who is now 68 and who originated his role back in 2004, looks amazingly good here.  That, however, is thanks to de-aging technology.  Jamie Foxx, too, looks likes he visited both the gym and the dermatologist in preparation for his role in the film.  Amusingly, another character even comments that it looks like Electro had a makeover, although that may have been because Electro’s costume had been brought in line with how the character is dressed in the comics.

SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME opened in Hong Kong yesterday (December 15th).  This is easily the best of any of the SPIDER-MAN films so far and quite possibly the most enjoyable superhero film of the year.  Bring on the next Spidey trilogy!

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