Spider-Man: No Way Home – ★★★★✩

Certificate – 12A
Directed By – Jon Watts
Starring – Tom Holland, Zendaya, Benedict Cumberbatch, Marisa Tomei, Alfred Molina, Willem Dafoe, Jacob Batalon, Jamie Foxx.
Running Time – 148 Minutes (2 Hours 28 Minutes)

I’ve had a disappointing time watching the previous two Spider-Man MCU movies to the point they were the worst Spidey films made, as I feel they were more focused on universe building and not letting Holland play Peter Parker.

So going into No Way Home in my local cinema (the terrific Dome Cinema in Worthing), I was nervous about what to expect because the trailers didn’t do anything for me and came to the sad realisation this Spider-Man, who is my second favourite superhero ever to the point I’m attempting to pen my own short film, isn’t for me.

Which is fine; I have Sam Raimi’s trilogy and Into The Spider-Verse, and Holland is doing his thing with the character in the MCU.

Image via Sony Pictures

However, upon leaving, it felt like I finally saw Spider-Man back and with a tear in my eye (for different than I’m sure a lot of others) and excited about what we’ll be getting in the future. It feels like whatever they’re planning next won’t be as firmly connected to the MCU as Homecoming and Far From Home were.

Because No Way Home plays as the untying of the MCU knot and along the way plays up the nostalgia from the past Spider-Man flicks to its benefit.

After having his identity revealed, our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man (Holland) enlists the help of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to help restore everything back to normal and secret returns. In doing so, the spell tears a hole across the multiverse, releasing villains from other Spider-Man universes. Peter must stop and return them, altering his own future and future of the multiverse.

Image via Matt Kennedy/ Sony Pictures

Holland was never my issue in the past, he was always the bright spot, but in this film, he gives his best performance. This felt like Peter Parker, this film knocks the shit out of him repeatedly, and that’s the reason why we love him.

Whatever life throws at him and knocks him down, Parker always gets back up and continues to fight and be hopeful, and this happens to Holland from the beginning.

There’s also a sense of maturing that Peter isn’t just an Iron Man fanboy anymore, he can’t just flick on AC/DC and get more Stark tech to win his battles. Instead, he has to resolve his own fuck-ups and come to terms that growth can only happen when it comes with pain, but brighter days will come.

This is why the scenes after the big climactic battle are my favourite of the whole film; we see the Spider-MAN born, and I can’t wait for the future.

Image via Matt Kennedy/ Sony Pictures

While they were a nostalgia act, the villains played a vital role in the making of this character, despite the reason for them showing up, but you ignore and accept it. Foxx has some redemption from his portrayal in Amazing Spider-Man 2, making him a far more threatening and deadly villain.

Meanwhile, Dafoe was on his A-game and chewed up every moment as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin, and his importance can’t be underestimated in building this Spider-Man.

I’m going to do my best not to give anything away here, but one of my issues was the handling of Molina and Doc Ock because the reason for him being there goes against what Spider-Man 2 does. If he did appear differently, we could’ve seen something special in the development of the web-slinger.

Elsewhere, the whole supporting cast did a great job, especially Zendaya and Tomei, who have some of the best moments with Holland in the entire film. When it comes to chemistry between the British actor and Zendaya, I return to the final moments of the film that felt sweet and emotional.

Image via Matt Kennedy/ Sony Pictures

All I want to say about the third act and final battle is it was truly wonderful and more emotional than I was anticipated, which again plays on the nostalgia.

While Cumberbatch does play an important role as Doctor Strange, it did feel nice that he didn’t play a massive part in the film. In some ways, it felt like Holland was truly stepping out of the MCU’s shadow and building towards a stronger Spidey-verse.

I had issues with the film, the inclusion of Happy didn’t add a lot besides one moment, and one scene where we see Peter and MJ face timing with them using CGI hands was just off-putting.

The middle section tales off a bit as it doesn’t know what to do until we begin to build up to the final act. Additionally, the humour continue to miss the mark and was added in moments that never needed it.

Finally, I want to mention Michael Giacchino and his score. I’ll openly say I found his past work on these films forgettable, but he knocked it out with this film.

As someone who’s not a fan of the MCU and found it hard to watch what has happened to this character in the past, I’m so happy to say I have a favourite Marvel Studios movie and Spider-Man: No Way Home is in my top four favourite Spider-Man films.

Image via Matt Kennedy/ Sony Pictures

Verdict

The birth of Spider-MAN. No Way Home does a great job of stepping out of the MCU shadow and building towards and stronger tomorrow in the Spidey-Verse with terrific performances from Holland, Zendaya, Tomei and Dafoe.

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