Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Spider-Man: No Way Home - Review (Spoiler Free)

It’s rare for a film as big as Spider-Man: No Way Home to keep its plot and twists a secret for as long as this film has. Especially when you consider how often Sony has outright spoiled their films through marketing materials. But this third MCU Spider-Man film is an event, and it knows that keeping all its juicy bits close to the chest will pay out in spades in the end. And boy, does it ever. 

This review will of course be spoiler free, everyone should get a chance to see this film with their own eyes before they know every bit that’s coming. With that being said, the story has to be spelled out as vaguely as possible as to not give anything away. We open with Peter Parker, played once again by Tom Holland, reeling from the sudden reveal of his identity at the end of the last film. Chaos ensues, and he asks everyone’s favorite sorcerer, Stephen Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, to undue the madness of Mysterio’s actions.

In sticking with the infamous “Parker luck” from the comics, there are no easy solutions for Spider-Man. And in turning to magic, the villains from past Spider-Man franchises are brought to the MCU. It’s nostalgic sure, but seeing some of these actors back is truly spectacular. Alfred Molina and Jamie Foxx are both tremendous in their return to their villainous roles, one getting some much needed changes to his character with some very simple explanations. However, the best part of getting these villains back is seeing Willem Dafoe devour dialogue as Green Goblin once again. It seemingly comes so easy to him, and the dastardly, evil growl of the Goblin feels just as menacing now as it did then. 

Of course, it isn’t all about the villains, rarely is it in the MCU. It’s safe to say this might be Holland’s best performance as Spider-Man to date. Yes, he has moments throughout his appearances that are excellent examples of his talent, but Spider-Man: No Way Home puts him through the emotional wringer like no other outing has. Holland thrives in this emotional undertaking, and reiterates just how perfect he is for this role. 

There is certainly slivers of 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and it not surprising that Sony would want to replicate everything that film god right. Never once does it feel like it has to slowly lead the audience through its ambitious notions or feed it to them in little chunks along the way. It presents its premise, executes it and asks the audience to get on board with it without so much as a second thought. 

Director Jon Watts wasn’t that far into his career with the first Spider-Man MCU outing. Now with two under his belt (and a Fantastic Four film sometime in the future), you can start to see his filmmaking skills evolve and improve in this third outing. It’s more assured and confident, delivering one of the most ambitious, emotional and ridiculously fun, nostalgic and enjoyable MCU entries in its history. 

When all is said and done with this ambiguous Phase Four of the MCU, it’s hard to imagine many will be better than Spider-Man: No Way Home. Some may, and it certainly isn’t perfect, but as a conclusion to this trilogy of Spider-Man films, and as a set up for the future of this character and the universe as a whole, you can’t get much better than what this film presents. Filled with spectacular action, amazing character moments and plenty of Easter eggs, Spider-Man: No Way Home is a rewarding and remarkable superhero film to end 2021. 

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